It has been a while since I have posted. I keep meaning to, and I have several ideas for emotional, thought provoking posts. I title them in my head and think of how I will structure them, and I feel all satisfied with myself. I'll draft that later today, I think.
I haven't yet written any of them. And this is not one of those posts.
The truth is, life is getting away from me a bit. I guess I should not be surprised as a new mother of three. Every minute of every day is filled with a preschool pick up or a nursing session or a meal preparation or refereeing or rocking to sleep or cleaning or folding laundry or bedtimes or a multitude of other things that I don't even feel like listing or thinking of. In between that, I am still trying to bathe and maintain friendships and volunteer for school activities and go to doctor's appointments and host playdates and blog and a multitude of other things that I don't even feel like listing of thinking of. I feel like I'm constantly on catch up. Like I just need a minute to breathe, to take a break, and there just isn't one. And I can't think of when I will get one next.
I am holding it together, generally. Because there's no other option. Because I still do get joy out of my day.
But I have gotten a bit derailed.
The stomach flu hit last week. First it hit me. On Friday, I was completely out of commission. I didn't want to do anything, and luckily for me, I didn't really have to. My husband stayed home from work and assumed the childcare duties.
But I still had to nurse the baby. This is a simple thing, and one that doesn't require a lot of effort on the face of it. After all, my husband just brought me the baby, placed him on my lap, and I fed him. But something about it just took everything out of me. I felt trapped, exhausted, tied down. I just needed a break, a distance, a respite to nurse myself back to health, but I couldn't completely break away. Every three hours, I had a duty to do, no matter what. And, unsurprisingly, I noticed throughout the day that my milk supply was diminishing. I was completely dehydrated and my body just didn't have anything left. This resulted in panic and stress, and a call to a lactation consultant. I decided to pump after each feeding to try to maintain my supply.
At the same time, I was completely freaking out about the rest of the family getting the stomach bug. So I bleached everything I came in contact with, cleaned the bathroom from head to toe, and washed my hands with such frequency that my hands are now chapped and bright red.
I did these things on a day that I wanted to be completely selfish. I wanted to lay in bed and feel like crap and just be. But I couldn't. It simply wasn't an option.
I am not a martyr. I don't deserve a medal by any means, and I accept help when I can. But this is just how it goes. It's what it means to be a mother. I signed up for it, I assume the role willingly, and I love it more than anything. But it is completely overwhelming. Actually, overwhelming isn't even the word. I don't know what the word is. Maybe it doesn't exist.
Last night, around 7pm, Braden, my oldest, threw up. Despite my best efforts, the bug outsmarted me. He came down with it right at the time that Colin, my infant, needed to be fed. Of course, Braden wanted me, and I was at his side. But as I was at his side, I could hear Colin screaming from the room next door, out of hunger. My husband was out picking up take out (it was to be my first "real" meal since Friday), so I divided my time the best way I could. Ultimately, I didn't get to stay with Braden as long as I would have wanted, and Colin cried a bit longer than I felt comfortable with.
I felt guilty about both. And by the time my husband was home and they both were settled, I had lost my appetite.
Later that night, I was on my hands and knees with bleach cleaning vomit out of our hall bathroom. I didn't want my husband to do it, because he so far has been spared the stomach bug, so it's best he stay away from the carnage. In the midst of my scrubbing, I had a moment where I just sat on the floor and stared at the ceiling. I didn't cry. But I felt exasperated. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. I tried to envision a time when I wouldn't feel these things. And I couldn't.
Today, I am declaring it movie day and I'm not going to feel guilty about the kids watching too much TV. I'm going to go a bit easier on the incessant hand washing because at the end of the day, I can only do so much. I am going to take some Fenugreek to help increase my milk supply, and I'm going to publish this blog post (thought I'm only going to edit it once, so please forgive me if it isn't so eloquent). I'm going to enjoy my baby's smiles and my older sons' antics and the fact that my husband has a day off of work.
I'm going to take it one day at a time.