Archive for November, 2012

Now that I’ve been back to work for a full month, I’m starting to feel like I’m settling into a bit of a routine.  Mornings are still batshit insane and incredibly stressful, but I think that’s probably unavoidable.  I end up yelling at H a lot in the morning, and he gets kind of sullen, then I feel guilty, and everyone has a wonky start to the day.  But DUDE, PUT YOUR FUCKING SHOES ON THE FIRST TIME I ASK!!!!”

He’s only 4, I need to remind myself of this.  But also, he’s 4, so he needs to get with the program.

The pumping is going fine…it’s a chore, but it’s a chore I’ve gotten used to.  I have plenty of milk, and I’m not worried about running low.

Work itself is good.  I’m learning a lot, I feel challenged, I’m kept on my toes.  I like the people I work with.  I will admit, though, that how I feel at the end of the work day varies greatly from one day to the next.  Some days I feel very competent and that I made a good choice about where I am working and what I am doing.  Other days I have intense anxiety and intrusive thoughts about not being smart enough, not being capable, etc.  I know a lot of this is normal anxiety that anyone might experience in a relatively new job after a long hiatus from work.  I also know a lot of this is probably attributable to the chronic sleep deprivation that’s been going around our house.  The last time E slept through the night was the beginning of October, and before that, it was sometime during the summer.  He gets really worked up if I don’t go in and nurse him every time he wakes up.  One night recently he was up 6 times before 9:30PM.  I thought I was going to die.

I’m getting really frustrated with it.  I remember H was a terrible sleeper too, and I know that he outgrew it eventually, but geez, I’m tired NOW, and I’d like a reprieve from this NOW.  And the thing is, I’m not even being unrealistic about it.  I EXPECT one or two awakenings per night.  I don’t mind one or two awakenings, and I can generally function pretty well after one or two sleep interruptions.  But this constant getting in and out of our bed, laying on the floor with E, putting him in our bed, rocking him, nursing him, God knows how many times per night.  I don’t even count anymore.  It feels like I’m trying to put him to sleep all night long.  Probably because I am.

One of the worst parts about the sleep deprivation is the physical pain that my body is in.  I end up sleeping in really weird positions, usually with my neck bent down and my back arched to try to nurse E.  And so my neck and shoulders hurt all the time.  I haven’t been able to turn my head all week.  When I back out of the driveway, I have to ask H: “Hey little guy, do you see any pedestrians, animals, motor vehicles or children on bikes??”  You think I’m kidding.

This will pass.  It will.  I do love my 22-lb, 7-month old E.  He is lovely, snuggly, and sweet, even if he’s a shitty sleeper.

On the agenda for the weekend:  sanding, priming and painting the bathroom; holiday picture self-portraits; dinner with friends on Saturday, lunch with friends on Sunday, and hopefully, some fucking sleep.

First week back

The end of this week marks my first week back to work.  It turns out I did have a job to go back to, and I was welcomed back eagerly by all.  My boss was having issues with e-mail when I was trying to contact her earlier this fall, which explains why I didn’t hear from her after sending her so many messages.

I felt very free to be at work— able to drink water as I worked, use the bathroom when I needed to, and eat lunch when I was hungry.  The work is challenging, and I will have to work hard to make progress, but that is what I want…I *want* a challenge.   The tough part about going back to work is getting out the door in the morning—-I found myself having to brush my teeth while feeding the baby, reading journal articles while quickly eating my breakfast, pumping breastmilk while talking E out of a hissy fit, showering while settling a sibling dispute.  I had to ask H to put on his socks no fewer than 27 times before finally getting out the door.  But once we were out the door, and H was dropped off at school, my day began and I could relax a bit during my commute into town.

The best part of the day by far was coming home to a very happy Emery, who clearly had a wonderful day with my beautiful neighbor who is taking care of him during my absence.  On Monday night, I cuddled E like I had never cuddled him before, kissing his smooth forehead, stroking his downy baby hair, and breathing in his light baby scent.  After a full day of work, I felt refreshed and relaxed and ready to shower both of my boys with the love and adoration they deserve.

I know I desperately needed this time away.  I think I’ve been chronically sleep-deprived and socially isolated.  And going back to work was exactly what I needed to make me feel more connected to other people.  As for the sleep,  I’ll get more eventually.  I know enough about kids and babies to know that you can try your hardest to get them to sleep well at night, and if they’ve made up their minds that they’re not going to be consistent sleepers, then there’s really nothing you can do about it except wait for them to outgrow it.  H didn’t sleep through the night consistently until he was about 3, and even now at 4.5, he still wakes up in the middle of the night on occasion.  And this past week, it seems he’s been up every night due to nightmares, but what can anyone really do about that?  The other challenge with going back to work is the absolute necessity of staying on top of the pumping.  E is PLOWING through his frozen milk supply in a big way.  In a single day, he goes through 3 bags of frozen milk, plus a bottle of freshly pumped milk.  So, if I want to keep my supply up and meet my goal of nursing E for a full year, I’m going to have to pump at least once each day, every day, for the next 5 months.  A little daunting, so I think I need to cut myself some slack in some key areas.  First, I need to let go of some of the housework.  I had been really staying on top of the housework—the laundry was done in its entirety twice each week, the shower and tub were cleaned each week, the whole house mopped each week, rooms vacuumed twice each week, etc.  The house was cleaner than it had ever been.  But this is just not sustainable with all of the pumping and working I have to do.  So, I’ll probably commit myself to a more relaxed cleaning schedule to see if that alleviates some of the pressure.  The other thing I want is to commit to doing something nice for myself once each month.  I actually already started this earlier in the fall because I really felt like I needed something to look forward to.  So in September, I got my hair cut.  I know that sounds like not much of splurge, but I choose to get my hair cut by a stylist who knows how to deal with curly hair, and it tends to be a little bit pricier than a run-of-the-mill haircut.  Last month I bought myself some fancy facial cleanser that I lurve.  And this month, who knows….maybe I’ll really splurge and get a facial.  The idea is that I do something for myself that gives me something to look forward to.  Tonight when I am done blogging, I’m going to paint my toenails.  Just so I feel like I’m taken care of.  The other thing I want to do is exercise more.  I REALLY need to ease into it.  I’ve been seeing the chiropractor regularly for my hip pains, and at this point, I can do some very light running.  I might ease into a slow half mile run over this weekend.  That would be nice to have that activity back in my life.

All in all, a solid start back to work, although I will need to tweak and experiment to get the balance right.