Ok, here's the thing, I feel very stuck in the mud right now. Not the good kind of mud that people take baths in and it releases all of their toxins or something. The bad mud that is a little too chunky and smelly and might actually be poop, but probably isn't because there is too much of it. It's like that. I feel like I can't quite get anything started, or finished. Change seems impossible. I feel isolated even though I have a great support system. I can't tell if I'm not cutting myself enough slack or if I've cut myself too much. Every day I wake up with renewed optimism for the things I am going to accomplish - learning how to write up appraisal reports for my dad (a long term job goal of mine), write in my blog, read something other than Facebook posts, be the super fun mom and caregiver who plays all the games and sings all the songs, spend quality time with my pets... I'm not trying to get ALL of this done everyday, I'm not insane [yet] but one or two checks in the boxes would be rad. Unfortunately by time my morning coffee wears off I've got the stamina of an unspritely 90 year old and the patience of a feral cat.
My life is full of dirty diapers, mindless tasks, and constant vigilance on people who need a TON of emotional and physical support. Most days it's incredibly overwhelming trying to reconcile this life and also rebuild my sense of identity. I'm also harboring a lot of guilt for 3 reasons.
1) I feel guilty for not being able to come up with the energy I need to be productive and positive. I don't think it's my fault with Roman still not sleeping through the night and continuing to breastfeed I'm sleep deprived and literally drained, but it seems like other people make the same choices and are still able to live their lives.
2) I feel guilty because my negative emotions impact the lives of others. Guess who gets to live with my surly attitude after my caffeine crash? The people I love and care about most. My sister doesn't get the patient, stimulating caregiver she deserves. My husband doesn't get a very supportive (or sometimes very nice) wife. My Nana gets a snappy granddaughter when she's making polite conversation. At least my son should be good because he gets whatever cheer I can muster on even the roughest days.
3) I feel guilty because my life is actually super awesome and I shouldn't get down about it. I'm basically a stay-at-home mom that gets paid for it! My son is always with me and I still get an income. That's like the best of both worlds! Yes, taking care of my sister with her disability is difficult, but the thing is I've had to do that anyway. I have tremendous support from the rest of my family, so basically it's like high school again where I eat all of Mom's food and watch Caitlin while Mom is at work. Only this time I'm not obsessively waiting for Troy to call (just text). Speaking of whom, I have an incredible relationship with my husband. It's not perfect, it gets annoying sometimes, but it's solid and loving and safe. I have a best friend who is inspirational in her optimism and ability to conquer her struggles. I have a house, and a car, and all the running water I could ever want. I'm so lucky to have a wonderful life that it feels ungrateful to have any negative feelings. I'm really not, I truly appreciate everything that I have. It's just still hard sometimes..
I know it will get better. Time will pass, Roman will grow, I'll be released from my post partum funk. I may even look back on this year and only remember how special it is. How incredible it feels to be connected to another person as only a mother can feel towards her baby. Forget the depression and deprivation, in 30 years I'll see nothing but newborn smiles and baby feet. Until then - I'll just be here in the mud with the other buffalo.
At least today I've gotten a box checked on the list. Thank you being here, Strangers. Writing is very therapeutic and it's immensely helpful to process some of these thoughts. As always, I hold out hope that I'll write again soon.
How are you feeling today, Perfect Stranger?