Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pacific Standard Baby Time

“I got five hours of uninterrupted sleep last night!!!!!”

Prior to becoming a Mother I would have made this statement with despair as opposed to joy, but considering for the last two months I haven’t logged more than two hours straight, I’m ecstatic.  It’s amazing how quickly you lower your standards once you become a parent.  Sure you may be used to getting 10 hours of sleep, but after several months of never sleeping longer than the length of a movie, you’ll feel like a new person after only half of your previously required sleep time.  You’ll also find that showering on a regular basis becomes an optional activity - just pretend you’re European!  Yesterday, while enjoying an all too rare shower, I realized that I hadn’t shaved my armpits since before my son was born, which was over two months ago.  I may be a hippie at heart, but I don’t necessarily want to advertise this while wearing a tank top.  And you can forget about doing the dishes.  While I’ve become rather an expert at loading the dishwasher with one hand, washing pots and pans is a thing of the past; if it can’t be cooked in something disposable, I don’t want to eat it. 

The thing I’ve discovered is that Motherhood is not exactly compatible with my Type A, marginally Obsessive Compulsive personality.  Sure, I’m an emotional basket case on the inside, but I prefer to disguise this fact by having everything perfectly in order on the outside.  Thanks to my kiddo, this is no longer possible.  Not only do I look like a wreck, but my house and car are also starting to look like I’m a candidate for Hoarders.

Before you have children it’s absolutely impossible to understand how little time you have to do anything other than care for your baby.  The other day a dear friend of mine came to visit and asked me, “So, what exactly do you do all day?”  There’s no way to explain to someone who doesn’t have a child how much time and effort goes into just taking care of the baby.  When I’m not feeding the baby, I’m either burping the baby or changing his diaper or pumping breast milk so the Hubby can feed the baby so I can sleep for an extra hour or two.  On paper that doesn’t sound like a lot, but believe me when I tell you that this eats up most of the day.  If I’m lucky, I’ll actually get a chance to eat a meal while the Muffin Man takes a nap, but usually I can be found shoveling in a few bites of food while I breast feed, which inevitably leads to my kid having a head full of crumbs.   There’s a reason everyone gave me pajamas for my birthday; it’s because I no longer even have a chance to get dressed any more. 

Despite all of the very un-fun parts of Motherhood, I actually really enjoy it.  I’ve lived such a narcissistic existence for so many years that it’s been a good change to have to set aside my superficial wants in order to attend to the very real, very life sustaining needs of another human being.  I wasn’t sure I was up to the task, frankly, but I’ve surprised myself at how quickly I managed to step up to the plate.  Yes, there are some days where I’ve contemplated leaving my kid unattended in his swing so I could go have my nails done, and I am a far from perfect Mother, but I’m pretty proud of myself for the job I’m doing.  But don’t worry; my son will still have plenty to complain about to his therapist each week.

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