It's kind of the cliche thing to say when you're a mom. We joke about wanting to be alone, eat alone, pee alone, stroll the aisles of Target alone. Sometimes when Brett comes home at the end of a long day with the kids, I beg him for just twenty minutes of silence in the bedroom. The second he obliges, I step into my oasis---the room with the unmade bed and floor littered with clothes. It might as well be Jamaica. Those twenty minutes are never enough.
While I felt this burning desire to be alone after long days with just one kid, I have felt the urge more often with two. Every day it feels like twice as much energy is being spent. There is twice as much crying, and sometimes the naps don't overlap. I am picking up both kids several times a day, in and out of carseats and on and off of toilets and in and out of bathtubs. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been to the gym since having Carson, and yet the baby weight is melting off my body like ice cream sitting in the sun. Who needs to exercise when you can just care for two kids all day and breastfeed around the clock?
Carson isn't taking a bottle, and I'm breastfeeding every three hours. I have a freezer full of pumped breastmilk that more often than not, gets defrosted and heated and reheated before swirling down the kitchen sink. If I dare to leave the house for the night, he simply waits for me. Maybe he'll entertain an ounce or two, but he's stubborn like me and will wait four, even five hours to get the real deal.
And while my momma ego soars knowing that he wants me and only me, this attachment is also slowly breaking my spirit. I feel anxious leaving the house. I plan every outing around his feeding schedule, feeling the daily pressure of feeding my five month-old twelve pound baby who isn't even on the growth chart. I reassure myself: If he's really hungry, he'll eat. I know this. He won't starve, technically. But still---no pep talk can fully rid my mind of worry when I am away for too long. I worry about him and I worry about whoever is caring for him. Is he screaming? Are tears streaming down his face at this very moment?
It's hard to enjoy time alone when these thoughts are in your head.
After five months of this---of caring for two young children, of nursing every 2-3 hours, of being responsible for them every day, I feel the weight of it catching up to me. I'm starting to feel claustrophobic in my own life, slightly trapped, unable to breathe. I feel guilty even writing these words because I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is the very best way to be trapped, to be stuck in a box with these two beautiful children who I love more than life itself.
I've never been a very good runner. To be honest, I just hate running. Nothing about it appeals to me. I hate feeling out of breath, I hate being super sweaty. I don't like the way everything....bounces.
Oddly enough, after having Carson, I have found myself somewhat regularly craving a good run. Sometimes I just want to go outside and run as fast as I humanly can. I want to feel my feet hit the pavement, the breeze through my hair. I want to feel like I'm flying. I just want to feel.....free. I want to feel alive and free and remember what it feels like to just be me. To have my whole body to myself. I want space. I want to be alone with my thoughts and remember who I am outside of being a mom.
My birthday is this Friday. Rather than ask for new shoes or a new piece of jewelry (all gifts that would have been graciously accepted), I have asked for the gift I think I really need right now: a day to be alone.
It sounds selfish, and awkward, to ask for a day away from the people who love you most so that you can celebrate yourself, by yourself. But if I'm being really honest, it's what I want.
I want to go to a yoga class and focus on my breath and thank God for a body that can bend all different ways. I want to get a pedicure and read a magazine and do that thing I have practically forgotten how to do: relax. I want to sit at a coffee shop and write without worrying about running out of babysitting hours. I want to welcome the age of 29 with the focus it deserves and set some goals for my last year of being a twenty-something. I want to go shopping and try things on in a real dressing room---shorts and swimsuits and a new dress, perhaps. I want to get my eyebrows waxed and treat myself to a new tube of mascara. I want to finish the night off with good food and good cocktails with good friends who are also enjoying a break from their kids. I want to laugh. I want to feel rested. I want to feel like I've gotten a real break. I want to escape the boogers and diapers for a day and give myself the opportunity to actually miss my kids.
Just one day---12 hours, to myself. Even if that means I have to swing by the house every 3 hours to feed my baby, which is the arrangement we've made for the day. That's the thing about being a mom: no matter how selfish you try to be, even on your own special day, they still come first. And really, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy birthday to me.