Big was away all last week. He left Sunday night and came home late last night. While he was away I came to some realizations. The biggest one is that I can no longer handle Big’s extended trips away with no help. I was so tired and overwhelmed by mid-week that all I did was yell at my child and cry.
I’ve mentioned before that in two years I have not really had a babysitter except for a brief stint in April and May. Well, as of this week, I am finally going to go on a full out hunt for, not one, but two or three babysitters who can relieve me when I am feeling like I need it. Yelling at my child and sitting on the floor bawling my eyes out while he watches is not healthy for either of us. I don’t know what I’ve been trying to prove by thinking I could be a mom 24/7/365 with no relief but I’m done trying to do the impossible. I’m not going to let the fact that I am embarrassed because my child has no routine or good sleep habits stop me from asking someone else to look after him. I’m guessing that it won’t be a completely easy transition for me, Shorty, or the poor person who has to watch him. What I do know is that if I don’t get some occassional help I will breakdown even more than I already have. I will collapse from exhaustion. I also fear that I’m headed for one of those moments you regret for the rest of your life.
Big has been telling me for months to find someone. I’ve been stubborn. I didn’t want to spend the money. I didn’t want to admit that I need help. I didn’t want to have to tell someone else that my child has no schedule. And a part of me is afraid that maybe I’m just not cut out to be a full time stay-at-home-mom or that maybe I’m just not a good mom period. In reality it’s more likely that I’m not superhuman and can’t be the perfect mom every second of every day without once in a while taking some time for myself. It’s also true that by not establishing some routines that I’ve made things harder.
I don’t know why I thought I could do this without some alone time. I’ve always been the type of person who needed to have some time to be completely alone with myself. I was the kid who would rather sit in the house and read than go out and play with the other kids. When I was single and still living at my parents house I would either go to my room or go to the bookstore to be alone. Before we had Shorty, Big’s trips were a time for me to have my alone time and I used to relish it. When I worked outside the home I preferred taking my lunch hour alone rather than joining co-workers for lunch.
I’m not anti-social (well actually lately I have been but more on that another time). I enjoy people. I have friends. I love time spent with family. I like having Big home. And yes, I do enjoy doing things with my child too. I just need a good balance in which I can spend time with people and then time alone. In the past it’s been my way of recharging my battery so that I can go out there and be a part of the rest of society. But for two years I have not really had the alone time that I need. So, now I guess my mind and my body I are loudly giving me warning signs that if I don’t find some me time that my world is going to blow up.
I have a sneaky suspision that this is also part of the reason why I keep hemming and hauling about trying for another child. Another child means less time for me or a longer time in which another helpless human being will need my attention. Shorty is getting older. Soon he will be ready for part time nursery school. Kindergarten is only three years away. It’s not that I want to rush his growth or that I don’t want to be with him at all. But all these milestones mean that he will be less dependent on me and I will have more time for myself. Having another child means starting all over again. I want another child. I do. I love the thought of nursing another baby and watching that baby and Shorty grow up together. I want that soft baby smell again because Shorty is starting to leave his baby ways behind and become a big boy. But before I can imagine having another child I need to figure out how to balance my children’s needs and welfare with my own needs and welfare. Part of that is finding someone who can help me gain back some of that alone time.
So, I ask you moms out there – how do you achieve this balance? Do you have people in your life who offer you relief? What do you do with your children when you just need to focus on yourself? Did you struggle with guilty thoughts or fears of being an inadequate mother?