Life over the past 8 months since previous Avery arrived into our world has been absolutely wonderful and blessed, but it hasn't been easy. Not that I expect it to be... No, to the contrary, I expected things to be challenging, but maybe not for this long.
Bonding with my baby, feeling joy at watching her grow and develop her unique personality? That's been SO easy. She's amazing.
Dealing with sleepless nights early on, teething, crankiness and reflux issues? That's been difficult.
Handling problems with my condo, our house, my car, my husband's car, shifting responsibilities at home, sick family members, personal illness and health issues, etc., etc., etc.? Very, very difficult.
I'd also heard from a LOT of people that babies can basically drop a bomb on your marriage. While I feel like my husband and I are very much on the same team and have the same commitments and style with which we parent our daughter, our entire family dynamic has changed since November. Hubs is now a Stay At Home Dad. I am the one working and providing for us financially. I feel more pressure than ever to be excellent at my job, keep my shit together and put on a happy face, even when life hasn't stopped throwing me curve balls. It's exhausting in every way.
Part of me feels like I've lost "me" in this whole process. You know, the one of "Work, put baby to bed, make dinner, get ready for the next day, sleep, repeat." I no longer have the same amount of time or energy to dedicate to managing my finances, reading, blogging, seeing friends, laundry, cleaning, organizing and decorating my home, or even keeping up with basic life essentials (i.e. grocery shopping). Hubs has picked up my slack in a big, big way, but I very much want to be doing many of the things he's taken over. (I'm kind of a control freak that way, under more typical circumstances). Our weekends are not times when we can catch up on things, either. Avery dominates every minute of our time now that she's mobile and teething. Keeping her routine in tact is a huge challenge when Hubs and I have oodles of errands to run, things to do around the house, or even have a desire to relax.
So the paradigm has shifted in my casa. We're all trying to get used to it, but I think I may be struggling most of all.
Who ever enters parenthood and says, "I really hope I lose myself in this process! I can't wait to have ZERO time for myself or my interests/friends/hobbies!"? Nobody, that's who. I always wonder how other people do it. They seem to have it all, but I know that can't possibly be true. We're all out there making sacrifices once we have families.
Work has been no different than life at home. It's one crisis after another, and we're in survival mode too, trying to hire and retain as many people as possible, while facing daily issues and demanding customers. My coworker and one of my employees have resigned over the craziness, but my job is to right the ship and find a way to keep sailing forward.
So how do I get back the parts of my life that made me feel like myself again? Do I just give them up and say it's part of having a kid? Is it wrong to want to still enjoy the things that bring me other forms of happiness? I'm willing to compromise, of course, but... I don't know how or where to start.
Being a parent and managing my work, relationships and day-to-day crises are definitely the most stressful things I've ever experienced. I just want to get to a place where "Kari" isn't completely lost in the hustle and bustle of life. Taking care of Avery's mom (that's me) has to be a priority too, so I can then take the very best care of her.
I'm still just trying to figure everything out. For other moms out there, what's your secret?