Goals and Reality

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First day of vacation. I ended the day stressed, lonely, sad and burned out. Time to reassess.

Though vacation is supposed to be joyful and fun, if you’ve been working hard it’s also the first chance to come down off of the adrenalin cycle and get back in touch with your real life. My real life today: a baby who wasn’t happy for a lot of the day; a ridiculously messy home; no time to write or really relax; no contact with friends.

Baby is teething, needing lots of attention, and strangely sensitive to quite a few things now. For one, she freaks out if you try to button or unbutton snaps on her shirts; and she was quite scared by the sound of the snaps I did up on our duvet cover, her diapers, etc. I have no idea what it is about that sound that upsets her! I focused on being in the moment, giving her my attention, setting limits where appropriate: no, you can’t hit mama (she loves to swing her hand at my face while nursing); no, you can’t grab mama’s glasses (she has a ridiculously aggressive and effective snatch move that can get my glasses in one swift motion), and giving lots of carry, hold, hug and kiss time. I am so glad to note that I did this. I also note that I did let frustration over other things (bottles not ready, house mess out of hand, etc. etc.), spill over into some expressions of exasperation, to put it mildly, though clearly not directed at her or said in an aggressive tone of voice. But still. Watch my words.

Messy house, messy house. Mess undermines my emotional well-being. And today I went even further and darker with it, wondering why we can’t manage to have a decent-looking home, and speculating that even if we had a finished home with lots of storage, I probably still couldn’t keep it decent-looking. I’m so sick of living in a mess. I’m sick of our furniture, of not being settled, of not being able to make the place beautiful because it’s unfinished and our furniture sucks and we can’t be bothered. I know people say babies don’t care about mess and maybe they don’t, but 1) this environment shapes her expectations for the future, and 2) it doesn’t work for me. Husband and I agreed tonight that yes, we’re trying to get out of this housing situation, that an unfinished and unsettled living plan makes it hard to nest, and that we will both try to be positive as we work to change things. So there. Positive about this from now on. And in support of that, I’ll mention that a neighbour just sold his house which has been on the market off and on for a few years. A minor point of hope for the future.

Though I’m trying to work through “writing a journal article in 12 weeks” and I know how important writing 15 min. a day is, I haven’t been able to get to it for almost a week. Really haven’t. I had about an hour today to “myself.” I chose to clean the really messy kitchen and make some food for me and baby. And then baby woke up. I had a few minutes to myself at the end of supper tonight when husband took baby. I chose to read a novel for those few minutes while I finished eating. And after baby went to sleep and husband and I talked a bit (truly an essential, vital thing to do), it was 10. I prepped some food, moved some stuff that needed moving for the night, and yes, checked gmail and facebook and read a couple short things online. I could have worked on my paper. But I didn’t, I really didn’t have it in me. And now I blog. So maybe tomorrow I’ll try again, and keep trying.

As for friends, I think I could reach out more and try and connect. I find it very hard to make plans with a baby. Yes, I know it’s a horrible excuse. My reality is that her schedule is unpredictable and I find it hard to leave the house on short notice: packing the diaper bag, prepping food for baby, diaper changes and a pre-departure nurse seem to take forever. And if I’m not pushing baby in a stroller, it can be hard to actually focus on the person I’m with since baby needs fairly constant monitoring or interaction.

My goals for vacation involved intense baby time and family time, settling into house and home and routines, and taking care of a number of to-do items. Today I had a chance to do the first of these. I still have weeks to do the rest. And baby is the most important, so I’m grateful that is coming first.

And with that, I’ll close, get some sleep and look forward to a brighter tomorrow.

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