Hanging onto Me

28 May

I know it’s a given, but it is sort of unbelievable how life changes when you have a child.  Everyone tells you that it will happen, that your life will be unrecognizable, but you can’t truly comprehend it until it happens.  I had picturesque visions of continuing on just as we always had the day we brought Chloe home.  Reality hits hard though (or maybe it’s just sleep deprivation).

You read a lot about Mommy guilt in relation to the way we parent.  I’m not paying enough attention to my kid.  I have to go back to work.  I can’t afford such and such toy.  Whatever.  What I haven’t read much about is feeling guilty for missing parts of one’s life before children.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want my life to be any different now.  Chloe brings such joy to me everyday.  Things are just different than they were before (duh).  I know that our lives will never be the same, but my goal is to try to (re)incorporate some of the things we love to do together, alone and now, as a family of three, back into our lives.

Walks.  I’ve been trying to get Chloe on a nap schedule and therefore, have been avoiding walks.  She always falls asleep in the stroller if we walk more than 30 minutes so I’ve been skipping them.  I think early morning walks will be best for us because of the heat that comes in the afternoon.  Maybe she won’t go to sleep if she’s just woken up for the day?  This is something that Hunter and I have always loved doing together and I want Chloe to enjoy it too.

Running.  I am a runner who never runs anymore.  Since Chloe won’t take a bottle I’ve let myself make excuses about running.  The truth is that it’s hard to get back out there.  Chloe isn’t going to starve to death, especially now that she’s spaced her feedings out more.  My goal is to run at least three days a week if possible.  Sometimes Hunter will be at work and the stars won’t align, but I’m going to try.

Movies. We have a ton of movies at our house and have always loved curling up on the couch with one.  Now that we’re both tired all of the time, we’re more likely to fall asleep on the couch watch a short TV show before bed.  I know we might not be able to go to theater as often as we used to but we can certainly stay up past our insanely early bedtime and watch a movie together once in a while.

Writing.  I’m doing a lot more of this now that I started the blog, but I had started a book when I was pregnant and just stopped.  It’s what I love and I need to do it more often.

Reading.  Now that she’s napping in her crib (although for very short periods of time), I have time to do a little reading.  I’m too tired at night and end up falling asleep, but I need to set aside time to do it during the day.

Cooking and baking.  These are other things I love to do.  I’m doing them now, but not enjoying them.  I’m always concerned with the next naptime or feeding and don’t let myself relax and have fun.

Socializing.  Having a baby can be isolating.  It’s hard to leave the house especially when they’re small because you need so many things.  Or they’re crying.  Whatever.  It’s just hard.  Not to mention that I’m a total control freak and have a hard time letting people do things for me (like watch my child).  I need to do things with and without Chloe and become a normal human again.  I’ve always been a homebody, but I need to find Mommy friends and keep in contact with my other friends.

There are many other things, but the moral of this story is that I need to keep myself in tact while still being a Mom.  I honestly didn’t know how hard it was going to be.  Doing these things and feeling more like myself isn’t only important for me, but for the example that I’m going to set for her.  Happy Momma equals happy baby (and vice versa).

How do you find the time and energy to hang onto yourself while putting your all into motherhood?

I’ll have lots of pictures of little Miss Chloe tomorrow!


3 Responses to “Hanging onto Me”

  1. Chara Larkin May 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    I know how hard it is. Everything changes so drastically. Everything is more complicated. Gone are the days of spontaneity. Your life no longer revolves around doing what you want to do when you want to do it. Even if you’re a pretty unselfish person, it’s hard to adjust to having to feed your baby before you can eat a meal you prepared, having to plan every time you want to go on a date with your husband, stop watching a TV show to change a diaper and/or grab a baby for a feeding, not really being able to focus on conversations with your husband and other people because you’re feeding the baby, having to get a babysitter just to go grocery shopping and run other errands, etc. I try to do things I need to do in-between feedings. We try to go on a date once a week or once every few weeks. Matt’s mom watches Peyton for us when she’s able to. I’m trying to work on spending time in prayer and reading the Word more. It’s not easy, but it still needs to be part of my life.

  2. Debra Paessler May 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Oh, dear. It is so difficult. Learn from my mistakes and get someone to watch her for a bit…..even just an hour so that you can breathe. The good news is that I survived and my son is pretty wonderful. But I failed at taking care of myself when he was tiny. And I paid the price. Mwah! All the best in this glorious and overwhelming time.


    • Leslie May 29, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks, Deb! I’m glad I’m not the only one who can’t seem to leave their child’s side. I’m working on it though.

      Side note: You need to come over one night with Ross when we have a fire! Wine will definitely be involved.

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