If you have been reading this (and I’m not sure anyone does), you may have noticed that I post a lot about the difficulties of juggling stuff. And the crazy thing is that pre-Leon, I just assumed that I would be competent and good juggling a child with everything else I like to do- namely being a professor, maintaining friendships (near and far), being a loving/caring spouse, maintaining a vaguely clean household, cooking most of my meals at home, exercising regularly, engaging in volunteer/community/activisty things, traveling, and maintaining some sense of style. Oh, and not just being a mom, but being some kind of super involved, uber-ambitious attachment-style parenting mom- exclusive breastfeeding, bed-sharing, not sleep training, baby wearing, organic food feeding, blah blah. We also have Leon in zero hours of non-parental care right now. And I’m meant to do this while continue to save money for Leon’s college/home repairs, while keeping my stress levels moderate/manageable. Oh, possibly watching TV, fun readings, etc.
In retrospect, hahahahaha.
I generally fail at some aspects of my goals, in some way, everyday. While I have had the fortune of BF, not sleep training, and babywearing, I haven’t done the best at many other things. But I try. Like I have been running 5Ks with a few friends, but I don’t have much time to train. Often, I only get to run 1 or 2 times a week. (But I did run a decent 5K on Sunday). But because I wanted to volunteer at the Brooklyn Baby Expo afterwards, at the Babywearing Lounge, I brought all this crap with me, and asked Steven to bring Leon as well. After I crossed the finish line, I had to change and nurse Leon, and he was screaming (didn’t like getting your diaper changed at Riverside Park, eh?) and I got flustered, and dropped my phone. We eventually found it (thanks to Google phone locator services, and the nice honest young man who picked it up) but it was super stressful.
Other brilliant things I’ve done recently include burning the gross plastic handle of my rice pan (I just bought this to replace it- not plastic to melt), and then miscommunicated the baby hand-off to Steven last week, resulting in Leon serving as the “guest lecturer” of my 12:15 class. Not the worst thing in the world, but stressful for all the parties (except the students, who seemed to enjoy his presence). These past few weeks have been especially tough, as I’ve been doing regular site visits to my internship students’ placements. But the worst will be over, soon enough.
On a daily basis, I feel like I am beat by around 5 PM. I say to myself, “OK, you just need to get to 8 PM” (which is when Leon start to lose it, if we don’t put him to bed. Although he can stay up later if there’s stuff going on- like guests or a new location) and then Leon will sleep, and I can try to get some work done. But not too much, because he needs to night eat, and eat, and eat.
I like the ideals behind attachment parenting but we will probably have to do some night weaning soon. Leon eats throughout the night, and although we are lucky that he sleeps about 12 hours, he demands boob and nothing but the boob to go back to sleep, sometimes up to 8 times a night. I am still feeling rested enough, but I wake up all dehydrated and starving. STARVING!
To alleviate some of the crazy, we are hiring a babysitter, a former student of a friend (another professor but at a different school) to come watch Leon 4 hours a week so Steven and I can have a little bit of time together. Oh, and maybe time to unpack. (Still got boxes).
Leon is over 10 months old now, standing (with support), crawling everything, being vocal (he and his dad say “NOM NOM NOM” when they eat and look at pictures of fruit. Tomatoes, apples, and oranges really excite him), exploring, playing with balls (haha), and chasing cats. It’s a big blur and I’m trying to enjoy, while also trying to survive.
The conclusion to all this is: I really respect and appreciate moms so much now, including my own. And my own choices (and the difficulties they create) make me happy that I’ve made mine, but also more understanding to those who make other ones. I may not always agree but I understand why moms do what they do. And also, having a feminist husband who is a more than equal co-parent is the amazing. I am a lucky lady.
*When I think of all the juggling I do, I think fondly of the “Balls in the Air” song from “Notapusy”, one of the many funny episodes of Arrested Development, Season 3.