This is one of those posts where I admit the hard stuff and hope Aria gets that I still think she’s awesome, even when parenting isn’t easy.
I work on a team of seven champion individuals. As we prepared for the two week holiday many of them exalted in the work they would be able to get done. I looked at them as if looking at a mirror down a dark hallway.
I turned to JW, the only other member of the magnificent seven with children.
“Are you doing any work over the holidays? That sounds ridiculously stressful.”
JW laughed. A big, wide-eyed, ducky laugh.
Because to do work on vacation as a parent is to scrape out what minuscule free time you can get and try to concentrate enough to do something effectively enough that it will be more than a drop in the bucket of all the other hours you normally put into work.
The thing is that this is as true for leisure as it is for getting work done. Most extra moments I scrape out have been spent on cleaning, cooking, or wrapping presents. So many times when I took time out for games with my sister it was as Aria screeched and screamed while Papa Bear worked to calm her down. Only when we get out and about to visit caves, go shopping, or play at a water park has this vacation felt particularly relaxing.
One of the hardest parts is the toll it takes on my time with DH. Aria was high energy yesterday and cried often. She’s having trouble eating and I think she may have thrush. She also has a rough cough that wakes her up every couple of hours.
By the time 6pm rolled around I felt like I had been wrestling with her for hours and hours. I handed her to DH, said I needed a break, and curled up in a ball in my bed.
Like many times, I’d promised DH time together after Aria was in bed. But she never fell into a solid deep sleep. I kept her in bed with me and never went back downstairs. This is how we ended up without a Christmas tree for Aria’s first Christmas.
I’ve scheduled a doctor’s appointment and we’ve cancelled New Years Eve plans. Now perhaps it’s my turn to cry a little.
Perhaps not. I am the mom after all.
Now all this isn’t to say we haven’t had a fun holiday. Some days haven’t been fun, like yesterday, but others have been a blast. It just hasn’t been restful. Aria still makes me laugh and smile all the time, like two days ago when she found it hilarious to feed me her snacks.
And some moments have been truly tender, like last week when she was having a terrible time of it and was sobbing in her car seat. I reached back and gave her my fingers. She clutched them to her. Her cries turned to whimpers and then she drifted off to sleep. That’s a moment I think I’ll hold in my heart for a long, long time.
I guess I just haven’t figured out that balance of restful time with self, indulgent time with husband, and bonding time with daughter. Sometimes it’s more like bonding time with daughter, then sleep for twelve hours and get ready to do it again.