I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately. Between late night visits from a toddler who insists on coming to my bedside at least two times a night, a baby dealing with the frustrations of allergies, school, and housework, my normal bedtime has become 1:00 a.m. when the boys are approaching the completion of a sleep cycle and I’ve hit the point where I consider just staying up all night because Connor will be waking me up in an hour or two anyway.
I used to have time to consider what kind of mother I wanted to be. These days, I barely have time to consider breakfast or the dog fur-covered rug that could use a serious vacuuming. My images of being a fit, happy, bouncy mother have been thrown out with Connor’s half-eaten granola bar and swept down the drain with the remnants of Ike’s last bottle. Instead, my day is full of carbo loading, coffee, and late night veggie straw binges. My midsection feels bloated, carrying around the weight that usually rests itself on my shoulders. I’m not unhappy, but I haven’t had time to truly assess my current state in weeks. All I know is that things are off kilter and I bulldoze throuh the day like a marble careening through an old wooden game of Labrynth, sometimes falling in the holes but mostly just just knocking into walls and barely making it around corners. I’ve been able to keep my patience in check for the most part, but it may just be exhaustion disguised as calm parenting.
As I prepare for a weekend away from the boys, I feel torn. I groan about how tired I am and how unhuman being a mother has made me feel these days. But given the chance to be a “regular” human being, an adult away from parenting, I get anxious. Will Ike and Connor be nice to their interim caretakers? Ike just learned how to roll over today; will my parents and sister have to deal with him waking in the middle of the night crying, stuck rolled over onto his soft little frog belly? Will his allergies act up while we’re gone, making him fussy? If I really get down to it, will they think he’s a bad baby and me, in turn, a bad mother? I guess that’s what it all comes down to – will Ike’s baby-ness, be it happy and giggly or fussy and whiny, reflect on how I care for him? God, that’s such a ridiculous question. As Z tries to remind me, he’s a baby. Babies do baby things. Those things can be adorable and heart warming or frustrating and worrisome. Furthermore, will Connor sleep well (that’s a relative term these days) without Z or I in a nearby bed? Will he be waking everyone up crying for us? Hopefully, without us as nighttime distractions, he will sleep soundly after a day of playing and trying to keep up with The Crazies. However, in my absence I can only imagine the worst.
So let me take a breath. This weekend is supposed to be fun and freeing. Am I worried about how interesting I may be around a crowd of individuals, none of whom I’ve ever had to read bedtime stories to? Yup. There, I said it. I’ll just sum up what I could mire myself – and probably several paragraphs – in self-loathing about: Am I an interesting adult since having two kids without talking about kid stuff? I feel like I should wax poetic about that topic and the plight of similarly neurotic mothers like me. But it’s almost by bed time and I have a grown-ups kinda weekend to prepare for. I need all my strength to keep up with the big kids, just like my ‘Rado does.