In and Out, Up and Down

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Lately I am floating in and out of a state of inner calm and contentment. My moods go up and down a lot. The stress of adjustment to our new schedules and responsibilities is definitely evident.

I didn’t realize how long the days get when you are working and have a baby. Mornings don’t have slack time anymore: it’s racing to get everything together and racing out the door. No reading a book over cereal … sigh. But there still can be lovely moments, like my daughter’s wake-up this morning. Roll onto tummy; push up to a crawl; look right at mom; and smile. Then lean closer and nestle head on mommy’s chest and crawl onto her chest to cuddle. That alone kept me in bed for an extra 15 minutes.

Days at work bring lots of satisfaction. I’m making task lists and getting them done; connecting with people; organizing the office; setting in motion plans for the year. It feels good. I’m also meeting and visiting with interesting people all around the university, and it is rejuvenating. At the same time, I find I am rushing through my day from start to finish. My breathing is shallow most of the time, though I am consciously integrating deep breathing whenever I notice I need it. I’m still not sure how I feel about working at this time in my daughter’s life.

And then there’s the evening. So far I haven’t been able to get out of my mom’s before 6. What with a later start in the mornings and drive time, I don’t get there before 5. Then there is nursing or pumping, and a few moments to unwind and see my family. Usually it’s a good time for baby to eat dinner which can take a while; and I’m hungry so I eat too. Then packing up the car … why is there so much stuff? By this time it’s 6 or nearly 7. Sometimes baby will fall asleep going home, but more often she’ll be overstimulated and exhausted and fuss and cry. She loves throwing her toys out of the car seat. Then she cries because she doesn’t have them. I can’t and don’t believe in driving when she’s crying which results in sometimes a few stops over the course of the drive home.

Once home: sometimes she falls right into bed. Other nights, like tonight, it’s 10:30 before we can get her solidly to bed. She was nearly there a few times, but it didn’t take. Still have bottles and laundry to tackle.

On the upside: while all this is going on it’s sometimes great. She is playing and talking with us. She wants to be with her mommy after a long day away so I get to carry her around. We had some amazing playing on the bed to night as a family, her rolling around, growling, laughing. I gave her a leg massage which always makes her giggle. It’s generally amazing.

And then there’s simply appreciating the moment. When it was getting on to 10 and she wasn’t asleep my husband offered to take her for a walk in the stroller. I took a shower while they were gone and as I was getting out I felt the approach of fall. Cooler nights, cozy house, family all together, cuddling in bed. What a comforting feeling. And right now: baby is asleep. Husband and I are sitting in the same room working on computers, me blogging, him researching blenders. Nice.

And now: back to bottles.

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