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Monday, July 09, 2007

Standing still or left behind

I'm tired. I'm grouchy. I'm underwhelmed with parenting and overwhelmed with all of its responsibilities. I'm sure part of it just some of the ebbs and flows of having two small kids. Part of it is having too few breaks and too little help. Part of it is feeling left behind.

I think of Therapist Friend who managed to create an amazing part-time private practice. I think of City Planner Friend who seems to have been able to be promoted all while having a part-time schedule (it wasn't clear for a while if a part-time schedule would preclude her from achieving that goal). I think of Colorist Friend who gets to decide what colors will be in fashion in the seasons to come.

Then there's me. I'm wrangling with my two kids. I can't wait for it to be dinnertime so that Father in Chief comes home to give me some parental relief. Instead of totally enjoying the moment, I'm waiting for this moment to be over because it's so hard or exhausting. I never used to be that person. I don't get up and feel energized and ready to take on a new day, a new set of challenges.

Those friends seem to have figured it out. They work, they parent. They are moving on with their lives. So what is wrong with me? I haven't figured it out yet. I'm feeling bummed because I didn't land that freelance assignment for that publication I never heard of--that I didn't want anyway. I'm feeling exhausted because Preschooler in Chief has been an incredibly annoying four year old that I don't enjoy being around. I'm feeling overwhelmed because Baby in Chief never stops moving or putting things in his mouth. I'm feeling discouraged because CraigsList is a crappy place to find a childcare provider. I'm. Just. Plain. Tired. When does that stop exactly? Are there different vitamins I should be taking?

I need to remind myself that my friends who seem to have figured it out only have one kid. Having two kids is really hard work. Especially after you are used to just having one kid who sleeps through the night and can feed himself and can drink out of a cup and use the bathroom by himself. Starting over is hard--whether it's parenting or working. Despite having a year of experience under my belt with two kids (yup, BIC is having a birthday next week), I haven't figured it out. Maybe I just need to get over the fact that he is a very different kid from his brother. Many of the parenting skills I have are for a different type of kid. I guess I need new skills. As for the working part, I haven't figured that out either. I've equipped myself with the tools to produce a solid book proposal. I've skimmed the books, sloshed some ideas around my brain on what some sections might actually say when I get time to start typing up the proposal.

Maybe my goals and deadlines are too optimistic. Maybe I'm setting myself up to fail. Basically, I need to stop comparing myself to other people, all those people who are my age who have already published a book. Those people who are so perky and organized. And successful. I'll get there. I guess I need to remind myself that it's been a tough year.


  1. You're not alone, S. Trust me. My boys are 5 and 2 and I'm still this mix of a work from home/sah, or what i call "slash/mom" and I'm exhausted every single day. Not really living in the moment or enjoying things right now because I'm just trying to get through the day without pulling my hair out.

    I'm hoping it's a summer thing.

  2. Getting a promotion, writing a book, and picking seasonal colors are easy compared to what you and Ken have been through. Give yourself permission to be tired and cranky. Sometimes survival through adversity is the biggest accomplishment of all.

  3. Anonymous9:09 AM

    You're definitely not alone in your experience. We have two boys, 1 1/2 years apart, and they are about as different from one another as you could imagine. The first 12 months with the two of them was the hardest year we've ever had - both individually and as a couple. You're definitely right that having 2 is a million times harder than having one! The great news is that, once BIC gains a bit more independence (just around the corner!) things get immensely easier - the kids become friends, can play with each other/chase each other around the house, and leave you - dare I say it - a teensy bit of time for yourself. So hang in there, you'll get the hang of BIC, and big brother will be a great friend as well!

  4. Sometimes reading your blog is scary because I feel like I am staring into a mental mirror. We only have one three year old right now but are working on adopting another child, selling one house and renovating a new one, plus I work "part-time" 40 hours a week. By the time I get my son to bed at 8:30, all I have energy for is TV and a glass of wine. Creative projects have definitely fallen by the way side. I have to constantly remind myself that goals are nice but that I need to control my goals rather than have them control me. Sure, I want to be a perfect parent, wife, friend, daughter, and somehow bring in a paycheck and publish a groundbreaking work of fiction at the same time, but sometimes watching TV and having a glass of wine is the best I can do, and if it means I go to bed happy that night instead of feeling like a failure, then it's a perfectly good goal to achieve.

  5. I feel EXACTLY the same way and I only have one 15 month old. Yet I work full time and have been so bummed lately wishing I could stay home full time and spend more quality time with my daughter. Is it better or worse to know the grass really isn't greener . . .

  6. Ugh. You are reading my mind. I thought this week would be easy, since both Sam and Jack are in camp for the day, but I find that I'm still exhausted by the end of the day! And it's hot and humid, which just makes me even more crabby\tired. I think working full time would be much easier than being home all day. I'm so sick of the whining and the fighting!