Monday, August 19, 2013

The New Normal

I remember someone talking about how scary it is to take two young children out of the house when you first have a baby, but then you just do it and it gets easier and easier.
Matt has been out of town for work the past two Wednesdays in a row. The first Wednesday, I was so fearful of having Henry and Tate alone for the entire afternoon and evening that I desperately invited myself over to my friend's house. I kept asking for more favors: "And would you mind if we stayed for dinner?" "And would it be possible to give our kids a joint bath?"
The following Wednesday, I somehow managed to take Henry and Tate to the swimming pool at the park behind our house all by myself. I wore Tate in the Moby wrap, and the three of us hung out in the shallow pool.
What a difference a week makes!
Although life with two young children is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, it's just so much easier than I anticipated. I was so unprepared for how difficult my transition into motherhood was the first time around; this time, I was envisioning the worst. Luckily--knock on wood--it's way better than the worst.
We go to bed around 10pm, and Tate wakes up twice to eat in the night. Our day starts at 7am. I'm not good about fitting in a nap during the day because I have too much work to do, but I'm hanging in there. I'm generally tired but not exhausted. Matt and I are doing a good job with balancing responsibilities and handling this whole parenting thing like a team. He puts Henry to bed while I feed Tate; I bathe Tate while Matt cleans the kitchen. Matt tries to fit in runs by taking Henry in the stroller or going during nap time.
We definitely don't have a ton of balance in our lives. We don't really have free time, I'm not exercising yet, and we don't go on any dates, but it's easier to keep it all in perspective. It's easy to cherish the feeling of Tate sleeping on my chest to savor the sensation of my lips pressed against his soft cheeks or to work hard to make him smile. I know the really hard parts are finite, and it's easier for me to focus on soaking up every sweet moment of infancy.
I know I've mentioned this before, but the two things that have really eased this transition are 1) keeping Henry in daycare from 8am-3pm every day and 2) nudging Tate onto a schedule. Tate and I enjoy such quiet, tender days together, and then we have fun with Henry in the afternoon. Matt and I tag team through dinner, bath, and bedtime for Henry, and then we enjoy a quiet night with Tate from 6:30pm on. I have predictable chunks of time to work from 8:15am-10am and 11:15-1pm.
I don't mean to paint an entirely rosy picture. There are definitely hard parts. Have I mentioned that I'm having trouble with my gallbladder and had to go to the emergency room? (Sorry if I'm repeating myself. The lack of sleep definitely affects my memory.) I've had five very painful attacks. Plus, the post-partum hormones still make me cry from time to time, and Matt and I get into more frequent arguments because we're so tired and taking care of other people's needs all the time.
It's just that all of those things seem to fade into the background. My focus really is on the gratitude I feel for being able to welcome a second, healthy baby into this world; the excitement I feel about the house and life we're building together; the passion I have for starting Austin's first public Montessori school; and the joy I feel for having found an amazing life partner to walk hand in hand with.

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Anthropolochic said...

This is such a great attitude to take. I tried very hard to keep the fleeting nature of the good and the bad of this time in mind too. For the most part, I think I was successful - though the exhaustion is starting to wear on me.

In anycase, it was nice to read this post today. Reminded me of how, though my night was fairly sleepless (so many teeth coming in at once), I need to remember that infancy is temporary and short..and something to appreciate.

Sara and Mike said...

Sara, I'm curious about the gallbladder symptoms you've been having. I'm 7 months postpartum and I keep having these mysterious infections causing high fevers and requiring antibiotics. I'm wondering if its my gallbladder as well...

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