Monday, February 18, 2013

Harder than I thought it would be

Everything – the pregnancy, the move, the transition to part-time SAHM, this whole thing has been harder than I thought it would be.  I usually thrive in stressful situations, but these past few months have been so freaking hard.  I feel awful for abandoning my blog and my online friends, but I’ve had to cut way back on the things that take up my time, and this was one area of my life that I had to pretty much cut completely out – I’m sorry.  I’m not going to promise to delve right back in it, but I want to slowly catch up, see what you guys are up to, and go back to using this space as a bit of a journal again.  Because I need the outlet, somewhere to release all the crazy that is jumbled up in my head. 

On the surface, things look generally ok.  People keep saying they’re impressed with how I’m handling it all, and I just smile.  Because they don’t know that every day, I psych myself up and tell myself that I can get through today – just get through another day.  Almost every day, I cry from exhaustion or pain, or just being overwhelmed.  But I get up every day, and make it through, once again.  Overall, things really are pretty decent.  Here is my laundry list, in no particular order:

Alex:  She’s still my joy, the best part of my life.  She’s almost 16 months old – unbelievable!  She’s so much fun, and healthy and happy, and truly the best part of everything.  She’s such a charmer, not afraid of anyone or anything, smiles almost all the time.  She’s starting to test her limits, and will listen to certain things (for example, it’s been weeks since she has touched the dog’s water dish after telling her no for about a week), but for others, thinks it’s HILARIOUS when I tell her no (we spent 30 minutes tonight working on not standing on the couch – she giggles when she stands, looking at me with this evil grin on her face…  how can I not laugh?).  She eats great, but has thinned out a bit, down to 60% in weight after being about 90%, but at 96% for height.  She runs around constantly, and is so much fun.  She is currently in daycare two days per week, and loves it.  It’s such a good school!  I feel bad about pulling her out in a few weeks (more on that later).  Truly, nothing wrong I can say about her.  The only thing is the guilt I feel because sometimes I turn the TV on and just lay on the couch, too exhausted to get up and play.  I’m glad I get to spend more time with her now that I’m working part-time, but I hate to admit that the work days are so much easier than the kid days.  She takes so much out of me physically, and I feel awful that I can’t give her my all like I can with my work, just sitting on my ass all day. 

The move:  This has been so freaking hard.  Physically, the unpacking and getting settled in is exhausting, especially while being pregnant with twins.  I have everything almost unpacked, but my husband is (finally!) moving here this weekend with more stuff.  So he’s going to show up, drop off boxes and start a high-stress job immediately, leaving me to unpack his crap.  Ugh.  So the move isn’t quite done…  Good news is we’re officially under contract for our old house, so hopefully we’ll only have one month when we have to make two mortgage payments!!!

Pregnancy:  Technically, it’s awesome.  I have had wonderful ultrasounds, and found a great high-risk doctor whom I love.  Both boys (YES, two boys!!!) are growing well, and they are only 2% different from each other, which is great.  Nothing is wrong.  Except… I feel like shit.  The morning (all day) sickness has finally decreased to the point where I don’t need zofran every day, just about 2 days per week, starting last week at 21 weeks.  I sleep like crap, and I’m incredibly exhausted.  So much so that I begged for additional anemia and thyroid testing, but it all came back normal.  Apparently I’m just pregnant with twins.  So freaking tired!!!  I’m currently 22 weeks, and I hear the worst is yet to come.  Oh joy…  I’m very happy that everything is going so well, but it’s so hard to be excited when all I want to do is sleep.  And when I finally lie down, I can’t sleep.  Oh, but I got something that is amazing – the It’s You Babe Prenatal Cradle.  I’ve been wearing it for a week now, and I can’t believe I made it through my pregnancy with Alex without one.  It’s the most unsexy thing you can find, and it’s hard to disguise under some clothes, but I don’t care.  Back pain is gone!!!  So things are looking up – much less nausea and no more back pain in the last week.  I hope this “wall” people talk about with a twin pregnancy stays away, because I’ve felt some sort of wall for months…

Hubby:  Ummmm…  I don’t know.  Maybe I should devote an entire post to him sometime.  He has struggled with finding a job here, so it took him longer than he wanted to move here.  He’s definitely the stereotypical guy where his whole sense of self seems to be derived from his professional life, so there was some questionable times there when he couldn’t get someone to hire him in a great position.  But he found the perfect job – a really good job, in fact.  He starts there next week, and finally moves here on Friday.  The transition, the being apart, has been tough.  I’m really lonely, and I know he is too.  He came here for two weeks in the middle to interview at companies, and that was almost worse.  I went from being a single mom, knowing I didn’t have anyone to rely upon to help me, to expecting help, and not getting it.  When I’m alone, I don’t look around, hoping for someone to help.  Instead, I just suck it up and deal, because there is no other option.  But I had in my head that when he came home, it would be different – he would help out more.  I don’t know why I had these expectations, it’s not like he’s shown me anything in our nine years together that would cause me to have these expectations, but I think I was living in a fantasy land.  And when he didn’t meet this fantasy, well…  it didn’t go well.  I’m nervous about him moving back here, and integrating him back into our daily life.  I need to remember that the reason I’m with him is for his company, and his love, and the great times we have together.  He really is a wonderful dad to Alex, even if he doesn’t clean up after her.  Or get up with her in the mornings...  And he’s very excited about the boys.  And I know that if I truly need help, like if I can’t take care of Alex anymore due to this pregnancy, that he will step up.  But it has to be real, not just my current state of crappy – I need to recognize my new role of part-time SAHM, and act like it.  He’s going to have a stressful, although good, job, and his job will be to work his ass off, and my job is to take care of Alex, the boys and house.  Yep, this is me psyching myself up…

Child care:  I am very excited about this one.  After weighing all our options (daycare, nanny, etc.) and thinking about whether I want to continue working after the boys are here (yes, please don’t take away my part-time job – love it!!!) we decided to hire an au pair.  Hubby and I had some honest conversations acknowledging that he’s just not that helpful, especially with babies.  And I want to continue working, at least part-time.  And based on the cost, an au pair is incredibly cheap when you start pricing out child care for three babies!  So we picked an agency, looked at a ton of profiles, did some Skype interviews, and selected a girl (actually not a girl – she’s one of the older available au pairs at 25) from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  She started our first Skype interview telling me about how in her culture, pregnant women get whatever they want.  In fact, she once drove two hours to the nearest McDonalds for a pregnant friend of hers that was craving a burger.  How can I not love her?  She comes in less than three weeks, and I can’t wait.  We wanted her to come early so she could develop a relationship with Alex before the boys get here, and if I happened to go on bed rest, she could help take care of Alex.  My high risk doc listened to my situation about being a single mom (in essence, especially in January), and suggested I have back-up child care in place by the time I was 28 weeks.  That was all it took for us to start the au pair search in earnest.  I really hope our au pair is just as great in person as she was over Skype.  It’s a huge risk, bringing someone here into our home that we don’t know – for a year!  But I have such a good feeling about her, I’m just praying it goes well. 

Work: As I’ve said, I love it.  I’ve very easily transitioned to working at home, and I think my employer is happy with me.  We had originally set this up to try it out until the end of April, and then reconsider, but I would be shocked if they didn’t want to continue the arrangement.  It’s going to get even better and easier once the au pair gets here, as I currently drive two hours (1/2 hour each way, two round trips) to drop Alex off at daycare the two days I work.  My MIL usually watches Alex another day, but she is not very reliable.  Like the hubs says, you get what you pay for.  So sometimes it’s hard getting enough time to focus on work, and I do a lot in the evenings.  Can’t wait until my au pair gets here!

The other “job” I started was the mentorship at the university I mentioned earlier.  I went through the interview process to start teaching at a local university, and the only thing that I needed to do was complete a mentorship, which consisted of attending another person’s class and helping him out.  The class met once per week for four hours, and considering where it was in town, I had to leave my house Wednesday nights at 5 pm and didn’t get home until 11 pm.  My MIL watched Alex while I did this.  I successfully completed four weeks of the mentorship, and then I quit.  I’m so disappointed in myself for doing this, but I couldn’t handle it any longer.  Thursdays were so unbearable.  I was so tired, I would turn the TV on almost all day, just to try to occupy Alex, because I couldn’t give her anything of myself.  I would just sit there and cry, because I was so tired.  Fridays were a little better, simply because I could take Alex to daycare, and take a couple naps when I was supposed to be working.  Saturdays were hard, Sundays were a little better, but then I would have to stay up late for the next few nights, trying to prepare for the section of the class I was teaching.  It was too much work, at least for my current exhausted condition.  I was halfway through the session, and I had to quit.  My mentor understood, and wants me to come back after the twins are born and finish the mentorship and start teaching.  But how in the world am I going to do that?  Who knows.  For now, I’m ignoring that part of my life.  I always wanted to be a college instructor, and maybe I’ll do that someday, but it was so exhausting, I just had to take it out of my life for now. 

Those are the big parts right now.  I think things are getting better.  Like I said, not throwing up and not having back pain – huge improvements in my life.  Everything else seems like it will fall into place.  I just need to keep growing these little boys, and keep being as good of a mom as possible to Alex.  And I need to have reasonable expectations of my husband.  I need to focus on why I love having him in my life, and look to my new au pair for help, not my husband.  I’m reminded that this is simply a season in my life, and this baby time goes by so quickly.  I need to cherish this time, with Alex, with the boys, with my husband.  We have so many things to be grateful for, I need to remind myself of this every single day.