I've taken a step back from blogging lately. Actually, I've taken a step back from nearly everything, including reading, housework, and even taking pictures.
I am exhausted.
My baby is generally a good baby, but she has been putting me through the ringer lately. She's nearing a year old, and some days still decides that she wants to be very awake at 5am. I have a rule that our day cannot officially "start" until 6:30am, so on those days it seems I end up rocking/nursing her in the glider, praying that she'll go back down. She'll be almost asleep, and then once I put her back in the crib, she pops up to pull up on the crib and starts screaming her little baby head off. Crocodile tears and all. Some days it takes me 45 minutes to get her down for a nap, and then she only naps for 20 minutes. That's about enough time for me go to the bathroom and eat a snack.
This lack of sleep affects me so much mentally and emotionally. I usually break down at some point on those days. I want to be there playing with her, but those days I just lie on the side of the couch lazily watching her bang a block against the coffee table. Sometimes I pitch a fit to B about it the second he walks in the door.
And then I feel guilty. Guilty about how messy our bathroom is, even though I have no energy to clean it. Guilty about not singing or even talking to my little girl when I know she loves hearing my voice. Guilty about counting down the days until I start mommy-led weaning. Guilty about asking my husband for help in the middle of the night even though he works his butt off to support us. Guilty that I fantasize about dropping her off at her Grandma's for the weekend so I can get some decent rest. Guilty that in my angry fits, I am unjustly accusatory of my husband.
I know many people would tell me to remember that "this too shall pass." But the fact that I only have one child right now and know that I will have at least one more in the future doesn't make that statement very easy to digest. Yes, it will pass, but then I'll just have to do it all over again while dealing with a toddler-energy-ball. I have actually had dreams that I was pregnant again already, and in all of those dreams I was not happy about it. At all. Cue more guilt.
All of this is weighing down on me, causing me to not enjoy this Advent or even look forward to Christmas. I have hardly bought any gifts for family members, and haven't even put a card in the mail for my nephew's birthday which is in two days. It's not just physical, though. My heart has yet to "prepare the way of the Lord," and it has become just another season to get through until the weather warms up/my baby weans/B's job gets less busy. I realize that some of this is due to being in a new town and not having any mommy friends yet. I also realize that this is my first foray into full-time SAHM-hood, as I had to part with my fantastic and flexible part-time volunteer job once we left Florida. I realize that I should probably just give myself a break somehow, swallowing my pride to call one of B's aunts to help me out on occasion.
But yesterday, I forced myself to nap while baby was napping (thankfully, a long one). After he got home from work, B and I went to the gym together, dropping baby off into the capable hands of the Y's child watch. We lifted weights, spotting and encouraging each other through bench presses and barbell squats, and I remembered that our marriage is first, always. I love those gym dates. I also found the strength yesterday to get down on the floor and really play with Cora. Something I did caused her to emit her big, deep belly laugh. I hadn't heard that laugh in a while, and it came back as a reminder that sometimes, just sometimes, motherhood is a job that smiles back at me. I just have to let it.