There are some mornings I wake up feeling like a million bucks. My kid and I have a play date arranged for later in the afternoon. The fridge is stocked with *healthy* foods and my kid is actually eating them. Our living space is clean- I've stayed on top of laundry and even scooped the cat's litter box. Sorry, kitty. I forget about you sometimes since having a baby. The sun is shining and I take my kid for walks. He is sweet- giving me kisses, babbling, and doing all of the cute things a baby can do. On the perfect day, we eat a great breakfast, are active, I remember to pack snacks and diaper wipes, my kid takes naps, and we (both!) get to bed at a decent time. If I get to do things for myself during my kid's nap times besides household tasks, it's a double win. It's days like this that, despite my husband being gone 6 out of 7 days of the week, I feel like I have a hold on how to solo parent.
But sometimes, I'm at my breaking point. This is because my kid won't nap, and if he does it's only because we're driving from Point A to Point B. It's because the food I give him is thrown on the floor at meal time. When I finally get us dressed and out of the house, he throws fits and pushes at me, smacks at my chest, and constantly wants to nurse. AND HE DOESN'T LISTEN! After saying, "That's a no-no" and redirecting his activity multiple times, I raise my voice. I lose my shit. I put him in the crib as a 'punishment' where I hear him cry for a whole minute. And when I say cry, I mean CRY. It breaks my heart. So there I sit, crying in the hallway, feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and distraught.
See, when you become a mom, your whole heart completely opens up, and in a way that no other relationship compares. When you're at home with your kid more often than not, sometimes you feel like you're going bananas. Honestly, I blame this week on the full moon. And when you can't even carve out 30 minutes for yourself, WOWZA. No doubt, my kid picks up on my stress levels and in turn it causes him to 'act out' more. No, I don't think he's manipulating me but babies are like sponges and sometimes what is a bother to me is a game to him. He is silly and mischievous because he's testing his boundaries. He's learning. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he is a toddler, he's been earth side for 15 months, and no, he's not out to get me. Isn't that crazy- that we as parents get to that level where we're like, "Oh, hell no. WHAT?! NO! STOP!" You question if your baby is smarter than you or is maybe conspiring with the devil himself. Really, my baby is exploring, trying to understand, and taking in everything I say and do. The pressure is on. And just when I get to my breaking point, he comes up to open-mouth kiss me, plop down in my lap, and bring me a book to read with him. Tonight it was 'Llama Llama Red Pajama' and at the end I was all like, "Ahhh..I'm not the only one."
So, naturally, at the beginning of this week I felt like Supermom. I had play dates written down in our calendar. I bought groceries to fill the fridge (!) and even had meals planned. My laundry was cycling through and I even folded it all after it was dry! Y'all know how victorious that feels.
But, today....man. Today was different. It was Day 5 of solo parenting and I was just going through the motions to get through the day. I thought my husband was coming home from work today only to find out mid-day he has to work tomorrow, too, so that was hard to accept. It wasn't until noon that my kid and I were able to get dressed and out of the house. He fell asleep as soon as we got in the car so I went through the Starbucks drive-thru and just sat in the parking lot, drinking my coffee. Just sat and totally zoned out. We ran errands after he woke up and I let him run amuck in the mall's toy store. I was that mom. When it was time to leave, it started to downpour. Desperate, I bought a pretzel at Target's check out for us to split and kill time but he only ate the cheese dip. Go figure. When we got home, I tried to do a few things around the house but felt anxious, lonely, and knew if we stayed home I'd be in my head all night. So, I took my kid to a Chinese buffet. After we stuffed our faces, we walked across the parking lot where I picked up a few more groceries, including beer for myself and a lavender bubble bath for him. Surely, a full stomach and cozy bath will help him sleep all night?! One can only wish.
Now, as I type this and look up at the time on my computer, I see it's 12:01am. I made it. It's Saturday. My husband will be home this afternoon. I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm about to hop in the shower for the first time today (or does this technically mean I didn't shower for a whole day?), enjoy a beer, and go to sleep. I kept an active, kind of crazy, tiny human alive by myself for nearly a whole week. BOOYA.
Bring on the weekend...AKA the next 48 hours. And then I'll do it all again.