Do you have the time?

by DaniGirl on December 18, 2008 · 11 comments

in It IS all about me

Of all the things about having a baby in the house, I think the thing that has been the toughest is the intensity of it — the absolute lack of time for anything that isn’t caring for the baby, or making dinner, or doing laundry, or tidying up, or somehow caring for the bigger boys. The simple lack of time. I remember back before the baby was born, on the days when I wasn’t working I’d take a nap in the afternoon and then come downstairs and have a wee snack on the couch while I read a couple of chapters of my book. I think back to those times with a kind of wonder. Did I really have that much spare time to myself? How did I do it? Where did that time come from and more importantly, where did it go and when for the love of god will it come back?

I feel that lack of down time, lack of “me” time, even more acutely right now when I look at my collection of holiday crafts through the years. When we decorated the house for Christmas, out came samples of all my little crafty projects: handmade stockings, several different kinds of ornaments, folk-art painted wood decorations, handmade candles, little fridge-magnet marbles with cutouts from old Christmas cards… I love crafty stuff at the best of times, but I really feel the absence of being able to do any of this stuff this year. I was part of a cookie exchange this year and finding the time to make 10 dozen cookies nearly killed me, whereas I’d normally make shortbread and peanut brittle gifts for all of my family and many of my friends without breaking a sweat, and had time to make homemade holiday crafts on my own and with the boys. I’m not sure if it’s the “factor of three” or if it’s just that Lucas is a particularly demanding baby — especially now that he’s officially crawling and terrorizing all of us! — but there is simply no time that isn’t filled to overflowing with rather uninspiring domestica, and an undone to-do list of rather epic proportions. The list is an odd mix of things I must and want to do: everything from clean the toilets and organize the closet to back up the blog and paint our bedroom. Every day is a triage of what absolutely cannot wait one more day to be done.

My life is very full right now, in the best possible way. I truly believe that raising these boys, that being a part of this family, is what I have been called to do in life, and I love it. But as recently as a few weeks ago, I also felt completely panicked by the weight of the things that were required of me, the things that ensured I had only a handful of minutes every day to do what I absolutely had to do to keep my sanity: peck out a few e-mails and a blog post, or run to the gym.

I’m trying to feel more philosophical about it now, to remember that some day I’ll look back on these days with nostalgic longing. I try to keep in mind that Lucas’s babyness is already escaping, his toddlerhood looming, even though he’s only been with us for a breath or two. I cast my mind back to Baby Simon and Baby Tristan, lo those many — but so few! — years ago, to remember that I probably felt this way then, and yet I survived to tell the tale.

But as I walked through the craft store yesterday, casting a greedy eye on row after row of project ideas, I felt the weight of that physical need for time and space. I made those marble magnets two years ago, when Simon would have been coming up on three and Tristan almost five. So I know that by the time Lucas is three, in just a couple of brief years from now, I will have managed enough balance in my life to find that creative space again. I might even pick up a book in the afternoons, one of these days.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Loukia December 18, 2008 at 11:11 am

Dani, I feel your pain… the lack of sleep, the constant work, the non-stop of it all! Me, I only have 2 boys – 3 and a half, and 11 months old – but it’s tough, man, it’s tough. I am not one of those supermoms who can do it all. I am sad to say I cooked dinner maybe twice while on mat leave… thankfully my husband feeds us so we don’t starve! I find it really hard to be with both boys alone – one is going this way, the other one is going that way, they both need me, the 3 year old wants his brother to leave the room, not to touch some of his things, then he wants him in the room, (yes my 3 year old controls me… maybe this is a bigger problem then I make it out to be….) and I just find there is NO me time… let alone time for me and my husband to connect. I can’t remember the last time I sat down alone with my husband, sadly. We bicker more then we should. Yell more then we should. My 3 year old called his dad an idiot last night because I used that word earlier in the day. That made me feel horrible. And then I have friends who have no kids who tell me they are tired… I mean, seriously – they don’t know tired! Sorry for ranting…

2 mrsgryphon December 18, 2008 at 11:52 am

Oh, I hear you… and we only have 1! My job, volunteer activities, family visiting, trying to find time for my husband and I (we *really* need some time to reconnect) and a high-energy sponge-for-info kid are all crushing me under the weight of responsibility right now. I’m actually kind of terrified about how intense it’s going to be once #2 arrives in May!!

I know it will all get better, but it’s a matter of doing what needs to be done now to get through it and be sane at the end of the day… sometimes, it’s just all overwhelming.

3 suzanne December 18, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Our party of 5 is also intense. Three kids and all their shenanigans (and fabulousness!) can run you ragged. My little one is now 18 months and I’ve just now managed to carve some ‘me’ time every week, excluding time at work…. Every now and again, my husband and I look at each other and say, ‘I’m going to miss them when they’re big’. I already feel the time slipping away and I miss their babyhood..their toddlerhood…and yet love what they are becoming.

4 Erin December 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Thank you for writing this post – sometimes it can feel you are the only one in that place. I really miss the time with my husband that was purely for fun – now all the time is devoted to sorting out the business of daily life.

5 Miche December 18, 2008 at 6:41 pm

*hugs*

6 Mac and Cheese December 18, 2008 at 8:45 pm

It’s hard to believe that I felt overwhelmed with responsibilities when all I had to care for was a house, a few plants and some fish. Being a mom is HARD!

7 Ingrid December 18, 2008 at 9:33 pm

OOOH – you’re not alone! I used to love knitting but I have knit about 10 rows since child #3 arrived ( 7 years ago). I was really craving me time for many years but this year I feel better about it. At age 7 they really can do some things independently,
I also dream of the days when my hubby and I can just do whatever we like, but then I get sad at the same time because it means that our house wont be full of people asking “mom…”.

8 Melissa December 19, 2008 at 6:11 am

I totally hear you. I’m not crafty but I miss the time that I spent doing other things – skiing, reading, writing, going to the gym for two hours a day. I have a twelve month old – it’s so hard!

9 Dee December 19, 2008 at 7:17 am

Even next year will be better Dani. That first year to eighteen months, you can’t walk away from them in waking hours… bit after that, you can star reclaiming some of your time a little piece at a time. You know this already, you have just forgotten how clos you are to reclaiming…!

10 Annika December 19, 2008 at 8:45 am

I have a two-year-old, a six-month-old and ZERO family support (all aunts, uncles and grandparents live an airplane ride away). Take advantage of having your parents in town…they sound like amazing and helpful parents and grandparents.

My husband and I are looking at about 18 years before we can go away on our own overnight. But then, that makes us sad because it means our babies will be grown and gone. Sigh.

11 Meghan December 19, 2008 at 9:59 am

I feel the same way sometimes, especially when I hear about people doing really interesting things for themselves-like traveling to exotic places. I know the time will come soon for me when I can go off and do something for myself and not feel like I am leaving my family out. It will happen when they are both teenagers-not too far away!

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