A month ago, I had the sitter come for a few hours. I was trying to keep the time limit to 3 hours because I was also trying to spend the least amount of money for this Friday afternoon indulgence. When Heather arrived I was in a tizzy trying to coordinate a fulfilling amount of relaxation and escape in my 3 hour window (while still fielding one of my kids at a time). I shuffled Heather off with miss M to the park while I went for a run with miss A. I figured, at least this way I get to do something indulgent for myself. We agreed to meet back in an hour, feed M and then switch so I could take her to the pool while Heather sat with the baby. I didn't explain to her that I was trying to hit a 3 hour limit (she's 24 and doesn't understand my frugality). So when I caught her looking at me in wonder as to why I was so rushed and crazy on this easy summer Friday, I felt embarrassed and it sat with me - disturbed me. The ripple effect revealed itself in the pool being closed when I arrived with M (even though I researched times before we left). We would have to wait an hour for lap swim to end, which was really the time I wanted to be headed home. We were both disappointed: All miss M cared about was not being able to swim; I cared too because it was a special thing we were doing together. So I stopped polishing my Mother of the Year award and let it all go - my control of how the afternoon should unfold. I free flowed and ended up taking her for ice cream (which delighted my little person to no end), realizing I could just spend the extra money, extend the time, and return to the pool. Lemonade, here I come with my sour lemons.
Needless to say, it has been a beast of it's own making: these past three months. I just try to ride one moment to the next and I can say, an upside to it all has been how utterly present I currently feel. Everyone says the jump from one kid to two is exponentially harder. I never anticipated the sheer "busy-ness" I have felt. Most days, I multi-task and move through the house shuffling objects so as to "pick-up" as I go. Leaving for an errand makes me feel like I am on a mini-vacation packing up my carry-on baggage. Even if I'm early for a date, I end up being late (which has been sort of true always but I'm trying to become an upstanding individual in this department). To top it off, I have so intelligently thrown potty-training into the mix; nothing could try my patience more than my resident toddler standing her ground as I stand mine. To be honest, it hasn't been pretty - no matter how many jelly beans get us through those trying moments.
And this is "Parenting"; just to clarify: it's an ass kicker. I say this because no one really says this... and even if they do say it, it's not really crystal clear until your schlepping through the landscape yourself.
It's never ending: the cycle of movement that takes place from ~ 5:30 am to 9 pm each day (5:30 if I'm proactive enough to drag myself out of bed and get going on a run, 9 if I can keep my eyes open after reading books and putting M to bed - one of my favorite parts of the day always). We chose to have two kids but days of late have me seriously questioning why we were lucky enough to earn the honor (and it is an honor). I'm just bad about projecting the outcome of my actions until I'm thick in the marsh of it and wondering how I thought I could navigate it in the first place.
I feel like I don't have time to breath anymore. I make myself consciously do it - in the car, in the kitchen, in the middle of a yelling match about wearing a ballerina dress for the 20th time in a row. For brief moments sprinkled throughout the chaos, I wonder were I am; where I went? What happened to hour-long runs that started at 10 am on a Saturday after the most leisurely cup of coffee or dinner dates at great restaurants downtown or afternoon drinking? What happened to feeling inspired and hopeful and insurmountable? What happened to feeling/being young? Me over the course of my 30s has evolved from singleton to wife to mother. I was slowly picking up roles and collecting expectations of others, of myself; but I'm not sure I thought about or knew what that really meant to undertake.
I've had moments where I could run away from it all. Moments where I wonder how obscenely clueless I have been thus far. Moments where I feel "far enough away from home" that both turning around and moving forward seem too much to decide between.
I too have had moments where everything seems succinctly perfect. Where I couldn't have planned it better. Where I feel like I have never felt as much love in my heart as I do these days.
But man, I wish someone would have told me I would finally understand how broken I am in light of the life I am trudging through as a parent. I do suck everything in through my grinder of activity, in a ceaseless ache to control anything since most things seem entirely uncontrollable right now.