Monday afternoon I posted this photo to Instagram with the caption:
Both boys are napping. Do I…
a) fold four baskets of laundry
b) write tomorrow’s blog post
c) take a nap?
Everybody who commented voted for taking a nap. So what did I do? I decided to take advantage of the silence to do something that actually required brainpower. I sat down on the sofa not covered in laundry baskets, opened my laptop, and attempted to write Tuesday’s post.
Yes, I’m sleep deprived, but I felt guilty choosing to nap when there was work to be done. As for the laundry, well, I figured that I could fold clean clothing while supervising playtime later in the evening.
I planned to write about how we hid in the unfinished side of our basement Sunday night because Omaha was under a tornado warning. I was going to include a witty line like “You know you live in the Midwest when your two-and-a-half year old practices tornado drills at school and isn’t phased when the emergency weather radio starts beeping and his mother tosses him into the basement.” I planned to describe how JB nonchalantly did the laundry and Levi ate a picnic dinner while I cowered in the corner rocking Asa and clutching the dog by his collar.
But I couldn’t figure out how to tell the story. I had an idea of what I wanted to say (see above) but couldn’t find the words or write the sentences or muster up the energy to get it done. So I ended up closing my eyes — and the computer — and surrendering to the exhaustion.
What happened yesterday afternoon — trying to choose between writing, cleaning, and sleeping — is a near daily occurrence. When both boys are napping in the afternoon, I usually try to blog because it’s more rewarding (and, occasionally, slightly lucrative) than emptying the dishwasher or putting away laundry. Plus, there’s the satisfaction I feel when I take a good photo or write a well-received post that I don’t necessarily get from vacuuming.
These days, though, it’s not uncommon for me to fall asleep before I finish my work, frequently while I’m still typing. It’s also been taking me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to write; my brain is working so much slower these days. Over the weekend, I spent three hours writing the intro to Monday’s post about my beauty routine when it should have only taken me an hour, tops.
I know I should cut myself some slack. Mommy brain is a real thing. Plus, Asa’s not even three months old, and in any other profession I’d likely still be on maternity leave without pressure to do any work. So why do I put so much pressure on myself?
I’d love to know how you juggled all of your responsibilities those first few months after having a baby. Were you constantly dropping balls or did you create some sort of system to keep them all up in the air? How long did it take until you moved past the mommy brain stage and started feeling like yourself again?
PS – More thoughts on trying to juggle motherhood, plus advice for a new mom of two.
This post is all of us! Try not to put so much pressure on your yourself. I know it’s hard, but we can only do what we can do. Mommy brain is the pits! I worked up until the night I went into labor and I went back to work 4 weeks after I gave birth (no mat leave at my job) and for months before and after my co-workers just laughed off my forgetfulness. I am a super organized person, and a clean freak, but I also have un-folded laundry and the daily mental debate of relax or do housework. To make a long story short, my baby is 5 ½ months old and I still don’t feel like myself, but I take it day by day, remember to take moments for myself and take a breath, and constantly look at his smiling face in pictures to remind myself what it is all for! PS your blog helps a lot too!! So feel good about what you are doing and go take a nap for me, girl!
While I have yet to do this with 2, I know after having Gavin I tried to meet the same expectations and was so unhappy when I couldn’t. It’s just not possible! So I’m hoping to be ok with lowered expectations and plan to try to respect some self imposed boundaries. I’ve also decided I’m not at all ashamed that I plan to keep Gavin in daycare his normal 2 days a week because I’m pretty sure I need time to figure this whole parenting thing out again. Thank you for blogging, PJ, it really does help to see another mom’s struggles (and successes!).
This part of motherhood is so hard!
I have lived in such a state of delirium since Bertie was born that I can’t draw the line between trying/not trying any more. For a while I did my best to evaluate the day and see what would bring me the most satisfaction or peace. When Walden stopped napping (on August 15, my birthday, thanksloveya) I found myself totally overstretched and worn and incapable of accomplishing anything. Then I readjusted my expectations and managed to do a little (blogging, showering, napping, dishes, whatever) in the mornings while he was at school and Bertie napped. I was able to swing more when the boys (occasionally) cooperated and I only had to get up once a night and could wake up to an alarm before they started their day. Now that Bertie has dropped to one nap, I have made a promise to myself that I won’t stress over laundry that doesn’t get put away, or crumbs that don’t get swept, or dishes that don’t get cleaned, because really, I’m the only one who cares and I need my time to stay sane.
I’ve also permitted myself to fall asleep while Walden watches an educational TV show while Bertie is napping, if my afternoon coffee doesn’t keep it from happening. But I choose to blame that on the ridiculously early sunrise we enjoy over here this time of year. This time is fleeting. We do what we need to in order to get by. Then we find a new normal and get to remember these days “when.” It gets easier.
PS. This comment was written in a state of exhaustion. I hope it makes sense 🙂