Weekdays are insane once you become a parent. How many of you can relate to this routine?
It’s like Groundhog Day! From the second I wake up to the second I fall asleep, it’s non-stop. Long gone are the days of my leisurely morning routine: wake up, lay in bed for a while, take a nice long, hot, steamy shower, get ready, maybe watch a bit of The Today Show or a taping of Watch What Happens Live, and then head to work. Now, that just sounds like a distant dream!
The only “me-time” I have during the week is while driving to and from work, and maybe during my nightly shower.
Because of that, weekends are a precious, sacred time for our family. We get to reconnect after spending the majority of our waking hours at work and daycare. The dogs get to play in the park rather than just getting a short walk around the block. We get to “sleep in” – which is totally different now that we have a child – but I’ll take whatever I can get. And I can do the stuff I need to do to prepare for the upcoming week like grocery shopping, meal prepping, house cleaning, and laundry.
Most importantly, weekends are our time to refresh, refuel, and have fun! So when something comes up that interferes with our weekend time, it throws a major monkey wrench in our routine.
Unfortunately, the last month has been, to say the least, challenging. Stan, Maddie and I have been passing sick bugs to each other like a basketball during the NBA finals.
Weekend #1: Stan got a stomach bug. He was down for the count and took up a permanent residence on our couch for two days. I had not one, but two babies to take care of that weekend.
Weekend #2: Just in time for the July 4th holiday weekend, Maddie woke up with a 101.5 degree fever. The first day, we thought the high temperature, loss of appetite, and runny nose were a result of the molars invading her mouth. But that night, in the middle of our blissful, quiet slumber, she sat up and yacked all over me. Clearly, it wasn’t just teething.
In true Maddie fashion, she had a smile on her face all weekend, but we could tell she was sick and miserable. So rather than celebrating the independence of our nation with barbecues, pool parties, and fireworks, we spent the weekend shuffling between the couch and bed. All she wanted to do was sleep on my chest. Since she wouldn’t eat solid food, she nursed like a newborn – constantly. I really didn’t mind though, even though I couldn’t get anything on my to-do list done that weekend. I love the cuddles. It’s just so hard knowing your baby feels terrible and there’s really nothing you can do about it.
Monday morning, her pediatrician confirmed she had a respiratory virus. She slowly started feeling better that week, and by Thursday, her voracious appetite had returned. Stan felt good. Maddie felt good. We were excited and ready for a normal weekend. And then this happened.
Weekend #3: Bam! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t know if it was the stomach bug Stan had, or a sick fusion of his bug and Maddie’s virus, but I woke up on Friday feeling terrible! Sick to my stomach. I felt like I had an epic hangover, but without the fun night before to show for it (and no, I’m not pregnant). I had no appetite, which was fine because I couldn’t keep anything down anyway. I felt like an elephant was sitting smack dab on my forehead. And, even more than usual, I was utterly exhausted.
I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed, curl up into a fetal position, and die – or at least hide away from the world until I felt human again. But that isn’t possible when you’re a mom.
Maddie is 15 months. She didn’t understand that I was sick. Or that when she crawled all over me it felt like Mike Tyson was punching me in my gut. Or that the obnoxious music maker she banged on with such joy made me feel like a nail was being hammered into my eyebrow. And her around-the-clock nursing, which I normally cherish, drained every last bit of my energy.
I couldn’t just stop being a mom because I didn’t feel well. I had to suck it up and deal with it.
It took me almost a week to feel back to normal, but I managed. This past weekend, we actually had a great time. Everyone felt good. We went grocery shopping. The dogs went to the park. Our house still needs to be cleaned, and the laundry pile is huge, but I’ll get to it soon. More importantly, we had some much-needed fun.
Friday night we stayed in and enjoyed a delicious steak, roasted potatoes, and tomato blue cheese salad.
Saturday, we went to the farmers market. Maddie wore her July 4th outfit since she wasn’t able to on the actual holiday.
Saturday night, my mom gave us the green light to go out on the town and get wild and crazy while she watched Maddie. We were home at 10 pm, but we did have a great time.
On Sunday, we cooled off in the pool and hung out with family.
The weekend was great, and then Monday happened. I took Maddie to the pediatrician for her 15 month well visit. I expected the usual clean bill of health and out of nowhere, she has an ear infection. Seriously??? I’m thankful we made it 15 months without one – I guess we were due – but jeez… Can we get a break already?
Among other things, in my 15 months of being a mom, I’ve learned that parenting can be exhausting, frustrating, and downright inconvenient. It is also the best thing I have ever done, and I’m the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever been in by life. But still, sometimes I wish I could just take a time out. And one longer than just my ten minute daily shower.
Sure, there are things I could do to make it easier and more convenient. I could stop nursing. We could sleep train Maddie and get her out of our bed and into her crib so we could get some sleep. We could hire a babysitter more often and have some much-needed adult time.
But the fact is, I don’t want to. I don’t want easy. I don’t need convenient. What matters most to me is doing what we think is best and most beneficial for our daughter. I’m very proud of the way we choose to parent Maddie and I’m grateful for every second I spend with her – even when I’m sick, miserable, and desperate for sleep.
So, for the time being, I will embrace and appreciate this never-ending busy cycle that is my life. Rather than missing my “me-time,” I’ll treasure that I’m wanted and needed by my family. I know this stage will be over in the blink of an eye, and I want to soak up every moment of it as long as I can. And I’ll cherish all of our time together, but especially our weekends – laundry pile and all.
It doesn’t hurt to fantasize about what I will do when the time is right… A spa day… Girls night out… A weekend trip to Vegas or NYC… A week in wine country. A girl can dream, right?
What would your ideal mommy time out be???