The kids are napping. It’s one of those rare moments when the naps overlap, and I must hustle to get as much done as humanly possible before someone wakes up. I feel like my life lately is being lived in 10-minute increments. I’m trying to remind myself to accept the chaos and the mess, but it’s more challenging some days than others. As a list-checker, it’s hard to accept the fact that I can’t check anything off because, 10 minutes in, I get interrupted.
The other day was one of those days when I felt like life was ganging up on me. The infant, the 2-year-old and the dog were all out to get me. I was trying a new strategy for getting my son down for his morning nap, meaning that I was refusing to give him the boob that I knew would make him instantly pass out. His sleep, while not terrible, is not the bliss it was from the early days, and whether it’s teething or just the way the wind blows, it’s been a little rough. So I was bound and determined to implement a few sleep strategies that worked wonders with my daughter, namely, breaking the boob-to-sleep habit. That morning, I spent an hour trying to get him to sleep.
As I went back and forth and back and forth with him, my potty-training daughter wet through like five pairs of training pants. I kid you not when I say that we’d sit on the potty for five minutes, nothing would happen, and then within one minute out of the bathroom? You guessed it. The books tell you patience is a virtue in potty training, but I thought my head would explode that day. An hour of my day filled with crying and peeing. Glamorous. (And the 45 minutes my 8-month-old finally slept? That’s all he slept all day.)
[Right here, 2-year-old wakes up, thought to be continued later, if I remember it.]
[And seven hours later, here I am again.]
Later that day, we had a vet appointment for the dog. I was pumped that I so effortlessly managed to get the kids and the dog there, when it’s usually a challenge just to wrangle the hyperactive dog-beast. The diagnosis? A severe allergic reaction to fleas. Of all of the things I need in my life right now, fleas aren’t it. So a couple hundred dollars later, the dog’s blood should now be poison to the blood-sucking fleas (or at least that’s how I imagine the shot works), and my dog can now live in comfort again.
The point is, I bounce around all day between three different sets of demands. Any time I think I’ve got it under control, someone rings the door bell, the dog goes berserk and at least one child is woken up. If I start a workout DVD, it’s a guarantee that someone will have a poopy diaper. If I sit down to eat, the dog decides it’s time to eat, too, and please, kibble, now. If I start to clean the kitchen, the baby monitor goes off and the mess stays awhile longer. When my head hits the pillow at night, I know it’s just a matter of time before the baby is crying or my daughter is demanding a recount of her blankets.
I remind myself that the kiddos’ sleep will get better. The day will come when I will have a quiet house, and I’ll probably be bored and miss the chaos. But until then, when there is no quiet and no peace, I’m trying to carve out a little time for myself. Even if it’s in 10-minute increments. And even if it is to do something as simple as shower.
Do you struggle finding time to yourself? What tips do you have to carve it out? Inquiring minds… —Erin