I don't make New Year's Resolutions. Maybe it's my "naturally defiant" streak (as DH calls it), but if I feel too much pressure to do something, I am less likely to do it. One of my friends said she has never heard me swear more than when I gave it up for Lent years ago. And besides, if I really need to feel inadequate about something, I have plenty of other benchmarks I could use to measure my shortcomings. Hello, pre-twin-pregnancy clothes hanging unworn in my closet! Yes, I do miss having a waist, thanks for asking.
But as this new year begins, I feel something missing in my life that I'd like to reclaim, even though I know it's going to be a long road. Let's not call it a resolution... let's call it a theme. Like "Under the Sea" or "'80s Flashback."
I want -- no, desperately need -- more b a l a n c e.
No, not the balance that would keep me from bumping into walls so often. I don't really know why it tends to happen, and as long as DH doesn't see me do it and try unsuccessfully to stifle a chuckle, it doesn't really bother me too much. I'm not a Rockette, the bruises hide easily enough.
But what I seek is the kind of balance that involves reducing some portion of my focus that is spent on my children (currently 99.9%) and move it back to anything else whatsoever (currently .1%). The year 2010 was entirely devoted to the kids, and mostly the twins at that. Starting on January 4, I spent three months on complete bedrest, living almost every second on my back to keep them healthy. I thank God constantly that that was all it took to arrive at two enormous and healthy boys, but still... it wasn't exactly like reclining on a lounge chair by the pool. And then the next nine months I struggled to care for twinfants plus a toddler. Again, I feel so entirely blessed and love each of them to my absolute core. But that doesn't negate the exhaustion that comes from month after month of frequent night wakings and meeting the ceaseless demands of three small people, even with my super-stellar support system.
I just feel spent. There is little, if anything, left in my personal reserve. I don't mean to sound like a martyr, but last year I sacrificed a lot of myself to care of other people, and I rarely get to take care of myself.
You know, like a martyr.
I subscribe to the theory that when you are a mother, you need to take care of yourself first, your marriage second, and your kids third. Just like when you are on an airplane and there's a loss of cabin pressure, you need to put your own oxygen mask first before assisting those around you. Not to compare motherhood to an aircraft spiraling dangerously out of the sky... but the kidlets did wake me up literally SIX times on Friday night, so yeah, sometimes it does seem that way. Anyway, I just mean that if you are an emotional wreck, and your marriage is in turmoil, the kids are going to suffer. It's okay -- actually, it's necessary and good -- to make sure you are taking the time and energy to keep yourself sane and your relationship with your partner solid. Your kids will benefit not only while they are growing up, but hopefully into adulthood as they start their own families.
But it's easy to pay lip service to the idea of having balance. With two infants and a two year old at home, I'm finding it nearly impossible to actually do it. It is really, really hard for me to leave home during the day right now, because I am trying to maintain the sanctity of nap time for all three of the kids. Dragging both twins out when they are tired in order to participate in an activity for Bean is a recipe for a gigantic family meltdown of epic proportions. When Bean was the twins' age, we would bop all over town in between his snoozes, and I loved connecting with other moms wherever we went. I was energized and honestly the happiest I've been in my life. But now, I find myself retreating into my computer to find any sort of link to the outside world, which isn't really the best thing and doesn't add much to my depleted reserves.
I would love to do something for myself, like hot yoga or read a book or spend a Saturday shopping with my mom. But DH works long hours, and because I'm still nursing the twins frequently, it's difficult to leave them for any significant period of time. Sadly, my plan for balance in 2011 does include weaning them after their first birthday in April. I will miss the bonding, but I am really burned out and looking forward to letting some real cows do the hard work from then on. I'm also hoping that weaning will help them sleep better at night. I believe that is one of my biggest obstacles to having balance: I am desperate for more sleep. The extended sleep deprivation has me very worn out. Even if I had the time and babysitters to go shopping with my mom, my body would rather just blob around on the couch. Bean didn't sleep through the night until he was 14 months old, but the twins are waking more often than he did at this age. It's killer.
Anyway, I suppose this turned into a big poor-me rant. But that's not what I intended. I just hoped to honestly share how much this past year has kicked my butt. I wouldn't give up my family for anything, but it has not been easy to get where we are. I am hoping that the hardest is behind us, and maybe I can rejoin the world again soon.
I'd love to hear your thoughts... did you ever find your life sliding so hard in one direction that you had to put on the brakes and realign? How did you do it?