The title of this post might as well be ‘Anxiety,” because I’ve got plenty right now.
As Squeak spends his days rolling and turning inside my belly, punching my bladder with his fists (I’ve come close to peeing more times than I can count), I wonder what he (she?) is going to be like, and I pray (in a very non-religious way) that Squeak is healthy and happy. Because I am already so overwhelmed with parenting that I’m not sure what I’d do if my child wasn’t normal.
I hate people who constantly feel sorry for themselves without doing anything about it. Bad marriage? Maybe you shouldn’t have married an asshole with a record of cheating on women. Dirty house? Either get down on your knees and scrub or hire a cleaning lady, but quit yer bitchin’. My tolerance level for my own pity parties is very low.
Yet, I can’t help but feel sorry for myself right now. It’s just so hard.
(And I’ve honestly got no idea what to do about it other than to suck it up and shut up.)
When people ask me what my weekend plans are, lately my answer is “Weekend? I’m just trying to get to the weekend. I’m trying too hard to survive the week, I can’t possibly take time to consider my actual plans for the weekend.”
If the person asking the question has no children, they typically stare at me like I’ve just sprouted a horn from my forehead. I’ve scared them and they probably are going to call their Ob/Gyn and request an IUD within the hour.
My parent-having friends are more sympathetic. They’ve been there, though I think many of us forget how hard it is, particularly the toddler stage.
For me, with a husband that travels a lot, it’s even more difficult. Yes, I know, I married him knowing full well that his line of work would require him to be gone a lot. But did I really comprehend what his absence would mean for raising children? Not really. You can’t possibly predict the impact of one parent’s absenteeism until you have a child and are in the thick of things.
I find myself revisiting previous judgments, and thinking that, as usual, I was a real asshole. I’ll admit to certain biases when it comes to single parents. Many of the worst-behaved kids at Peanut’s daycare come from single-parent homes. The biters and hitters. The kids whose clothes are ill-fitting, or falling apart, or just plain filthy even at 7am. But I’m looking at those little boogers with fresh eyes now.
Last Thursday after work, I picked up Peanut from daycare and stopped by the cupcake store on the way home. The plan was a quick in/out to get a Lemon Meringue cupcake (shup, I’m pregnant, dammit… allow me my indulgences), but Peanut had other plans. The cupcake store is connected to the frozen yogurt shop, and she is well aware of this. She went to the doorway between the two and threw a foot-stomping, head-shaking, little-fists-balled-up tantrum right then and there.
I was fighting the early stages of a massive cold at the time, and running on 5 hours of fitful sleep thanks to being uncomfortably 33 weeks pregnant. I knew that picking her up mid-tantrum would be difficult because she’d either go limp or fight me like crazy.
I looked at her and said to myself, Fuck it. Froyo for dinner it is.
Peanut was elated as I concocted a bowl of chocolate/peanut butter and strawberry-lemonade frozen yogurt, complete with strawberries and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup crumbles. All topped with whipped cream, which she immediately dug into with her spoon (because of my cold, she got her own spoon) and flung onto her chair. When we were done, the table and chairs we sat in looked like the scene of a yogurt massacre. Usually, I go out of my way to clean up after my toddler in public, but once again, my sheer exhaustion won out. I apologized to the store’s lone employee as I carried my now-screaming toddler out of the shop. We just needed to leave, as quickly as possible.
It got me thinking about single parents, and my disapproval of some of their decisions. Granted, sometimes my criticism is warranted — there are some things you must stand your ground on, like biting. But other times, perhaps that mom or dad is just like me: too damn tired to fight, and just trying to survive the day.
I know this will get harder before it gets easier. And thankfully, we’ve got family who will help us when we need it. After the yogurt shop incident, my bad cold turned into a gnarly upper respiratory infection. Imagine the already awful sleep of 33 weeks pregnant, and add coughing until you feel like you might vomit… then throw in a toddler with incessant energy… erma gerd. I’d had enough. I called in reinforcements (aka Grandma). Thank goodness I’ve got reinforcements available. Many people do not.
I just keep telling myself that this desperate feeling won’t — can’t — last forever. I’ll have full use of my body back in a few weeks, and Squeak will eventually sleep through the night, and Peanut will eventually depart her Terrible Twos.
I will hang on until that day comes. Until then, I’m just focused on surviving.
It’s worth it, right?
(Pity party over. I promise.)
P.S. – The ‘related posts’ below probably reveal that I do, indeed, complain more than I should. Oops. *hides in embarrassment*