Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm O.k. with the Exhaustion, but I Hate It So Much

One of the cyclical things that happens in my life is this: something’s coming up, something I know will require changes and adjustments, and I devote way too much time for prepping for it. This is how I am – I need to prepare well for certain things, or I risk my emotions (and therefore actions) careening out of control.

So I prepare. I come to accept and be o.k. with what I know lies ahead. It’s all good, really.

And then the thing happens, and I inevitably find myself overwhelmed or bothered or saddened by the very changes and adjustments I’d prepared for. Even as I’m thinking, I knew it’d be like this, I am engulfed in my emotions as if I’d never prepared in the first place.

This was crushingly true when I had Max. I resisted for so very long all the small adjustments I’d had to make. I was cool with not having a social life, with forgoing all kinds of things so the baby would be comfortable and happy. I chose to do some things in ways that were inconvenient for me but best for him. 

And I was truly o.k. with that. But I was constantly overwhelmed by the loss of myself and the inability to get anything at all done. The relentlessness of parenting felt at times like it would kill me. And Max himself, he is a relentless human being. I knew I had to surrender, had to give in to the deeper ways in which I could no longer be or do or have. And it took me a long time. I resisted so much because I felt that I was already giving and doing so much, so much more than I thought I could or would, so much more than most people did, and I couldn't see why the very little bit I wanted for myself, I couldn't have.

In hindsight, there were other things. My maturity level, for one. Also, the fact that while parenting together went well, the rest of my marriage was a constant pressure-cooker of unexpressed expectations and the resulting hostility at my inability to read minds and change who I am.  So, you know, there was other stuff contributing to it all. Those things didn't help because I was in a constant state of worry, tension and frustration.

Parenting an infant this time around is markedly different (and better!) in many ways (I mean, I actually think I'm faring way better than I did last time), but once again, here I am surprised at some of the other stuff. I know I’m going to be sleep-deprived, that being productive is merely a dream, and that my interests take a back seat to everything else. And yet, one bad, sleepless night is all it takes for me to be hopelessly sour. The house grows ever messier and my despair grows with it. My inability to be completely alone in my own house is about to drive me insane. Too many days with scraggly, untrimmed and unwashed hair and I all but melt down.

The big one, though, is the exhaustion. I knew I would be beyond tired. It's part of the new-parent deal, unavoidable, so fine, exhausted it is. But the thing is, living it, feeling that tiredness day in and day out - it packs a massive punch. Who cares that I'm theoretically o.k. with all this stuff? The reality of living it out is a monster. I am so tired, so deep-in-my-bones tired. I manage to shake the tiredness off enough to keep everyone alive and be functional at work, but otherwise - ugh. If I'm jacked up on coffee, great, you get a Tere that closely resembles something normal. Otherwise, I can't focus, can't listen, can't pay attention, and am just too damn exhausted to put up with the needs and desires of anyone outside my home. I'm overwhelmed by the tiredness. I can't remember what feeling rested is like. I'm annoyed at my lack of energy. I'm losing sight of reality and am starting to believe this will  never end. 

I live these days repeating my mantra: this is all a short-term sacrifice for long-term benefits. Perhaps because I've been here before and I still remember that yes, there was indeed a day when I finally got to rest more, and then another, and then another, I feel hopeful, like I can DO this and get through it well enough. 

That said, thank heaven this is the last child, because I can't do this again. 

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Posted by Tere @ 6/24/2013   | |

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