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Coming up for air

My life as a mama is shifting again. My baby is sleeping a little more and needing a little less, my toddler is pooping and peeing in the potty, and both girls are finally getting used to each other. They still need me pretty much constantly, but I’m finally getting little patches of freedom. Most nights, I’m staying up after my baby. Some evenings, I’m going out with friends. On the weekends, I’m getting a little alone time.

This is a really, really good thing, I know. I’ve been so hungry for this to happen. But…I’ve been in a haze of mommydom for so long, that when I get a moment to myself, I don’t really know what to do with it.

Well, that’s not completely true. Usually I spend it doing dishes, cleaning off the millions of piles on my counters, picking up toys, scrubbing faucets….you get the idea.

But when I actually get a little of the oh-so-vaunted me time, or time with my hubby, at first I’m ecstatic and then… I mostly feel uneasy. Like, should I really be sitting in this bar sipping a cocktail/in this mall buying some pants that fit/in this salon getting pretty when I have all those counters to clean off back home?? Or at least sleeping and resting? Is this really even that fun?

My inner monologue is even worse when the me or couple time occurs when my kids are awake. Then I’m alternating between beating myself up over how much my baby misses me and dreading the double-kiddo meltdown I’ll come home to.

I’m also enjoying myself, of course. A little. But it mostly just feels weird. Am I a freak??

I know this is textbook bad mommy behavior, that I’m supposed to take care of me so I can take care of them, and yadda yadda yadda, but it’s just so hard to get back into the saddle of selfdom.

I just never really did it between my kiddos, so I’ve got a longer way to go. When my sleepless year with a colicky (and wonderful) baby turned into a second year surpregnant and a third year with a baby and toddler, my bubble of personal existence just kind of deflated completely.

I mean, I’m not a total hermit. I have lots of mommy friends. My hubby and I are still very happy together (God knows how!!). But I’ve definitely lost touch with myself.  The kiddos just needed me so much. I just felt like I couldn’t, like it wasn’t worth it, that I didn’t even know how to start. I got so good at powering through the exhaustion, the boredom, the unmet needs that I just sort of went on auto pilot. I let it happen. I wanted it to happen. I just didn’t see any other way to do it well.

Now that I feel like they need me a little less, I’m not sure how to turn the autopilot off. I’m working on it, though. I got a new haircut. I got my brows did. I’ve gone out for drinks with my sister a few times, with my hubby a few more. Even with the girls last week. Yesterday I went out and bought some new clothes (and found myself a size smaller than I expected to be! Yippee!).

So I’m definitely coming up for air, making time for “me,” whoever that is beyond mama, wife and homemaker extraordinaire. But it feels a little like going through the motions. In my head I’m coaxing myself: “Wow! This is so great! Isn’t this so great! I’m having SO much fun! Aren’t I??” But the unease never really leaves.

I just keep telling myself that I’m in a time of major adjustment right now. That in a few months this particular mix of me-time and mommydom will feel old hat. And then I’ll have to brace myself for the next adjustment, whatever that is. I remember the panic that set in right after Quinn was born, realizing that everything in my universe had shifted and I’d somehow have to learn to live with it. And then I did. That happened again when I got pregnant again, and then when Ruby was born. So I know these moments to myself will soon feel normal, even good. That the panic will abate.

But for the time being, I feel like Rip Van Winkle in a nursing bra. Waiting for my world to look normal again.


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  1. I can totally relate. I’m now at home sans kids when I have a purpose, but left kidless with no plan I am completely frozen. It’s also funny that now when my 3 year old is away and I just have my baby, I think of this as being without kids. 😉

  2. I totally remember that feeling- and how weird it felt to spend any time alone. It was really nice to get that back, and now I feel like I am much better about not feeling the need to have my mama-hat on *all* the time. But it does take some convincing of one’s self 😉

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