Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lowering My Expectations

I am someone who really appreciates being productive.  This assertion may come as a surprise to those individuals who have seen me while away an afternoon (or a week) by lying on a couch with an afghan, a cat, and a book I've read a dozen times before.  (In actual fact, I'm being very productive during those marathon reading sessions--I'm spending my time feeling guilty about not being more productive.  If I didn't spend my time on needless guilt, who would?  That irrational emotion's not going to feel itself!)  Despite my relaxation binges, I really do feel better on a day-to-day basis if I can cross things off my to do list and end the day feeling as if I've made my world a little better than it was when I woke up.

Enter LO.

Babies, as you may have heard, are somewhat incapable of taking care of themselves.  In addition to needing me and J as a source of food, comfort, diaper changes, basic grooming, transportation, lullabies, entertainment, pacifier retrieval, soothing, swing-starting, little piggy counting, top-of-head smelling and kissing and Star Wars ABC reading, LO also expects for one of the two of us to hold him basically 21 of the 24 hours every day.  (The final three hours consist of the accumulated time that we are dealing with diapers.  I never thought I'd spend so much time thinking about/discussing/worrying over feces.  And I'm still excused from litter box duty!)

Needless to say, LO's habits and my sleeplessness have put a bit of cramp in my to-do list style.  A 15 minute phone call to my doctor takes several days of planning.  Laundry lies fallow in the field--as it is rather difficult to fold sheets and towels one handed.  Dishes go unwashed, beds unmade, bathrooms uncleaned, errands unrun.

This is driving me a little crazy.

Before LO was born, everyone told me that I should sleep when the baby sleeps.  I assured people that I considered sleeping to be a productive use of my time, so I would surely take this one piece of universal advice.  The problem, I find, was that LO seems to think sleeping in the daylight hours is a fabulous idea, and that's usually when I'm awake.  I try to nap with him, and sometimes I'm successful.  But often, the siren song of tasks undone, to-do lists with items to check off, and Facebook pulls me from slumber and I try to be productive.

I think I need to lower the bar.  If I get a shower, that should be considered a good day.

I was going to add more to that, but I really think having the bar that low is probably best for me.  (So basically new mothers and crack addicts have the same productivity expectations.)

I need to remind myself that I'm doing the most important work in the world--nurturing a new life.  I'm breastfeeding, which takes a great deal of time, but provides LO with the exact nutrition he needs at the exact time he needs it.  I'm teaching LO that he lives in a world where he is loved and wanted.  I'm beginning the long journey of lifelong learning by talking, singing and reading to my son.  I'm building a bond with my sweet little boy that will last a lifetime.

But, dude, I'd really like to get the sheets folded sometime this week.


  1. Two and a half years later and I still consider it a good day when I find a moment to shower. :)

    I loved your paragraph about doing the most important job on the planet, nurturing our youngins, and I can completely relate to all of the above sentiments. Sheets folded? I just want to get them in the dryer. ;)

  2. #1 time saver in my house - we don't fold sheets or anything else.

    I'm probably not want you want to here, but I still consider it a good day when I actually get a shower in. Blah.