Something clicked around the time Ronan became 14 months old. Things got…easier.
The first year was super intense. Figuring out sleeping and eating and new skills being learned and teeth and managing a baby and my own needs and my husband’s needs and trying to run a business and really intense stuff with my family and my in-laws and on and on and on.
And then one day I realized it had suddenly gotten easier.
He was walking, I knew enough about him to learn his cues and how to anticipate his needs. I had figured out the short cuts for when Andy was at work. I stopped pumping.
Part of this ease can be attributed to the new pattern for care taking. Ronan and I go to co-working 2 mornings a week and then straight home for a nap. He spends almost a full day with my mother in law and another almost full day with my father in law.
The timing between naps is longer so we can take our time getting places and doing things. We don’t have to rush back home or to the car for a nap or so I can pump.
I had a therapist make a really condescending remark about how I needed to just lighten up my standards for motherhood. I remember thinking, “Well, they’re not really that high.” She used the example of using paper plates for dinner instead of real plates. Um… you do know that when Andy’s running a show only one of us actually uses a plate?
My standards were and are pretty middling. I want to experience some joy and happiness while parenting and don’t want to make myself sick with my choices. I have a partner who is a true partner, so I never can commiserate with moms who have significant others who don’t really help.
But despite my choosing a partner who was a help, despite my sort of middling standards, things were hard. Like as a blanket statement, it was hard.
And now it’s…less hard.
A mom in one of my Facebook groups was candidly talking about how overwhelmed she was with her 4 month old and was looking for perspective about how one day it would get better. Other moms were telling her to “enjoy it, they’re only small once,” which is the worst advice you can give to a mom who is just in the weeds.
I told her about how it gets easier. They figure stuff out. You figure them out, they figure you out. You get a rhythm and a routine. And then one day you find yourself with a spare couple of hours to read and scroll Facebook and maybe do some laundry if you really feel like it, but everything feels less compressed.
Don’t know how long this will last, but for now I’m really enjoying hitting a phase of parent/childhood that seems to work with my temperament a little better. Having more help from many angles definitely helps since I can work more and remember parts of me that had to get put on hold this last year.
There are acute moments of discomfort, but for now it all feels a little bit more manageable than it did before.