All the books cautioned that when you have a second child, you trade in any possibility of free time. It made sense; my first child required so much of my time I couldn’t imagine how I’d have any left when a second child came around. All those little moment I stole to read an email or blog post, to put a load of laundry in the drier, to go to the bathroom by myself… they were about to be co-opted. Yes, I understood that I was about to lose the ability to do anything for me personally, but I didn’t really GET what that might mean, what it would feel like, how I would manage it in my own life.
I have to admit, it has me struggling mightily.
I miss having my own time. I miss being able to read a blog post in one sitting, or–godforbid-comment on it. I miss being able to leave the house without kids in tow to see a friend. Now, even if Osita allows me to leave, I usually have to take Monito so that Mi.Vida doesn’t get too overwhelmed. (Luckily Monito is still very amiable to doing whatever so I can still get shopping done or even have lunch with a friend and he sleeps in his car seat or sits happily in my lap. I can’t imagine how difficult it will all get when that stops). Right now Monito’s longest period of wakefulness is the three hours right after Osita goes to bed. That long period of playing, and eating, helps him to sleep until 6-7am (which is amazing) but it effectively destroys my only opportunity to read or write or watch a TV show with MV or do some cleaning around the house.
At this point there is no dependable time during which I can get things done. With Osita at school I do have some 45-90 minute stretches when Monito is sleeping but I never know how long they will last. I usually utilize that time to get laundry folded or to do the dishes and get the kitchen to a functional state.
But when I need to actually be productive, like get some copy-editing done or write an article for the magazine I volunteer at, I am at a complete loss. When I want to read a book about Playful Parenting or managing a child’s challenging behavior I get frustrated when I realize there is just no way to get it done. It’s hard to know how I’m going to maintain any semblance of my self when every minute of every day is already accounted for.
I go back to work in less than a month and when that happens, my days will be an endless stream of moving from one intensely packed part to another. At this point I am driving to pick up Monito during my lunch hour–I don’t even have a scheduled time to eat lunch! It’s going to be insane waking up at 5:45am so that I can spend some time with both my daughter and son after I get myself ready and before I step out the door at 7am. And then it’s off to teach four classes that I probably won’t have had any time to plan for. Then I rush to my in-laws to pick up Monito, who I get to spend two hours with alone before I have to pick up Osita. The 2-3 hours at home alone with both of them is the most stressful time of the day. By the time they are both asleep I’ll have to be heading to bed too, otherwise I just won’t get enough sleep to make it through the day. I honestly can’t fathom when I’ll have time for laundry or dishes or picking up around the house. I already know my weekends will be reserved for catching up on all of that, plus actual cleaning and a week’s worth of grocery shopping. Ugh. Just typing that out exhausts me. I can’t believe that in three weeks I have to start living it.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that a lot of infertility bloggers stop writing after the birth of their first child. I am always saddened when someone I follow slowly stops posting until one day I check their blog and see that it’s been three months since they wrote. As someone who absolutely NEEDS her own space to unpack all the goings-on in my life, I never understood how people could walk away, even when I knew first hand how hard it was to carve out time with a baby at home. But now I see. With two kids, I will just not have the time. Something will have to give and when the other possibilities are laundry or dishes, I don’t see how I can justify writing here, at least not as much as I do now. I don’t know how I’m going to cut back, but I’ll probably have to.
And that makes my heart hurt.
This having two kids thing is no joke. I thought I could make it work. I thought I could find ways to protect the things dearest to me, but when it comes down to it, I doubt I can. I can see how small pieces of myself will keep falling away until I’m left at the end of the first year with nothing left of the person I know now. That thought scares me.
And I haven’t even mentioned Mi.Vida–and our relationship–in this post. That is a whole other issue to tackle and I haven’t been lately only because things between us are pretty good. I’m equally–if not more–worried about how our relationship will fare in the coming year. If we don’t have time or energy for ourselves, how will we have time and energy for each other?
Jeez. How are we going to do this?