I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I could literally feel the bad mood heavy upon my shoulders – and yet, it was a force that I couldn’t shake. Sometimes, just being aware that something exists isn’t enough to chase it away. And sometimes still, willing it to go away just isn’t enough either. So, rather than expending energy that I didn’t have trying to chase something away that wouldn’t budge, I just decided to let it linger.
The brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-Tart that I’m eating while I write this, however, is making great strides in taking me to a happier place.
I am going to begin by blaming my Grumpy Pants on raging hormones. I just read that in the third trimester, mood swings make an ugly reappearance. This is a legitimate fact, straight from babycenter.com. And now, I am going to hop off the passive, I-have-no-control train, and take some responsibility. In between bouts of wanting to rip someone’s eyes out, and wanting to pull the covers tightly over my head where no one could witness me eat an entire box of cookies (which I don’t actually have in the house, and that’s really pissing me off!) – I have been analyzing why this mood might be.
Here’s the deal. I’m tired, and I am carrying around a boatload of guilt about being tired. I woke up exhausted this morning. I am no longer sleeping because my hips ache, my lower back is on fire, and my groin feels as though it’s been held in tact by a fraying fiber. Tossing and turning all night doesn’t just mean moving from one side to the other – it means rearranging a fortress of pillows around me at each wriggle. When the 7:00 am request for cartoons came blaring out of DJ’s mouth, I felt myself slither under the silent question, “REALLY?” Really? Already? Cartoons again? Caillou? Caillou whose parents make me feel inferior in every episode due to the extreme patience they exhibit?
I wanted to wake up to silence. I wanted to pour a cup of decaf, turn on something like the Today show, and totally veg out in my PJ’s until the smell of my own coffee breath finally forced me into the shower. I wanted to be on my own agenda. However, anyone with a toddler knows – it’s their agenda….all the time. So, Caillou it was. Did I mention that I loathe Caillou’s parents?
By 8:00 am, I got a burst of motivation and decided to do some cooking. I made a batch of mini-quiches, and hadn’t realized it in the moment – but that was my attempt to get some time alone, in a creative capacity, lost in my own thoughts over a cheese grater. It lasted only briefly, until DJ insisted on dragging a chair to the kitchen sink (naked with just her rain boots on….which, I admit, provided some much-needed comic relief) to wash her plastic animal toys. Oh, right, there is a two-year-old reigning queen in this house.
After cooking, I decided to spend some time on the computer. I wanted to post a few recipes to my blog, order the wall decal for our nursery, update my Paypal account so there’d be nothing standing between me and my Etsy purchases, and maybe – just maybe, if there were time….check Facebook.
Just as I settled into my chair, and DJ was seemingly distracted by who knows what, she decided that I had to find her “little mouse.” After digging through her bottomless toy bins, followed by a search through both the cats’ and the dogs’ toy collections – I realized she was referring to a tchotchke my husband picked up a Design show. Quite literally, a tiny computer mouse. Once I found it and handed it over, DJ crawled up into my chair, plugged in the mouse and directed me as to what she wanted next…”Videos of baby me.” And there we sat, watching baby videos for what seemed like an hour. I somehow managed to order the decal, and update my Paypal account – but that was in between “Can I have some chocolate milk?” “Can I have some toast?” “Can you make it louder?” “Can we see that one again?” Up and down, up and down, filling orders and pressing my groin to it’s limit.
The remainder of the day has followed suit. I took a shower while sweet little blue eyes peered at me from behind the curtain – sporadically being hit in the shins with launched toys. I spent my lunchtime at DJ’s preschool (where I’d normally commiserate with other moms in a separate room) sitting beside her on a teeny tiny plastic, orange chair (which did wonders for my expanding butt complex). I spent DJ’s otherwise independent outdoor playtime pushing her around a cement track in a plastic car. And, I have spent the greater part of her nap lying beside her as she clutches my hair because, today, she just won’t allow space between us. Of course, on a day, when I need nothing more than an independent, deep breath.
I am grumpy because I have one child literally growing inside of me, and I have another child clinging to my every appendage. Aside from this heavy thing sitting on top of my neck, called a head, I am pretty certain every ounce of me has been overtaken by kid’s needs. Wait, I take that back – last night DJ got a comb stuck in my hair, ripping strands from my scalp. Lord, even my head has been sacrificed in the name of Motherhood!!! My poor husband…..after a long day at work, all he wants is a kiss hello when he walks through the front door – and all I want is to peel one person off of me, hand her over, and reclaim (if even for a moment) my own body (in between baby kicks inside my belly, of course).
I have not been carving out enough time for myself – and it’s become very apparent today that I need to. I need to let go of the guilt that says my job is to be a stay-at-home mom, which means making every moment of every day about my kids. I need to release the guilt that says another baby is on the way, and I must devote every second to loving DJ up before that adjustment occurs. However, when you leave no time for refueling, there’s no means of giving left – there’s just no way to give your kids 100% when you’re running on fumes. I am learning this, painfully.
Needing time away from my daughter certainly doesn’t mean that I love her any less. It just means that I’m important, too. It means that I’m not just a shell of a person, but an individual – a woman. Not just a mom. Not just a wife. A woman. I think it’s important for DJ to see me take time for myself, too. She needs to understand that separation is only temporary – and that reunions are really, really sweet and special.
So, with that said – tomorrow morning I am dropping DJ off at her Noni and Papa’s house, and I am going to (in this particular order) get my eyebrows waxed, soak in a candle-lit and lavender bath at the spa for 25 minutes, enjoy a prenatal massage and then treat myself to some indulgent lunch which will likely include a shrimp cocktail. Or an apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. Or a giant burger topped with mushrooms and crispy onion strings.
And then, I will pick DJ up from her grandparents house, and will likely squeeze her too tight from having missed her all morning – and Mrs. Grumpy Pants will be held at bay for another several weeks while I coast on with renewed energy and an awakened sense of self.
Is it tomorrow yet?