Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A new kind of "normal"

I think the hardest thing about having a baby is adjusting to a whole new set of "normal" in your life. If you knew me as a teenager, I was the one who was sleeping until 10 AM on the weekends and nothing would wake me up during the night. And even now I am not much of a morning person. But I seem to have no problem (well, most of the time) getting up at all hours of the night with James. One little peep of him down the hall in his nursery and my eyes pop open. I definitely have my moments, like yesterday when I had a breakdown at midnight when he woke up just an hour after I had gone to bed. And it isn't easy by any means sleeping in 2-3 hour increments, stumbling down the hall to feed in the middle of the night. And I'm not looking forward to the morning routine that will probably include waking up at 5 AM when I go back to work so that we can get out the door, to daycare and to work on time.

But we're making it work. We've got our nighttime routine down. Every other night James gets a bath, and on the off nights we read "Goodnight Moon" (can I tell you how much this child hates to be read to?). Then we eat one last time, and Chris puts him to bed. I've started taking showers at night (to save a little extra time in the morning), and I really love it. I love standing under the warm water, as so much of the day is just cold here in Chicago. And it is really the only time of day where I don't feel like I'm on duty. We are using the EASY method...Eat, Activity, Sleep, You (although it should be renamed EASH because it seems like the You time is really House time, cleaning, laundry, cooking...but EASH doesn't have the same ring to it), so my life is lived in 3 hour increments. Trying to fit an outing in or getting housework done isn't always easy when James wants to eat every 2-3 hours during the day. But during that shower I can't hear anything besides the running water, and that is truly "me" time. Don't get me wrong, I love my time with James. But I think all the moms out there know that you have to have some time to yourself as well.

So I return to work in less than a week now. And I can honestly say I'm not ready. I really have no desire to return to work right now. But as my friend Kendra says, you have to tell yourself that this is what is best for your family. We like the means in which we live in, and neither one of us (well, me mostly) isn't ready to trade designer things for shopping at Walmart. We went out shopping yesterday for some new shoes and clothes for me. And this is a whole new kind of "normal" that I'm not embracing very well. I know that your body changes a lot with pregnancy. My shoe size has increased a half size, and my clothing size, well, we'll just say it increased a little more than that : ) I know, I know, 9 months on, 9 months off. But it is still hard seeing yourself as you've never seen it before, and wearing sizes you never thought you would. I at least have a very strong desire to not stay this way. I started exercising last week (after getting the all-clear from the dr.), and am really willing to do whatever it takes to feel a little more like my old "normal" self. I'm going to join a gym near work so I can work out during my lunch hour with a lot of my other co-workers. And I doubt I'll be fitting into those pre-pregnancy jeans any time soon, but that is the goal.

Being a mom is hard work. Especially in the middle of the night or when you're operating on 4 or 5 hours of sleep. But when James looks at you and smiles or laughs, it really all becomes worth it. You just have to embrace that new kind of "normal".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my dear Katie! Your comments take me back 25 years - this motherhood thing was a lot harder than I ever imagined! Luckily, you have a really good little boy (very strong too!) and a supportive and involved husband. You are a MOTHER now, and in reality your life (& body) will never be the same again - don't worry, this is a good thing! Linda