There's been an inner struggle happening lately.
I knew it was only a matter of time before it presented itself. - After all, this isn't my first go-round raising a baby.
It's no big secret that I was super indecisive about choosing to have another child.
I went back and forth. - Yes, then no; then no, then yes again.
I guess I was a realist of some sort. I knew how hard it is to be a full-time parent to a helpless baby. I was painfully aware of all the obstacles that come along with having a new baby: sleep-deprivation, ZERO time for yourself and very little energy for / time with your spouse. I never forgot about those things like I've heard other parents say.
The struggle was real.
I am super career-driven. I work all the time and LOVE what I do. My career has only managed to get more and more busy with each passing year and I feel super grateful and blessed for that considering there are makeup artists everywhere in Nashville now.
In addition to being a workaholic, I'm also admittedly pretty selfish of my personal down time.
I knew having another baby would make me rethink my priorities in both respects and I happily chose to do it.
With Emily's dad and I sharing custody, I was able to have a "break" from parenting a couple days a week and every other weekend - granted, that didn't start till she was almost a year old. It wasn't easy to be away from her at first, but as she got older, it was nice to just have a day or evening - or sometimes both - all to myself.
Ultimately, those kid-free days allowed me to make friends, have somewhat of a social life and work at making my business successful.
Xander is 7 months now.
I wanted to enjoy this year of being a mom again. I had very strong feelings about being a part-time stay-at-home mom and not putting him in daycare. I didn't have a choice with Emily and once she started daycare she was sick all the time. I wanted different for Xander.
I knew going into this that we wouldn't have reliable help with childcare during the week from family and I'm super thankful my career allows me so much flexibility and the CHOICE to stay home with my son. I'm also thankful my husband has loads of flexibility in his work too. I believe if those last 2 statements weren't true, we wouldn't have chose to try for another baby.
But despite my flexible work schedule, it seems that most days I just end up feeling super lonely and starved for adult conversation and interaction and ultimately longing to be working.
In the last few months especially, I've realized that I have spent the last 7 years of my life hyper-focused on my career. I chose work instead of devoting time and energy into cultivating lasting friendships.
Now I only have a handful of close friends - none of which have small children, if any children at all. - And the few friends who do have babies, all live 45 minutes away. - Furthermore, the few friends who live close to me all work day jobs during the week and are off on weekends. I'm off during the week and work most weekends -- especially during wedding season. - Do you see my dilemma in the friend department?
I have even tried to reach out of my "comfort zone" and join a couple of local mom groups in the hopes to make some new mommy friends and participate in some play dates... BUT...
1) I just don't feel like I fit the "cookie-cutter" mold for moms in these particular groups. (It's probably all in my head, but I've never felt like I blossomed into motherhood like most women do.)
2) All the play dates / meetups are at 9 in the freaking morning!?! - My son is a night owl who doesn't go to bed till after midnight and then likes to nurse alllll night long, so we sleep in. - Surely I'm not the only mom in Nashville whose baby does this, am I? - And if I am, that just further supports point #1.
- So now that you know where I am on the "making new friends" front, let's talk about personal time and time with my husband.
Xander is SEVEN months... I mentioned that already, right?
In 7 months, Alan and I have had ONE date night. - And that only happened because Dianne and Heather are awesome and so graciously offered to come to our house to babysit our kids just so we could go do something.
We went to dinner. Mexican. I was able to order whatever I wanted to eat and utilize BOTH of my hands while eating it! So I ordered FAJITAS. - Then we went to Starbucks and Books-A-Million. Nothing extravagant or special. Just a nice kid-free night out. We were home before 10pm.
When you have a child that co-sleeps AND wants to nurse constantly into the wee hours of the morn, you can pretty much toss intimacy out the window. My body no longer feels like my own to share with my husband... Most days it feels more like a life support machine or a cow on a high producing dairy farm. It's not that the desire isn't there to be close to my husband, but considering the lack of sleep / energy paired with being completely "touched-out" from having a baby attached (literally) to me all day, then throw some leaky boobs, spit-up, baby pee &/or poop in the mix, and there you have it. Every reason (or excuse) in the book to not want to be intimate with your spouse all rolled into one: I just don't ever FEEL sexy anymore.
- And while we're on the subject of being "touched-out" - let's talk about alone time.
I've had ONE pedicure - mid-May, I think - since before Xander was born. Keep in mind he was born in December, so my last pedicure was probably towards the end of Summer or beginning of Fall.
I lucked out and was able to score a $10 massage because my BF had extra massages on her membership that needed to be used by a certain date. So this past Sunday, we went.
It's the first thing I've done for myself that I scheduled on a day where I was off from work all day.
- Usually, I schedule my hair appointments (cuts only) - or the one pedicure I had - for days where I'm already going to be out of the house for work, so tacking an extra hour on to my time away from home really isn't that big of a deal.
So yeah, I scheduled a massage with my best friend and left the kids with my husband for a couple of hours. Guilt-free.
- Except it wasn't guilt-free.
It's NEVER guilt-free - but not because my husband makes me feel guilty, because he doesn't.
It's because I'm a mom.
- And spending "unnecessary" time (that's not work-related) away from my kids makes me feel like the worst mom EVER.
- And spending money on myself for fancy extras like hair cuts, pedicures and massages takes away from the money I should be spending on taking care of my family.
I know this is all in my head. I know other moms feel this kind of guilt when clearly we shouldn't, but no one talks about it. Why do we do this?
I'm not trying to complain.
I KNOW I am SUPER blessed with my sweet little family.
I have so much to be thankful for, and I AM thankful!
Both my kids are GORGEOUS and HEALTY.
My husband loves me and is always happy to see me regardless of how I look, smell or act after a long day of solo parenting with a fussy baby and a sometimes overly sassy, smart-mouthed tween.
But ultimately both my kids are extremely good kids. - And Xander is a really GOOD baby. He's amazing. - And I'm so glad for that.
But I guess even the easiest of babies aren't easy all of the time. - Raising babies just isn't an easy thing to do. - Especially if you have little help.
They don't say "It takes a village to raise a child" for nothing, and I believe that more now than I ever did before.
I'm not going to lie, I'm not-so-secretly jealous of all my friends who have their moms and sisters and friends around all of the time to help. I wish I had that. Every single day. But I don't, and I know I won't.
So I resign myself to accepting that it's just us. Me, Alan, Emily & Xander. - And we just have to do the best we can for each other.
My prayer is that God puts some awesome moms in my life that I can be "just me" around and if He wants to do me a real SOLID, He will help me find a church where I feel at home in. - Also praying for an abundance of patience for others FROM ME and FOR ME from others. - And for peace, strength and courage to keep on keepin' on with a more positive attitude and with kindness in my head as well as my heart. Amen.