Monday, June 23, 2014

Mommy Mondays: The New Normal

I am a creature of habit. I like routines and schedules. I love lists and plans. I can roll with the punches pretty well when things go awry, but the idea of things going awry stresses me out. John likes to call me a catastrophizer. I believe I inherited this from my mother. Thanks, Mom.

After Baby Will was born, my routine was obviously thrown out the window along with the notion of sleep. Newborns don't have schedules, unfortunately, and when you add a move into the mix? Forget about it. But now that he's 8 weeks old, I figured it was time to get some kind of order into my life. John returned to Russia a little over a week ago, and while I may be ready to kill myself every evening around, say, 7:00 pm, I find it slightly easier to stay organized since I have one less person to take into account. One of my main goals was to start working out again. I even purchased a crappy but functional treadmill from Craigslist before John left.

And then life happened. On the day John was leaving I got my second nasty cold since Will was born (my immune system sucks these days). I also got mastitis. If you've had it before, you know how awful it is. The best way to treat it is to stay in bed and nurse frequently. This doesn't work so well when you have to drive your husband to the airport an hour away, you've got an appointment to buy a stroller off of someone, and you have no one to take care of your four-year-old. Enter antibiotics. I'm sure my immune system will be even more pathetic now.

So today I finally got on the treadmill. And you know what I discovered? I'm completely, woefully out of shape. Granted, I haven't worked out in nearly a year, but my days of running twenty miles a week seem far out of reach. After Jack was born I signed up for a marathon. I knew that was unrealistic this time, so I signed up for a fun ten-miler instead. But with just over three months to train for it and no help with the two kids, I'm actually a little worried. I keep waiting for things to return to normal - my writing, my blogging, my exercising, my sleep, my poor stretched-out abdominals - and I'm realizing that "normal" no longer exists. My life will never be what it was before, at least not until the kids are in school full time. And by then I'm afraid it will be far too late for my abs.

This week I've decided to come up with a new definition of normal. My plans and goals have to shift with my priorities. No more working out six days a week. I'll take three. No more blogging four days a week. I'll settle for once. I knew I wouldn't have time to write after the baby was born, but I think it's reasonable to send out a few queries every week for the book I finished right before he was born. I'll take short cuts wherever I can get them (I'm buying a dust pan specifically for the clean up of Legos, for example). And I'll try to remind myself every day that the only person who cares if I wear makeup or make my me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, another EFM here. I have commented a few times in the past but felt compelled to respond today. It might sound silly coming from someone you don't know but I think it is important you realize exactly how awesome you are right now. I can not imagine how stressful it must be to look after a newborn and a toddler alone. I can barely handle my 10 month old son and I have a spouse and a nanny to help me. Do what you need to do to survive at this point and don't worry about anything else. While a new baby is a wonderful blessing it also comes with the realization that your life has changed dramatically and it is normal to mourn that loss. I hope you are able to find things that make you happy during this crazy transition. I hated being told this when my son was really young but (as you already know) it really does get easier with time. I hope you get to feeling better soon.

- A fellow foreign service parent