That's how I've been feeling lately. Like I am constantly moving, but never making progress. Every day am busy with various child and home related tasks. But as the day comes to a close, I have little to show for my efforts other than the fact that my child is alive and my family is fed. Not that those are nothing, life at home with an infant does not lend itself to tangible results. As soon as one task is complete, another takes its place. My daily activities are on a never-ending cycle.
Put diapers in washer. Hang out to dry. Stuff diapers. Put away. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Nurse child, change him, feed him solids, clean him (and the mess he made), put him down for a nap. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Wash dishes. Make lunch. Wash dishes. Eat a snack. Wash more dishes. Make dinner. Wash more dishes as I cook dinner. How are there still more dishes?! (Henry even does the dishes after dinner, yet I feel like all I do is wash dishes all.day.long. Such is life sans dishwasher...)
I am am trying to carve out slices of time each day to do things I want to do, for me. Writing more, for one. Things that bring me back to who I was before I was a mom and make a bridge to who I will become. But little slivers of time are all I can seem to grasp before they slip away and I am called to a more pressing task.
Last week I woke up at 5:30 a.m. when I had to feed HP. Instead of going back to sleep until he woke up for the day at 8 a.m., I used that time for me. It was glorious--two hours of reading, writing, drinking tea, and being alone with my thoughts. The only problem? My sanity was quickly slipping away by 8 p.m. I need a lot of sleep. It is a rare night that I am up past 9:30 p.m. A 5:30 a.m. start was too early for me to arrive at the end of the day feeling calm, collected, and in control of my life.
I recently finished Barbara Kingsolver's newest novel Flight Behavior. As I was reading, a statement struck me with its truth: "Being a stay-at-home mom was the loneliest kind of lonely, in which she was always and never by herself." Exactly. I have few moments of connections to other adults, yet I also have little time to myself.
HP's infancy is such a small, small part of my life. If I tried to portray this time as pure drudgery, loneliness, and exhaustion I would not be being honest. It brings me so much joy to watch him learn and grow. At the end of the day I do have something to show for my effort--a happy, healthy, growing child. But I also would not be being honest if I did not acknowledge how challenging I find it. Washing dishes for the sixth time of the day often does feel like drudgery. It is lonely to have such limited adult interaction. I am exhausted after months of sleep deprivation.
I may feel like I am living life on a treadmill, but hopefully in the process I am building the endurance and strength that will help me on the next leg of my journey--wherever it takes me.