I want my life back

Alt title: Poooor me!

Jeez, what a tiring few days we’ve had here – two little ones under the weather with coughs and boogers, and barely any sleep for anyone. On Saturday afternoon I tempted fate by lying down with a pillow and a kids blanket on the sofa while the house was quiet. You know it wasn’t even ten minutes before the baby woke up. I tumbled off the sofa, not even aware I was awake yet; as I lurched towards the baby’s room I muttered ‘I want my life back’, and immediately regretted it.

Yup, the old I-want-my-life-back refrain has been whispering intermittently in the back of my brain for a while, the result of eight months of broken sleep and 24 hours a day on-the-job with a strong willed toddler.  It’s just a personal melodrama, that statement; not a real wish or anything I ever planned to say out loud. So I was immediately ashamed that I had let it slip from my mouth in a moment of frustration. And that it had been heard by Mark, who’s in this with me but has never wished it away with such a selfish or ungrateful remark.

The life I yearn for when I think (or worse, say) I want my life back is a life where I can:

Sleep until I awake, rather than sleep until I’m awoken.

Shower anytime between 6am and 8pm on a weekday.

Go to the bathroom without being alert to cries, shouts, crashes and appliances being turned on in my absence.

Read an entire novel in a weekend, sustained mostly by coffee and biscuits.

Make whatever I want to eat for dinner, without compromise.

Eat said dinner without interruption,  without sharing, without incident or accident.

Feel successful based on outcomes besides whether the toddler will accept a hug, how the dinner is received, whether the house is ‘presentable’.

Go out for a quiet drink with Mark etc. on a Friday after work and get home after midnight.

OK, that last one hasn’t been possible since we got a dog. Good practice for having children… The words ‘drink’, ‘work’ and ‘midnight’ are foreign to me now, in the context of human interaction.

I remind myself that one day the little ones will be old enough to make their own breakfast. They’ll have friends and hobbies and school. They’ll (hopefully) be able to eat things besides white carbs. And then I’ll get my life back.

Then, I’m sure, I’ll miss these days when I’m necessarily involved in their minute-by-minute lives. I’ll miss being their full-time playmate and teacher as well as parent. I will actually miss being so completely needed by them.

Isn’t that one of the greatest struggles of early-parenthood – adjusting to the constant bittersweet nature of that inter-dependence?

Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash

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