So, I’ve been feeling a bit, well, overwhelmed lately.
Just a little too pregnant, a little too tired, and just slightly burnt out.
I try, but the impatient sighs, the inclination to turn on the T.V. instead of play, the “let’s have hot dogs” for dinner gets the best of me. And I know when I get feelings this way, that it’s best to have a little break.
Which is exactly why last weekend, I asked my husband if we could have a little date night away.
Except things did not exactly go as planned.
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First, Friday night: my husband was too tired after a long week of work, his students reaching that end-of-the-school year frenzy. (Which I can definitely relate to–I’m so looking forward to not getting up and getting kids dressed and ready every day!)
Then, Saturday night: he had to work on one of his side projects, pulling an all-nighter at the workshop while I fought off several strange bedfellows who somehow sensed their father’s absence from the bed and seized the opportunity to sleep with their feet in my face.
And on Sunday, when miracle of miracles, his mother offered to babysit for us to go out to dinner, our kids had meltdowns and also jumped in 10 feet of muddy puddles, prompting an early return to home and no waterfront dining for us. Maybe I shed a hormonal pregnant tear or two of frustration on the way home and maybe I didn’t.
But we attempted to salvage the evening as best we could with a lovely dining fresco experience, popsicles on the deck, and a truly beautiful almost-summer sunset. And then after the kids were (finally) tucked into bed, I fought off my usual fall-into-bed exhausted with pregnancy routine and joined my husband on the couch for a little free Netflix movie action. Just as I settled down, comfy as can be with my feet up, we heard it:
The unmistakable cries of our youngest crying in his crib.
We exchanged glances, neither of us quite believing that yet again, just when we had finally got some much-needed time alone, he would wake up.
“Should we just give him a few minutes?” I said to my husband, hoping against hope he would go back to sleep.
My husband nodded and turned the movie back on, our silent decision made. When, after a few minutes, silence met our ears, I thought we had caught a lucky break. See? We needed this “date” night!
I felt pretty darn pleased with myself.
That is, until my son woke up in the morning and we realized that he was covered head-to-toe in puke.
Horrible, awful, blueberry-filled (sorry) puke, from his hair to his toes, all through his crib, and it was so dried and flaking off that we knew instantly he had slept in it all night.
I was horrified.
Wanted to sink into a little hole and wave my “bad mom” flag in failure forever.
Luckily, there seemed to be ho harm done; he wasn’t running a fever and ate two giant pancakes for breakfast, so we wrote off the puking as a phenomenon of spending the day at Grandma’s, which equals too much fun and too much sugar, but still, talk about a wake-up call.
I instantly realized that I needed to readjust my attitude and step up to the plate a bit more as a mother.
So what if I’m tired?
So what if I feel like I’ll be pregnant forever?
My kids aren’t out to get me or destroy me or prevent me from spending time with my husband. They are just being kids, for goodness sake. They need me more than I need a break. And while I can fight for that time alone and plan for the date night and schedule a sitter, it doesn’t always mean things will go perfectly.
But that’s motherhood.
My kids might need me, even if it’s the exact moment I sit down to finally relax for the day.
Actually, odds are my kids will need me, at the exact moment I sit down.
Because that’s motherhood.