A thousand words

I took this picture this morning.

It is of Spud and Pea, both snoozling this morning, both their heads on my shoulder. Spud has a snoozy half smile on his face.

I know you can’t see it, I knew it wouldn’t work when I took it, the room was very dark. I had to try.

I have been having a Hard Time, mostly because I refuse to let go the “I can do it all, be everything” and just exist in this moment of mild chaos. I feel I am failing at most of my roles, or squeaking by with the bare minimum. I feel I shortchange Spud for work, my graduate student for Spud, Pea for both work and Spud. Myself, most of all (so much so that I’m adding this sentence as an afterthought while proofing this entry. Oh right, me.).

I try to fix things with Spud, not ever sure if something is actually wrong, if he is delayed, or if I’m an insufferable fix-it. I worry. It is normal to worry, but I manufacture things to worry about. I think: maybe they are real.

This morning, I snapped this picture of my perfect world, to remind me how perfect it is, chaos and all. Shortly after, Spud woke up and rooted around, farting continuously and noisily. Pea and I laughed and cheered him on. We all got up for the day.

2 thoughts on “A thousand words

  1. Turia

    The phase you are in right now is so, so, so hard, and it is made much harder by the fact that you have to try to keep things ticking over with your work.

    It is going to get easier. It does. It really does. Spud will (eventually) sleep better and you will feel more settled and your brain will come back.

    But the pull that you are feeling right now, the yank in too many directions, the butter scraped over too much bread? That is not going to go away for a long time, if ever. Because the inescapable truth is you have a child and you have a demanding job and you have a partner and you have an extended family and you have friends and you have you (yes! always last!), etc. etc.
    There will never be enough time to do everything you want to do well (or to do everything at all).

    On balance it gets easier, especially when they are in school and you can do things like go out for lunch with Pea (which I highly recommend as the best kind of date ever because it feels so luxurious to be sitting on a patio in the middle of a work day plus you don’t need a babysitter), but there are still going to be days where you get a call from the school that Spud has thrown up or has lice and Pea has a big team meeting and you have an invited speaker coming but someone has to pick Spud up. Or even just the regular days where you both really could use a few more hours at work to finish something but someone has to make dinner and someone has to do bedtime and the garbage has to go out and the dishwasher didn’t get unpacked, etc. etc.

    It is one big juggling act, and I don’t know if fathers feel the pull the same way mothers do or if they are better at compartmentalizing or better at not carrying guilt or better at not thinking about the little details (like when will you find the time to buy Spud new shoes for school and when is the doctor’s appointment and did we sign all the forms for the field trip)- probably because, in my experience, it is almost always the mother who carries that unseen organization.

    I wish I could say it gets easy, but it does and it doesn’t. You stop being so tired and you start to have more time for yourself again, but that fundamental tug-of-war between child and job is always going to be there. All you can do is figure out as early as you can what are the hills you are willing to die on, and try to let as much of the rest go as you can. Otherwise the guilt will crush you.

  2. Jill

    I second everything Turia said! And add, that no, fathers do not spend their time or thoughts organizing things before they happen. My husband is a great father and he does a lot more than some fathers, but it is me who knows the kids shoe sizes, figures out what time they need to have their snack and still get to swimming lessons, and notices we are out of toothpaste! He still put the wrong socks on the wrong kid so often! (It’s pretty obvious which sock belongs to each child, they have very different sized feet). I read somewhere the term Default Parent, and essentially this is it. I’m not sure when it got easier, but it did. My prioritizing and time management might not be perfect, but most of the time things get done. And I’ve learned that a lot of things aren’t as important as I might have once thought.

    You have a lot on your plate and you are doing a great job! You feel this guilt (mom guilt) about not giving everyone 100%, but it may only be you that sees this. They might all believe they are getting your all!


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