Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Making Mama Moment: Admitting I Need a Break

Really for the first time in my last two years of motherhood, I finally admitted to myself and Michael that I just needed a break.  Like most working mothers, I've always seen work as my "me time" and could never understand why Michael felt he needed self time outside of that.  At work I get adult conversation, stimulating problem solving, and time outside of the house (granted dealing with the public can be a lot like dealing with toddlers - they're stubborn, don't always make sense, and yell for no reason.  But in general, I have pretty great patients and I enjoy seeing them when I'm there).  I've always loved that my schedule also gives me entire days off with Annalyn, so it's like having the best of both worlds.  But in reality, that just doesn't exist.  When I'm at work, I feel guilty that I'm away from her and not home to cook/eat dinner every night with my family.  When I'm at home, I have days that I get frustrated and overwhelmed and oh so tired, then I feel guilty for wishing I could have a break from her when I was just wishing the opposite 12 hours ago.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely cherish my days with her.  In fact, I miss our Mama-Peanut alone time over Michael's breaks, despite the amazing family time that we get. 

But now that she's mastered the art of fit-throwing, learning to use the potty (yet refusing to go #2 on the potty most days), testing me at every turn, and absolutely demanding every single second of my undivided attention, I just get tired.  Tired of being unable to meet her ridiculous demands that cause the fits (one last week was initiated by me making toast for myself... "no!! Mama doesn't like toast!"  Seriously?).  Tired of not being able to even figure out why she's throwing a fit.  Tired of having no "safe" spot for anything now that she's figured out how to manipulate her environment to reach just about everything in the house (including opening doors, climbing my drawer pulls, using chairs/stools/toys as ladders, and jumping over the couch to evade the baby gates).  Tired of  being stuck in the house because it's been so incredibly COLD this winter.  Tired of how guilty I feel for getting so frustrated by the end of the day when I know I won't see her until basically bedtime the next day.

Sure, I could blame the hormones and I'm sure they have a lot to do with the tired feeling, too, but a lot of it is just the fact that Annalyn and I are so similar.  We are both very obsessive, like to get our way, know exactly what we want, and figure out how to get it at all costs.  Someday, I'll probably admire some of those qualities in her.  But for now, they make for one exhausting two year old!  My mother insists that she'll grow out of it just like I did, but even she admits that Peanut may have even more stamina than I did at that age.  Now, don't get me wrong - Annalyn and I have lots of good days together, too.  Lately she takes most of her afternoon naps snuggled up with me on the couch.  She helps me make lunch and dinner, and loves to go to doctors' appointments and run errands with me.  We play with baby dolls and her play kitchen.  I paint her toenails and style her hair to match mine.  Deep down, I think we both sense that her time as an only child is about over and we are eating up every second of it.

On the flip side, I'm preparing for bringing another baby into our family.  I find myself thinking things like "how am I ever going to divide my attention when she insists on having it all the time?" and "she needs to learn to cope now before Emelina gets here." And boy, do I remember how much time/energy newborns take!  In reality, we will all have to adjust in good time and be thankful for lots of help/support when the time comes if we need it.  It's just what expecting mamas do - we plan ahead.  And thanks to my newfound nesting instinct, I've been in super-obsessive planning/organizing/stressing mode.  Which brings me to my point - I needed a break.

So I made the hard-for-me decision to ask our babysitter to come for a few hours on one of my personal days so I could just have some Ashley time - not Mama time, not pharmacist time, Ashley time.  I can rationalize it to myself because it's not cutting out any of the time I'd normally have with her - it's time I'd normally spend at work.  Michael's never been so supportive as when I mentioned that I was thinking about doing it.  He absolutely agreed that I needed it.  Even if it was to just go to a Starbucks, order a venti decaf white mocha and knit for a couple hours (since I've been really worried about not having time to finish Emelina's baby blanket - guess who's jealous of that now that she knows it's for tummy baby?).   So here I am at Starbucks, just sitting.  Not entertaining Annalyn as she tries to escape her chair or protecting my drink from her ever-increasing reach.  Not rushing to eat before the next patient walks up and needs my attention.  Not answering phones while trying to swallow.  Not trying to manage two windows, a drive-thru, and three phone lines all at once.  Just sitting and sipping my drink, blogging without guarding my keyboard, and trying to get motivated to knit while I have the chance.  Before this, I met a friend for brunch and some much-needed girl talk, and next I'm getting groceries in peace in preparation for our BFF visit this weekend.  Yes, it was hard for me to admit to myself that I needed this.  But yes, it was good for me, too.  Because like my dear hubby reminded me, I'm still Ashley, a person outside of being a mother and a wife and a pharmacist.  Obviously those are huge parts of who I am and I can't just turn them off, but it's ok to physically and emotionally take a break from it all to just relax.  Hopefully this will get me one step closer to learning to ask for help when I need it.  If not, I bet the newborn/jealous two year old combo will do the trick here in a few months!

Hope you all can take some time this week just for yourselves.  Even if it's just for an hour or two to run errands or check in with a friend.  I must say, it's really been helpful for me! 

Happy Friday, everyone!




  1. I can relate to the second paragraph pretty much exactly, though some of the behaviors are the same as my 18 month old and some are the same as the four year old.

    It took me about four minutes to read this post. I know that b/c I started the timer at the beginning when Theo tried to discipline Eli and the timer just went off for his timeout to be over. And Eli is standing on a stool beside me trying to make popcorn on the stove. He really, really likes to help in the kitchen lately, whether I'm in there or not. Which means no more long-simmering recipes for us right now. Someone told me the other day that her's always seem to go through moody stretches right after their birthdays, so hopefully that is part of A & T's issues. Hopefully this will pass soon!

    I found the second time around soooo much easier, but maybe that was just in E's temperament. Hopefully your E will be a sweet second child who can just go with the flow too.

    1. Yes, I am definitely hoping for an Eli-tempered baby! I love Annalyn's spunk, but it sure tests me these days. Thanks for the support, glad to know it's not just us! ;)