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Monday, April 18, 2011

Mom/Pensive: 2 am reflections

So I can’t sleep. This is not new but is worse this week than normal. We had a very successful 1st birthday party for my son; here he is eating his birthday cupcake.

As fun as it was, it was also overwhelming and exhausting. 25 people crammed into our house, a baby not used to so much action and attention, we all came out the other side of the weekend sick. I started out last week up and down all night with a feverish baby, and ended the week with me up two nights in a row with a baby who had a cough and a nose too stuffed up to breathe out of. Thank goodness for baby Vick’s Vapor Rub, it got us through the worst of it. Now, tonight the baby is sleeping quite peacefully but I am here at 2 am because I have been up all night coughing. Not just an occasional cough, but huge, body wracking, have to run into the bathroom and cough a lung up cough. I haven’t been able to do more than doze fitfully because I am up once or twice an hour coughing. If my town had a 24 hour anything I would be there right now buying cough syrup. I know that there are one or two plain cough syrups without decongestants or anything that are fine for nursing moms, though one more night of this and I might say, ‘sorry kid, no breast milk for you’ and down some Nyquil. Ahhh, Nyquil, such fond memories… For now I am trying out peppermint herbal tea with LOTS of honey and lemon: honey to soothe a very sore throat and peppermint and lemon to (hopefully) strip the mucus out so the coughing eases up enough for me to sleep.
 Anyway, color me miserable. Now, it is not as dire as you might think, I actually got two solid, blissful hours of baby free sleep this morning when my mom, who was visiting for the weekend, and my husband took the baby and let me go back to bed. But two hours doesn’t make up for two weeks of too little sleep, because the baby was sick the week before the party too. I have found that I have reached a point where I have gone past stressfully tired, cranky tired, tearfully tired, and have come out the other side into a sort of Zen exhaustion. I am just accepting it and moving on. What I am not so accepting of is the unfairness of how the baby and the husband are both over the worst of this cold and I am still in the thick of it because my body literally cannot get the sleep it needs to heal. Between being up and down all night with a sick baby and up all day alone with him I am finding it impossible to get any rest. This is not just indicative of this last week; it is becoming kind of a theme. Is this parenthood? Do I get to be literally sick and exhausted for the next several years? Is this why 90% of the victims on “What Not to Wear” are moms? Is it because we aren’t allowed to sleep and become mom-zombies who are too tired to dress themselves in anything other than yesterday’s sweats or ripped jeans?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. I wouldn’t give my son up for anything; you can pry him from my cold, dead, mom-zombie hands because you are not taking him from me while I am alive. But is there any room for any kind of balance? I’m beginning to fear that the urban stereotype of the suburban mom who doesn’t have a single hobby, interest or thought in her head other than the kids is not so much a stereotype as much as a truth. That scares me a bit. Not enough to never have another kid, mind you. I still think the baby needs a sibling, probably within the next two years. But still, if I don’t find the balance before then, I may very well end up a mom-zombie, constantly sick from lack of sleep, so tired that when I do get a night of blissfully sleeping baby I still can’t shut down and take advantage of it. Worrisome stuff.
Well, on a happier note, this tea thing seems to be helping a little, I haven’t had a coughing fit in half an hour, so I’m going to go make another mug and head back to bed. Maybe I can still catch a few zzzz’s.
mom-zombie and the birthday boy

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