Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The contradictions of caring for a child

Sometimes when I sit in bed with a sleeping BlueEyes in my lap I feel like I was born to be someone’s mother. On other days I feel like I was born to sit on the couch, drink a beer and watch crappy television for an entire weekend. Not surprisingly, these two purposes in life don’t go together well. 

When last week’s hurricane came, some of my friends (only the one’s without kids) said: “Oh that’s wonderful, you get to be home with BlueEyes two extra days”. And all I could think was: What the hell are we going to do those two days, when we can’t go outside and we have to entertain BlueEyes the whole day?!? 

And yesterday night was one of the few nights when Dr. BrownEyes wasn’t home (OMG single parents, how on earth do you do it? You have my utmost respect). I was tired from analyzing data all day, and after nursing BlueEyes I wanted to go and make dinner. I picked the easiest dinner from the list that we made for this week (potatoes with Brussel’s sprouts, mashed together with pieces of bacon), but when I wanted to start cooking BlueEyes started crying. He wanted me to pick him up, so I figured I would put him on my back in a sling. But he didn’t want that either. He only wanted to be held on my hip, but that way I couldn’t really cook. So I ended up putting him on my back anyway, because I didn’t want him to get hurt throwing himself on the floor when I was trying to cook. And I spent the time cooking singing songs and jumping up and down with a frantically crying BlueEyes right in my ear. Dinner went fine, and bath time went fine, but putting him to sleep took over an hour. When Dr. BrownEyes came home BlueEyes was still awake and I had totally had it. Of course when Dr. BrownEyes held him he instantly fell asleep. I felt bad that I couldn’t just stay relaxed and help BlueEyes fall asleep. And I hated that I didn’t enjoy it. I think that what I’m particularly struggling with in my head is that every other thing in the world that you do, you can decide to stop doing it when you don’t feel like it, but not this. I will (hopefully) always be BlueEyes’ mom and that idea sometimes frightens me a bit. 

Especially when he was just born, some nights I just wanted to brush my teeth and go to bed by myself instead of change his diaper, nurse him, comfort him, etc. I’ve gotten used to it a whole lot, but sometimes this same feeling creeps up on me. On the other hand, I know he’s only going to be little for so short, so I better enjoy it now. The days are slow, but the time goes fast.

I guess there’s enough of this type of complaining everywhere, both in real life and especially online. It’s not a taboo anymore if you don’t particularly enjoy having children 24 hours a day. But it feels like kind of a struggle for me. Because I could get a babysitter and do something else for a night, but I won’t. Because I feel that we already have BlueEyes in daycare and since he has trouble falling asleep by himself I would feel bad for him. Also, when I’m away I miss him. I need to more often realize that this is just how it is. I don’t need to enjoy it but I just need to do it. 

And I’m glad that in this day and age it’s okay for women to go to work. And that there’s excellent daycares like ours. Because as much as I would want to be there for every new word that BlueEyes learns, I know that that is just not for me (and even writing that down makes me feel kind of bad).


  1. This is why when it's just me (and a small child), we often eat ice cream and raisins for dinner, or similar foragings. When I'm really on top of things I'll have defrosted something already made from the freezer and set it up so it can be easily microwaved. (Very proud of myself for thinking to get out the chili this weekend, even if I ate it for 3 meals straight. The day before I ate nothing but cheese and rice cakes!)

    1. Yeah I should have thought that through better. Although (and this is probably going to surprise you a lot) we don't have a microwave, and I've never owned one in my life. So heating things up involves the stove too, and then you might as well cook something.

    2. Not if you have ice cream and raisins! Or cheese and rice cakes. And of course, regular favorites of cold spaghetti and cold pizza...