I’ve become “that mom”…
Prior to having children (or trying to have children), I had little but scorn towards moms who let motherhood rule and dictate their every facet of being. I rolled my eyes at moms who couldn’t or wouldn’t take afternoons, or even whole vacations, away from the kids. I thought that changing your whole daily routine for the child’s sake was ridiculous, they can just adjust to YOUR schedule, right? Throw them on a plane, have them stay up late and get up late with you, bring them to your doctor’s visits or your friends’ get togethers or to the mall… what’s the problem? Why should your interests, your personality, your whole life revolve around a kid? What kind of doormat are you, anyway?
I so didn’t get it. I thought I did, but I really, really didn’t.
With a small baby, I had myself almost believing that I was living proof that with minor adjustments (like my own sleep deprivation), I could live that fantasy. A little baby can be strapped on with a carrier, won’t mind hanging out in a stroller for hours on end, and can sleep wherever. I even did FOUR airplane trips with my six-month-old, and while one short flight was quite hairy, the rest of the trip was amazing. I would plop the kid down in her stroller, in the sand, on a floor with some toys, and I was good to go do whatever I wanted on my trip.
Things have soooo changed now that we have entered toddlerhood full force, like, in ways I couldn’t have imagined. My toddler needs her routine, people. Sleeping too late, or napping too late, or whatever sleeping change has major ramifications in her behavior, and consequently, my mood. She needs to eat meals at a consistent time and place, or shit goes to hell when you try to get her to eat at the table later. She needs to be outside or at least doing physical activity in an environment outside the house in order for her to sleep well at night. She needs to be read to and to have time where she interacts with other kids. She needs to consistently have her behavior addressed in the same ways, every time. I do certain things both proactively and in response to things like whining, hitting, pulling the cats’ tail, etc.
My point here is that I’m type A, and it’s really starting to show in my parenting. I can no longer think of doing anything unless it is geared towards my daughter or has something to offer her. I can no longer leave her unless it’s for work, to go do something “fun”. I’m not having much fun… I’m feeling guilty, and obsessing over the fact that I want my kid with me. If I have extra money, I spend it on doing something fun for her, or creating something for her, or even decorating her room or cute clothes (I get lots of hand-me-downs so I try not to overdo it here).
Basically, I’ve become my own worst nightmare. And I think the only thing to do is just get through these toddler years, and I will naturally back off a little (I hope) once she’s in school five days a week. In the meantime, my love life, my social life, and my personal interests (unrelated to child-rearing) are all taking a major blow.
I’m also having a freak out because I have summer taxes and other bills to pay, and need to work a few overtime shifts. Nothing is going to hurt me more than leaving her all day when I don’t technically *have* to. But bills are bills, and I’m hopefully about to lose $500 per month in foster care stipend.