Motherhood Mode: Solo Dolo

So I’m a little bit nervous for Monday. Why, what happens on Monday, you ask? Matt finally starts training on his new job! *Kermit flailing arms* YAAAAAY!!

Yeah, that’s correct, it took almost six months before he got employed again. Curse this economy and its surplus of unemployed people looking for work! It didn’t help that we needed something that pays a lot more than minimum wage and those jobs can afford to be extra picky in who they pick. Thank god for hefty safety accounts, unemployment checks and family that can be supportive. Otherwise this past six months would have been even MORE stressful!

Now I am pleased as punch for Matt to be employed again. We won’t have to worry about budgeting everything quite so tightly and we may even be able to afford some fun things again. But I am afraid at the same time.

You see, Matt has been great to have around with Ivy. This is both of our first baby and neither of us really knew what we were doing before. Swaddling, comforting, diaper changing, bathing, dressing a baby… All of these were things that we learned to do together. It’s been fun and wonderful to have his help and support when Ivy gets hard to handle.

But now he’s going back to work.

Normally Red would be here too; able and more than willing to lend a helping hand every now and again as needed. But he’s actually back in school this semester to take the last class he needs for his animation degree and he’s working the days he’s not at school which means….

It’s gonna be just me and Ivy, 8+ hours a day, Monday through Friday.

It wasn’t until Matt got the job offer that my brain realized just what that meant for me and my days. No Matt or Red to take Ivy when I want to shower. No Matt or Red to help me with Ivy when she’s wailing at the top of her lungs and nothing I do is working. No Matt or Red to watch Ivy so I can cook and eat something. Just me. And Ivy. (And technically the animals but they’re not really much help at all.)

I got a miniature taste of what this will be like when Matt had to go in to do fun new job things like Filling Out Paperwork and Submitting a Back Ground Check and Peeing in a Cup So We Can Check for Drugs. Red was in school and all of this stuff took Matt a while so for about a five hour chunk it was just me and Ivy; the longest chunk of just me and her up to that point.

(This space is reserved to give all parents who do this every day with multiple kids of various ages and single mothers and single fathers time to roll their eyes at me, the poor little spoiled girl who is having her luxury of help taken from her for the first time ever. Boo-hoo, I know, poor me. But seriously, you guys all rock and I can only hope that I’ll get as badass as you guys someday.)

But you know what? I did okay! Even when Ivy was having a bad time and crying a lot I didn’t lose my cool and managed to calm her down ALL BY MYSELF EVEN WHEN I GOT REALLY TIRED AND FLUSTERED. I managed to shower, cook food, even put on makeup (!!!) with no one else to help me out with Ivy.

It was hard and felt way more exhausting than usual but I DID IT. I can do this. I will learn how to take care of Ivy alone in more efficient and fun ways and it might not always be fun or fantastic, but I can do it and we’ll both do better than survive. We’ll thrive. I am still nervous and even a little scared. But I know over all I’ll get through this.

I dunno what being on my own like this will mean for my (already spotty as hell) writing. I hope I’ll be able to post more frequently still. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up using the voice to text function to make some wonky as hell posts. (Talking to write is so much harder than writing to write. Try it sometime! And if it’s easy for you then maybe you’re just more awesome than me.)

I actually managed to block two finished pieces yesterday and Matt, Ivy and I are planning on going to the Taos Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday so I should hopefully have some new posts up on these things soon.*

*Disclaimer: Soon can mean any period of time from three days from now to 400 days from now. No promises, contracts, litigations, responsibilities, or wishes are implied by use of the word, “soon.” Do not ingest This Post and contact poison control if experiencing any symptoms such as vomiting, hallucinations, Sudden Hand Shrinking Syndrome, or Random Out Of Control Flatulence. Ask your doctor today if This Post is right for you. Stop being bored and start being confused with This Post.

Full of Aspirations, Out of Time

I’m the first person in my group of friends and colleagues to have a baby. This has been challenging in its own ways; I don’t have any other mom friends I can gab about babies to when my other friends have heard all they can stand, I don’t have anyone to give me tips or tricks they’ve discovered (Ivy is the first baby Matt and I have ever taken care of so we’ve had a lot to learn!) and most interesting to me is that I’ve found that some friends feel awkward when talking to me now, because they feel like I’m so much more “grown up” than them because I have a husband and child.

That last one has been particularly confusing and sort of hurtful. It makes me feel awkward and wrong when a longtime friend starts talking to me less and less, saying, “I just feel like you wouldn’t even care about hearing my stories now that you have a baby.” It feels really unfair because I’ve tried my best to keep up with my friends on their lives and not just talk endlessly about my daughter. I’d like to think that I’ve kept a good balance of hobbies and baby talk in my conversational skills and that I haven’t stopped being a good friend just because I spawned.

Granted my response times in texts has dropped significantly. There are times when someone shoots me a casual, “Hey, what’s up?” And I am just so bogged down with Ivy or laundry or cleaning or napping that I don’t get back to them until 8+ hours later. That sucks. I know I hate it when it feels like I’m being ignored. It’s just hard right now and I’m working on figuring out the balance of my time.

It doesn’t help that there are still dozens of things I want to do with my time and spend my attention on. There’s a new Pokémon game coming out in November that I want to play, I just found that there is a tabletop RPG set in the Dragon Age setting that I want to get, Skyrim is getting remastered and rereleased in October, I already own a bunch of video games that I miss playing, I want to get back into making my own knitting patterns, I have been trying to draw comics again… Even pre-Ivy I would have struggled to have the time to indulge in all those hobbies but now post-Ivy? Haaaaaa.

I remember watching a Penny Arcade video in which Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins were talking about being dads and Mike Krahulik said something to the effect of, “You don’t realize how much time you had to fuck around with until you have a kid.” (Totally paraphrasing here, watch their excellent show to get the actual quote and because it’s fucking awesome.)

I definitely agree with them, though I do find that as time goes on I’m getting better at doing more of the things I like while still primarily taking care of Ivy. Obviously I’m still a total n00b at this whole parenting thing and I don’t mean to present myself as some grizzled veteran who has seen it all. There is still a lot I’m figuring out and as the paragraphs at the beginning of this very post have shown, I am still struggling to find a balance between being a mom and doing the things I still want to do outside of the motherhood sphere.

It’s not a challenge I regret though because parenting is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now. Being able to find a way to balance my hobbies with my most favorite person is worth all the effort because the reward will combine my most favorite things together in (hopefully) harmony. We’ll see how well it ends up working out for me.

Where Is My Line?

Hoo boy I have been absolute shit at posting on here, haven’t I? Not that I’ve ever been super good at posting on here before, I’ve always had an incredibly wonky posting schedule. But man, lemme tell you, having a baby didn’t help me in that regard one little bit.

Case in point: I wrote the above sentences two days ago. It’s harder to keep up with my writing because it’s harder to do if I get trapped breastfeeding or under a sleeping baby. I’m still able to pick up my knitting and maybe get in a few rows but it is much harder to get up and make my way to the computer. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing on my tablet but I don’t have a keyboard for it so I’d have to use the infuriating touch screen and I’m not super excited about that prospect.

I’ve also been wondering about what I do and don’t want to write about here in terms of Ivy. Now I know there are already dozens and dozens of well written think pieces on the subject of mommy-over sharing and they’re all more coherent and well thought out than anything I could fart out here but still. It’s interesting to me. What is and isn’t my story to tell?

And please keep in mind I’m not trying to shit all over anyone who chooses to share a lot of stories about their children. Some of my favorite writers are parents who spin charming tales about their offspring and their own misadventures in parenting. I’m in no way trying to shame or boo anyone who chooses to talk at length about their children. This is just me trying to figure out what I want to do with my own situation.

I have no problems sharing stories about myself. Granted I don’t share EVERYTHING because some stories are sad or mortifyingly embarrassing or so dorky that I’m pretty sure no one would actually be interested in reading them. But most of the time if something weird or funny or odd happens to me I have zero qualms with sitting at the keyboard, hammering out a few hundred words about it, and posting it for anyone to see.

When I want to write a story about Red or Matt (or anyone else I know), I always be sure to ask them first. I’ve learned that I never really know what someone is comfortable with me sharing and many times I’ve been like, “That was hilarious! Too bad they wouldn’t want me to share it.” Only to have Red (or Matt or whoever) go, “I don’t care. Post away.” My only point is that I am not a good judge at what other people find appropriate or inappropriate to share with the internet so I always try to ask before sharing anything. In direct opposition of the old saying, I would much rather ask permission than beg forgiveness.

But what about stories about Ivy? It’s not like I can just plop her down and say, “Hey Ivy, can I tell the internet that hilarious story about you from earlier this week?” Well, okay technically I can ask her that but all I’ll get as an answer right now is some smiles and maybe some burbles and coos. She literally has no idea what I’m saying, let alone what the internet is or what sharing stories about her on it might mean in the future.

I know there are parents out there who feel that when their children get older and/or embarrassed about the stories that Mom or Dad have posted about them they’ll just bring them all down. But to me that shows a level of naiveté about the internet that really makes me sad. Internet caches exist and you never know what people have saved, shared, copied, pasted or reposted elsewhere. Yes your site will be gone or will at least no longer contain those posts but like glitter or a particularly nasty STD they never really go away.

I personally don’t feel comfortable writing a lot of things that are directly about Ivy when I can’t ask her permission. Especially if the stories are particularly embarrassing or revealing. I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable asking if I can share stories with her until she is at least a teenager. Any younger than that and I would feel like she isn’t mature enough to really understand what I am asking. Again, this isn’t to say anything negative about the people who do write these sorts of things. There are so many parenting blogs that I absolutely love and I admire their writing and their bravery in sharing stories that I don’t feel comfortable sharing.

It’s the same sort of envy I feel when I see a woman wearing an absolutely stunning outfit that I would never wear because I wouldn’t feel comfortable in it. The outfit looks amazing on them and they rock it so well that I toy with the idea of imitating them. But then I realize that I would never actually be able to wear it without feeling that skin crawly itchy feeling that I get when I feel uncomfortable. I don’t think they should have to take off the outfit just because I don’t want to wear it. It’s different choices. To take a page from Amy Poehler, “Good for you, not for me.”

So that makes writing on here a little more tricky but not the end of the world. I have lots of other things I can share that don’t involve compromising Ivy’s privacy. Stories about me exclusively as a mother and a new parent are something that I feel completely okay with sharing since those aren’t going to be so much about Ivy as they are about me and the actions I take and the things I feel. I have actually been knitting more and as soon as I find the time and space to block some finished pieces (est. time: December 2017) I will post some photos of those.

I might look into investing in an attachable keyboard for my tablet as well. If I can find a good one that works well, that would allow me to write in bed while feeding Ivy which would give me a lot more opportunities to post. I’m not quite sure what my schedule is gonna be like but I’m going to do my best to keep up because I like writing on here and I want to continue. Now if you’ll excuse me, Matt is looking at me pathetically from the bedroom, holding a crying baby so I think I’m out of time here.