I'm having a week. Not a bad week, just a challenging week. A week where I'm feeling a bit muddy between the ears. But the worst thing is that I'm feeling downright insecure. This is really a problem for someone who is always right; these moments of self-doubt are really screwing up my superiority complex. I'm just not feeling confident about being a mom. I don't know what I'm doing, even though apparently it's getting done because he's plump and jolly and sweet and his diapers get changed, and he clearly gets enough to eat (this morning I looked at him and said, "Is he getting too fat?" See? Insecure). And I know that there are a million ways to raise a kid and I just happen to be doing it one way, but everyone seems to have opinions about parenting--even people who aren't parents--and I can't help but worry that they know something I don't.
I'm just a sucker that way, always have been. Someone tells me something and I think, "My god, it's a wonder I've lived past thirty without doing it that way," until I find out that the person was full of just as much crap as I am. This week people are doling out opinions from all quarters, and it's making me wonder if I'm not raising our little boy to be a complete neurotic*.
My school of maternity is do what feels right, right? If he's crying, I pick him up. If he can't sleep in his bed, he sleeps with us. If he wants to eat 47 times over the course of the afternoon, I assume that he's in a growth spurt. And even though the baby book says that you should feed him whenever he's hungry, there are all these people who seem to think that babies need a schedule. This seems patently absurd, and also impossible to manage, but I can't help but worry that they're all just better at these things than me, or perhaps just have these perfect Television babies.**
However I can't seem to figure out how to schedule myself. It's one thing to try and schedule a baby (8:00 am, diaper changing, 8:05 am, left breast. Ha!), it's another thing to learn how bundle the kid up and take care of both of us by buying food. I've only bought groceries once since he was born, and we've been living on take-out. This isn't a terrible thing since I forgot how to cook years ago, but I said to my husband this morning, "I just want to feel a sense of accomplishment. Not in some larger 'career' way or anything.... something like buying cream cheese." And I meant it. Yesterday I had every intention of bundling the bun and walking up to the store, picking up some things, and walking back. But the bun was having a helluva day and it never happened. No big deal, we won't starve....but I've been trying to go to the store all week long.
This seems minor, but it's my whole world so I feel like a failure. My life has telescoped down to this tiny domestic sphere where the little successes mean everything. I don't mind that my world has shrunk; I'm not resentful since I've lived what other people call a "colorful" life. But I should be able to include the corner market in this very tiny universe.
Perhaps the most important part of learning how to schedule myself is that my husband is leaving town for three weeks in April. I can't tell you the depths of terror I'm keeping at bay--I fear that by the time he returns, he'll find that Milo is having to care for me, and that I speak in coos and grunts. That I'll have been snacking on the same bag of dry beans for a week after polishing off the canned tomatoes which have been in the cupboard since we moved in. That I will have begun wearing diapers myself as an efficiency measure.
So it is of utmost importance that I learn how to be a somewhat individuated adult in the next few weeks. All of our sanity and safety depends on it.
Anyone have any opinions about how to do that?
*He doesn't seem neurotic at all--for a baby--so I'm not really worried about that yet. I'll let you know if he starts pulling a "Woody Allen" on me. \
**Again, not really. If I think about it, I suspect most people are tellin' stories when they talk about "scheduling" their babies. Either that, or they've got really unhappy babies. He's not gonna give a rat's ass if it's been three hours since his last feeding: if he's hungry he's hungry, and there's no amount of screaming and sitting there by himself while he waits until those three hours are up that are going to change that. Babies, last I checked, can't tell time. If they're happily eating on a regimented schedule, I suspect that they're bizarro Stepford babies. But what do I know?