There’s Beauty in the Breakdown


The days seem to be going by so fast and yet I do nothing. I accomplish nothing. Our dishwasher broke a couple of weeks ago, so I guess doing the dishes accounts for more of my time now, but I think it’s a bit outrageous to think that it makes up about 50% of my time. But then there’s laundry, feeding the baby, feeding myself and changing the baby one hundred times a day.

Being a stay at home mom/housewife really isn’t what I thought it would be. I’m sure that will change once Marigold gets older, but really–years ago when I imagined being a housewife I figured I’d be smoking pot all day doing crafts and cooking, mixed in with sunny day trips to the park and settling down to cocktails in the evening by candlelight. Not so, my friends, not so.
The weather has been horrible, and I get it, April Showers bring May flowers, but really…this has been ridiculous. Who really wants to go out in the rain, especially with a baby? So I’ve been pretty much stuck inside, getting out when I can, which hasn’t been often. And yet, I’m spending all this time at home and there is still laundry piled on the table downstairs waiting to be put away, the floors still need washing, and the bathroom sink is disgusting. I did, however, manage to wax my eyebrows this morning.
This is so frustrating for me because I’m used to accomplishing so much in a day’s time. And I suppose I could try harder in the evenings when Martin’s home to get all this shit done, but the truth is that Marigold needs to eat almost every hour after 4 o’clock, leaving me drained, literally and figuratively.
I know I AM accomplishing something so great, it just can’t be quantified right now. I have to wait to reap the rewards of a healthy, happy and secure child once she’s older, but for fuck sakes, I just want to cross something off a list!
I have to learn to let go. I have to let go of my daydreams of becoming an excellent seamstress while I’m off on mat leave. I have to let go of my idealistic picture of a gourmet meal on the table waiting for Martin when he gets home each night. I have to let go of the fact that I will not be scrap-booking these baby memories for a couple of hours a day. I have to let go of the idea that I will have it all done by noon and being able to relax for the rest of the day. Oh, and I want to have a beautiful garden, by June. Jesus H, the list keeps growing, and it’s just not going to happen, is it?
AND relationships! God, the only relationship that I maintain with fervour these days aside from Martin and Marigold is my relationship with the internet. Sometimes it’s my only portal to the outside world. My good friends are all still there, but it’s difficult to keep in touch, since most people work during the day–the time when I am available to communicate, since after five I’ve mostly got one hand on the baby and the other on my boob to keep her from getting a black eye.
I fucking hate speaker phone, but now it’s almost the only option. The guilt that I feel for neglecting people is unspeakable! I really just have to accept that I can’t be everything to everybody, and really I can’t guarantee that I can be anything to anyone, since I’m the only thing this tiny little person has for 18 hours a day! My dear friends, don’t take it personally, I’m doing the best I can, and I still love you, and I hope you will be there again when I re-emerge from this lovely pit of baby barf and gummy smiles.
It seems that my priorities have to change, I have to refocus and modify my goals. Short term and long term. Believe me, I’m not complaining. I realize how lucky I am to have such a happy and healthy little girl and a partner who is incredibly supportive who tries to understand how hard this is on me and my body. I write simply to remind myself of this and to keep myself from going crazy. The negativity that I was once so accustomed to sometimes seems like heroin in it’s draw, especially since I’m alone all day.
And it’s all going to change again when I go back to work in approximately two months. Part of me is desperate to get back to it, but the other part of me is wondering how on earth I’m going leave this gorgeous child. Back when I was pregnant Martin and I decided to split the parental leave offered by the government, hoping that it would lead him into being a “stay at home dude” keeping his current position with “work from home” status. Progressive, I know. We figured it was the best option for us, since I’d likely go a bit nuts staying at home all the time. I never once thought about how difficult it would be or how much I’d miss my little girl until now…..
But that’s later. Much later.
Priority One: Let go and enjoy the beauty of it all. Live now, and don’t fret about it until the time comes.
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3 responses

  1. Love your honesty Andrea, keep smiling you are doing an awesome job love you Maureen

  2. Hey Andrea,I know it's hard. When I had Lucas I was going crazy. Even with Nicole the year went by so quick but I felt I had accomplished nothing. They key is not to be so hard on yourself. Pick one thing a day. (like one load of laundry and not all of it)The bottom line is the work will always be there but the moments with the baby are priceless.

  3. Andrea, you continue to amaze me with your giant brain and your eloquence. I have to admit, I felt a lift reading this, coming from you (superwoman). I was a little intimidated by your huge plans and enthusiasm going into motherhood. I thought, shit, maybe I just don't have it together enough. I feel super validated to know that this staying at home with baby thing is a total shift.I've tried to explain to Michael the Bermuda triangle mystery of working all day only to fine nothing is done. Feminists (I believe) coined the term "invisible work". Structure and naps were the only thing that saved me, followed by short stints of daycare. And I can recommend a home care place that is affordable, 3 blocks from you, when you guys are ready – because one person at home HAS to get out alone sometimes or they GO CRAZYYYYYYY (and nothing, I mean nothing, gets done)!Here in Budapest, I am still living the invisible life… My days are: tidy, laundry breakfast, acquire groceries, park, lunch, nap, email banking online, read news, make dinner, get G ready for bed, bed ritual, tidy, go to bed, repeat. I try REALLY hard to get out once a week and DO something with G – like the zoo, or a special walk or something. Anyway, you are doing a great thing – and you get the best of both worlds, in some senses: you get to have the one on one time with MG, and you also get to go back to work where you can be a mom 100% of the time, PLUS a person out there in the world getting 'er done. I'm biding my time until next Feb: when I come back to T.O. I want to be back at work in film graphics full time. Just maybe we can catch up after work sometime for a glass of wine, and laugh about laundry?

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