Miss E hasn’t been sleeping well lately, and I mentioned in a conversation with a friend that we weren’t being good to each other as a result. We’re both crabby, and while I’m not quite sure if what I’m observing in her is the same restlessness that’s plaguing me, I think I’ve got enough for both of us, either way.
The thing is, I’m not being good to myself, either. She was up twice last night to nurse, and still I tried to set my alarm to be up before her this morning to catch up on work and my writing. I feel like I’ve outgrown that stage of new parenthood where I should “sleep when the baby sleeps,” like getting the requisite amount of rest is something you’re only owed when you’re on maternity leave. I feel like since she’s nearly five months old, I should be able to just get on with it, pick up every last little thing right where I left it before she was born. But I can’t. And I can’t get over the fact that I can’t.
I’m a doer. If I’m not reaching for some star every day, I feel like I’ve wasted it. This kind of attitude is often incompatible with caring for a baby, even one as easygoing as Miss E. While there are lots of laughs to be had about not getting a shower or a hot meal, it’s always more than that. I want to work out for 20 minutes. I want to edit 10 pages and write five more. I want to cook something new that requires peeling and chopping and simmering.
What I should’ve learned before having a baby, in addition to how to launder cloth diapers and use a booger sucker, is how to cut myself a break. A friend gave me advice worthy of a cross-stitch in every room: life with a baby is hard enough. Just be kind to yourself, you’re worth it.
So I’m really, really going to try.