For the first time I can remember, I have Spring Fever. I usually hate Spring because it feels like a dreadful reminder that summer is just around the corner, and that means hot sticky weather. These days, I long for spring and warm days to be able to get out of the house with both the kids and play in the yard, go to the park, or just do some errands. I think if I could do those things I wouldn’t be feeling so…scattered.
Scattered is exactly how life feels these days…and it seems to be lingering about like a chronic condition. It is currently 2:30 in the afternoon. Dear Daughter just got settled for her nap a few minutes ago. It’s late to begin “naptime” for her, but as I’ve mentioned before, naptime is really a misnomer anymore. I just continue to keep it in the daily schedule so that Dear Daughter will stay accustomed to having it. I need her naptime like a long thirsty drink in the dog days of summer. It’s my revival time each day. I usually try to get her down for “naptime” by 1:00 or 1:30 these days, but things are just so…scattered. The days have grown long and boring…it’s hard to keep a schedule at all anymore when the days just blur together. We don’t get out much anymore—due in part to the challenge of carting around a newborn along with a toddler, and beyond that, the current seasonal temperatures in the 30 degrees rage makes it too cold for me to want to expose Dear Son. Getting out with Zoe had gotten rather simple the last few months before Dear Son was born. I would be sure to take her somewhere every day just to satisfy Dear Daughter’s longing to “go some places.” For the first several weeks after Dear Son was born I couldn’t care less about what was going on in the world outside the walls of my home. I was all about trying desperately to get enough rest so my abdomen would heal after the second round of cutting it open. I was so doped up from lingering pain medication and severe sleep deprivation that simply making a trip up and down the stairs or getting from the couch to the floor to play with Dear Daughter was exhausting and overwhelming. Eight weeks later I am sometimes painfully aware that there is a world outside the walls of my home and it is simply passing me by.
Dear Daughter got up around 8:00 am today, her usual. She was hanging out in her bed reading a book and waiting for me to come get her. She’s never in a hurry (as I described in my recent tirade about “Toddler Time"). Today she decided to skip her morning reading session with me and forgo the “hide and seek” in the blankets game. She was ready to get dressed and go have her usual 2 or 3 bowls of Rice Crispies. However, these days, once I get Dear Daughter dressed for the day it's typically time to change Dear Son again and nurse him before I can get Dear Daughter her breakfast. This usually does not bother her as long as I let the situations have the appearance of dawdling by her own choice. This is not difficult; as long as I am not corralling her or trying to hurry her along, she can find lots of distractions. This morning she decided to “ride” on the glider ottoman in Dear Son’s room while I changed him. She declared the ottoman to be her “pony” and pretended we were at the Stuff-Mart where she gets to ride the mechanical pony at the end of our shopping trip if she is well behaved. She was pleased as could be in her own little toddler world. It was nearly 9:00 before she began her breakfast. The day already felt scattered and off-schedule. While she worked on her first bowl of Rice Crispies, I threw together her favorite muffin mix and put the muffins in the oven. She finished off her second bowl of Rice Crispies before I pointed out to her that it was snowing outside. Of course, this led her into a tearful plea to “go outside.” My heart was torn. I wanted her to go outside and see the snow, which is a rare occurrence this winter, but I couldn’t leave Dear Son inside alone. I made a deal with Dear Daughter (making “deals” is one way I’ve learned to get her to compromise). I suggested that as soon as Zachary fell asleep we would go out to the deck for a few minutes and catch snowflakes and then we would come back in and have a muffin. This met with her satisfaction. She did not argue about coming back in, as she was excited to have a muffin hot from the oven.
By the time all this activity was over, it was nearly 10:00. Dear Daughter wasn’t interested in lunch until 1:00, and lunch happens before naptime. Thus, my long explanation as to why naptime is so late today and how that is contributing to things feeling so scattered.
Then came the next dilemma: how to use the precious time for revival today. A gazillion things ran across my mind and I couldn’t stop chasing them around in my thoughts long enough to figure out which one to latch onto and do. All the while there was the awareness that Dear Son could decide that he did not also want to be asleep during my “revival time.” Instead of wasting minutes debating on what to do with my precious time, I just started doing. I was again struck by how scattered things felt as I dumped a load of laundry in the washing machine and pondered how our dirty laundry could quadruple since adding a single 9 pound person to the family. Then I ran back up the stairs to scrub the hall bathroom. It’s the most used bathroom in the house these days and so the most dirty, and it had a peculiar smell going on that I just couldn’t ignore another day. Then I remembered the Valentine’s Day cards I needed to write so they would be ready to send whenever I can manage to pick up the most recent photos developed at the Stuff-Mart. All at once several more thoughts raced through my mind including a brief consideration of beginning to read a new book that my Dear Mother-in-Law sent me. But then I remembered that I have at least four other books to read that I’ve already started. I considered a couple tasks I need to complete in preparation for returning to work next week, but those were easy to push to the bottom of my thought pile. Then I had another brief argument with myself over whether to attempt to get on the treadmill for some exercise. This recurring argument goes something like this: Voice number one says, “Maybe you should get on the treadmill—after all you’ve been complaining a lot about wanting to get rid of that 20 extra pounds you are sporting since Dear Son came along.” Voice number two replies, “Ugh! By the time I get into my workout clothes I will have 30 minutes to run and then I will have to shower again. During that hour, Dear Son will surely wake up and fuss. He will definitely need to nurse again in the middle of it all, and I may not even get a shower even if I make it through a 30 minute run. That sounds like way too much hassle.” Then voice number one chimes back in, “Yeah, you’re right. Besides, remember how you ran several miles a day several times a week for a good year and only lost two pounds-and then mysteriously gained back four pounds as soon as you stopped running for a few weeks?” There was no more thought put into getting onto the treadmill, but I did ponder for a few minutes the fact that apparently my world had gotten so scattered that even my mental status was splitting and I was now hearing two voices.
I decided to do what I often do to regain my grounding lately: I decided to blog. And as I review the words I’ve spent on this post, it also feels scattered. I know this is just another chapter in life as I know it. I am feeling quite torn. I’m ready to go back to work, especially because it’s on such a limited basis. I think I am returning to only about four clients and I will be starting over to build up my clientele. It’s so hard to work and be a Mommy, and yet I am deeply blessed to not have to choose. I get to be a full time Mommy and work just enough to feel like I’m attached, if only by a thread, to my career. Part of me longs to be able to throw myself into my work. There are conferences and trainings I would love to attend, a past employer has offered me a job opportunity for the fourth time since I left his place of work during my maternity leave with Zoe, and the college keeps asking me to return and teach for them again. I hate turning all those things away, but at the same time I hate to be away from my babies even for the brief time I do spend working. Of course, I would likely also be working on my doctorate degree if I weren’t spending my time being a mommy. I feel sad for brief moments when I think of what I’m turning away, but then I try to remind myself that I don’t HAVE to pick and choose what work I take on; I GET to pick and choose. How many people can say that? I know this time with my babies is precious short. The other stuff may be a good investment of my time, but not a better investment than the two little lives I’ve been blessed to have charge of. And so I spend my current days, mostly confined inside the walls of my warm home. Toys are scattered about, endless piles of laundry tend to be scattered throughout the bedrooms and bathrooms, all my unread books remain scattered throughout the house, and my thoughts remain as scattered as the tasks I manage to complete on my “to-do” list. And yet, as I listen to Dear Daughter singing and talking to herself instead of napping, and I look at Dear Son snoozing peacefully in his bouncy chair, I’m overwhelmed with the realization that regardless of how scattered my thoughts and surroundings feel, my priorities are in perfect order.