May 7, 2013

toughing it out

“Overall, I think this was a pretty successful day,” my mom said. It was Monday, which is the weekday I have chosen to stay home with my son and give him one less day in daycare. She came over early that morning, and we shared some coffee cake and coffee before heading to a hardware store. After the store we headed to her place, and my son took a 1.5-hour nap. While he was sleeping, we poked around in her backyard, and I ended up sawing off a couple sections of tree roots that were pushing up patio bricks. Actually, I was kind of surprised I could do it so easily – proof that picking up a 25-pound kiddo about 342 times a day really bulks up arm strength.  After his nap and lunch, we stopped at the grocery store and then back to my place. She left to take care of some other business. And it was me and the boy until DH got home.

I’m not sure why, but Mondays have become incredibly exhausting for me. Maybe it’s picking him up so often (since he’s not walking yet). Maybe it’s managing him through the things-he-should-stay-out of, irregular teething pain fits, trips to the store or wherever else I can take him to get out of the house, fixing dinner, planning dinner, changing diapers while trying to keep him from jumping off the changing table… On second thought, it’s becoming clear to me why I’m so tired by 6:00 Monday evening.

I must be complaining about this a lot, because DH is starting to suggest that I consider going back to work Mondays and extending our son’s daycare to five days a week. I have a pang of guilt mixed with determination whenever he suggests it, though: guilt because I know how important it is for my son to have more time with us at such an early age; determination because… well, I guess I’m determined to tough it out.

I’m beginning to wonder if I can survive my own determination. It’s an odd type of tiredness I feel, like there’s not enough coffee in the world in the morning, not enough wine in the evening (though I keep that in check, too), and I can’t get to bed early enough. It makes me fully aware of my midlife status, as much as I resent the implication that somehow it’s okay to feel older and therefore weaker. A quick look at the bags under my eyes only confirms the obvious. I’m just not as physically resilient as I once was, and taking care of myself is more critical to my well-being and my ability to handle life’s demands.

I checked in with my best girlfriend, and she assures me that things will calm down when he gets a bit older – say, four. By that time, my son will be done with the odd napping and the teething and at least some of the tantrums (not to mention being potty-trained). I’ll probably be more intellectually tired then, but that seems more doable. In the meantime, I guess yoga is my second best friend. I’m in it for the long haul.