Cue the poor me…just for this post. I gotta vent it out. It’s 9pm on Friday night and both kids are awake. My kids are naturally wired and most people will say it’s my fault because I ran and did Zumba throughout both my pregnancies. I had to put Hudson in his crib and let him crawl around while he stares at me and Juliana is in her crib singing at the top of her lungs. It took her 2 years to be a good sleeper so I can’t complain. She usually sings herself to sleep every night and sleeps almost 11 hours a night. On a few occasions she has nightmares and wakes up violently every 5 minutes screaming about roosters or spiders in her bed from 3-5am. Hudson wants to nurse all night long this particular month and wants to crawl off the bed if he’s not attached to my body. Just go to effing sleep. Pretty please? Don’t get me wrong. I want to fire truck puzzles and nurse and cuddle, but not every second all night long.
I’m a full-time teacher with a behavioral resource room. I get called names and change diapers. I LOVE my kids at work. I have a special place in my heart for them and I get emotional over little gains, but it can be exhausting. Mrs. Coro, Mrs. Coro, Mrs. Coro, Mrs. Coro all day long. I wake up with hardly anytime to brush my hair or teeth while Hudson is crawling around my room with the door shut so he won’t escape. I usually have to wake Juliana up and beg her to come out from under the covers so I can get her dressed. Sometimes she’s naked, sometimes she tantrums because she’s still tired. I rush around getting them both ready. Hudson is still exploring the kitchen and clapping for us. Jules is trying to decide between a turkey and egg sandwich, Cheerios, or granola and it takes her 10 minutes just to do that. She usually refuses to let me brush her hair so I have to creatively distract her with something she likes while the brush gets stuck in her crazy lions mane of hair (kinda like Jess C from college hahaha). She wants the chair pushed in, but now it’s too tight and she wants a different chair and now Hudson is swimming in the dog bowl and trying to eat the dogs food. I finally restrain him in his car seat as I distract him with a weird toy. I’m having heart palpitations because I hate being late to work and realistically, I am late every. single. day. I come rolling into work in my old and dirty Santa Fe, hair hardly brushed, hardly any make up, leggings pretty much every day hiked up over the gullet, and occasionally a cute shirt. By no means do I look like a professional teacher. Maybe a teen mom.
Howie will bring the kids to daycare about 3x a week and I’m not sure he realizes how much that helps me. I can sleep in just a little bit. I have SOME time to get ready and look presentable and I sometimes even have time to get an iced coffee.
I get to work and I try to give the kids 100% because God do they need it. I eat lunch with them. I am with them up until the very end of the day and teachers know, it is mentally and physically exhausting. I am on the computer doing IEPs, emailing parents, having meetings, teaching, managing behaviors, managing behaviors, and managing more behaviors. I won’t go into details, but I really do love my job. I try to put my heart and soul into my students, but damnnnnn it’s so hard to balance out that heart and soul when I need to do the same at home. It’s hard to be on all the time, all day long, all night long.
I almost always pick the kids up at daycare. But right after I get out of work, I try to take about a half hour for me. I either sit in my car and cut my split ends while I listen to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show replay on iHeart radio or I rush home and run on the treadmill in my work clothes and catch up on “This is Us,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Fuller House,” or “The Bachelor” on Hulu or Netflix on my phone. I usually run about 3 miles a day just to bust out the anxiety and release those endorphins. Some days I literally rush home, change into my sneakers, leave my work clothes on, run, wipe off the sweat and spray my hair with dry shampoo, then go pick the kids up at daycare. Heart palpitations kick in again because I hate being late for daycare since sometimes they text me or wonder where I am since I used to get them at 4pm on the dot.
Now it’s about 430 and we get home and unload the car- their art work, lunch boxes, blankets, coats, etc. If I didn’t run before I usually unload quick and go straight downstairs with both kids to pack in 3 anxious miles because Hudson is in his jumper usually fussing because he wants me and Jules is playing in her house and wants me to ring the doorbell and open the door every .25 miles. I’m jumping on and off the treadmill and 3 miles takes a lot longer than I want. This is usually the last resort, but it’s rare that Daddy is ever home right when we get home and if I wait to run, I won’t do it.
I almost always pack lunch for them for the next day after I run (thank you OCD), try to clean the dishes so I can make dinner, play Legos, read books, chase Hudson, take Koko out, finish the laundry, dump it in my room and then obsess over it being all over my floor so I have to bring both kids in our room so I can fold the laundry. My stupid OCD kills me because I can’t stand a messy house. I am trying to be with my kids but staring at the mess in the corner of my eye. Sometimes I just don’t wanna do laundry or dishes or pack their lunch. I have to remember it all because if I forget one thing, the whole night or morning can be ruined…Hudson’s bottle, the nipple, lunch- a veggie and fruit, my lunch, label their bottles and dishes because the state audits daycare, etc. I have no time to be lazy!
I feel like a bad mom because I don’t even wanna give baths, especially when I’m alone. Hudson is a slippery meatball and even though he can sit and stand up, he will flop all over the tub. If Howie is home, we will do baths every other night and I have to get in my jacuzzi with both my kids. Hudson is my lap and Jules is begging me to shave her legs. Luckily Howie can get Hudson dressed and I will get Jules dressed most of the time because Jules wants to stay in the tub for a while. By this time, it’s already 8 or 815pm and we need to get the bedtime process going. I have heart palpitations again because if we miss the window for Jules she will wake up all night or stall longer to go to bed. She wants 7 books and water and her diaper changed. Hudson wants to nurse at 7pm and fall asleep at my boob for an hour. If I try to move him to the crib, he’s wide awake. Great times.
When Howie is home, he usually puts Jules to bed and I lay in bed and nurse Hudson until he’s asleep. I have tried to just put him the crib and lay in bed, but he stares at me, laughs, has fun and then hits his head on the crib and cries and cries and cries. So when I type this blog it’s almost always with him in my lap or on my boob. I really do love him but it can get so annoying when he’s attached to my nipple for all night. Go the F to sleep and stay asleep. I just want 4 continuous hours of sleep. I don’t need 6 or 7, just give me continuous sleep and let me hug my pillows. I don’t want to be twisted and contorted half hanging off my bed because he’s nestled in my armpit or on my boob. Yes, I have tried to just put him in the crib asleep and he’s usually fine until an hour or two is up and then realize he’s not attached to me. He used to be an amazing sleeper! Just one night a week- sleep without being touched or woken up every hour and then wide awake at 6am kicking you laughing. I love you too baby boy but let mama sleep so she can be a good mama.
Now on nights they don’t take a bath, which is kind of lot because it’s winter and I’m a bad lazy mom sometimes, I don’t even take a shower. I’m still in running clothes with milk stains and greasy hair running around my house like a crazy person trying to cook, clean, pay attention to my kids and stay sane. Never mind doing ANY work at all from work. Because again, as I type this, Hudson is on me. I go back and forth with wanting to sleep train and wanting to cuddle him and need me forever. He is my last baby after all. When he does go in the crib, I have about 15 minutes to brush my teeth and shut the lights off in the kitchen. Thank GOD Jules has been sleeping because sometimes are just so hard. They are both in my bed. Hudson is everywhere and almost falls off while Jules is begging me to read and play games. “3 books only,” I say. Then she kisses me and stalls the best stall ever. Sometimes I mom so good and she’s in bed by 815 or 830, but other nights its 9 or 915 and by the time chunky monkey is done nursing it’s 10pm. Oh hey BO, greasy hair, bloated stomach from overeating since I didn’t have time to eat earlier, thirsty from nursing so damn long, tired mama. Now it’s time to go to bed. Ahhh, I’m so comfortable and I fall asleep hard just to be woken up by Hudson crying and the only way to get him to stop before he wakes his sister is my magical boob.
Sometimes I lose my shit- like angry at the world break down cry lose my shit. I feel like it’s impossible to manage both of them. Am I giving Jules enough attention? I miss her so much and we never get one on one time. Am I giving Hudson enough attention? Hudson fell face first off the trampoline and has a big bruise on his head. That’s my fault and Howie will tell you. He’s already paranoid enough and I keep telling him they will have bumps and bruises and he insists on calling me a pessimist and being negative. I just call it being realistic. Sorry, I just get frustrated and annoyed because I have it hard too. I am spread thin. I give all day long. I give all night long. I don’t really have time for me. No Tracy time. Maybe 20 minutes in the car or a run in the basement with a side of anxiety because I don’t want to be late or caught. Or a run with both kids that is usually cut short. A trip to the grocery store alone is a goddamn vacation.
Sometimes I even feel isolated and alone. I crave human interaction. I’m naturally an extrovert so when I wake up, go to work, come home and stay turned on, never able to turn off, all while your sleep deprived, it can wear you down. Then Howie gets home and we bicker and argue because I take my stress out on him and he takes it out on me. He gets days off, even though he will argue that he never does. He has to opportunity to turn off, but usually doesn’t choose to and I can’t- or I have to fight for it and plan it weeks ahead. Maybe that’s the root of our arguing. I don’t know and usually don’t care anymore because I’m so busy trying to balance life.
I don’t want to sound negative because really I have an amazing life. But if you start to lose sight of yourself or you lack self-care, it can be debilitating. I want to give 100% in all aspects of my life, but I don’t want to lose sight of me in the midst of it. 90% of the time I am so thankful and I am able to put things into perspective. In fact today I was talking to a friend about perspective. About looking at the bigger picture in life. I write in a journal what I am grateful for once a week- I have summers off, my kids are healthy, I have an amazing and supportive family, I am healthy, I have a good job down the road, I have an amazing dog, etc. I have a million things to be thankful for, but every mama needs to vent. For me, writing helps. Also running. Ever since I discovered it, I am off medications and my heart is healthier than ever. It has become a habit/obsession and I thrive off of it. I make time no matter what- even if it’s in our soon to be done basement with both kids or right after work in work clothes or even when I’m sick and only slept 3.5 hours.
While I find so many moments with my kids are beautiful and wonderful, sometimes I just crave to be alone…to fill my gas tank. I feel guilty for wanting that, but I know it’s important. I know that in order to take care of me, I need to spend some time alone. I need to be away from the chaos of life. I need to rejuvenate and be able to miss my kids. Constantly checking in with myself (self talk), has been one of the most helpful things for me, as a mother and a human being. This is why I haven’t suffered a mental breakdown; at last not a full one. I admittedly have cried and tantrummed/ gotten so angry at 3am when I am sleep deprived ask Howie. I usually hate him when he’s hugging a pillow snoring. During the day, I am usually able to step away in my mind and take a deep breath. I have realized now that I have 2 kids and that stepping away and spending time alone is crucial. Once a week, I would love to take time away, even if it’s just to walk around Costco for a half hour or get a pedicure, read a book, etc. Anything that doesn’t require me to be turned on. An even better idea? Spend some time with my husband because I miss him. That day will come, but for now, self-care. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but just once a week. Just breathe mama, I GOT THIS. We got this. We have the best, most exhausting and rewarding job in the universe. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Self care of giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.