11 April 2008

About a Girl

(The first in a series about the adjustments this first-time mom is having to make to her life. Enjoy.)

In the movie About a Boy, Hugh Grant's character, Will, divides his time into "units," where each unit is equal to 30 minutes. Exercising (i.e., playing pool) = 1 unit. Having his hair carefully discheveled = 2 units. My life has similarly been divided into units, albeit ones that don't include having my hair carefully discheveled.

My units are longer: 3 hours. But each one is pretty much the same. They all start with feeding Rhett. He's breastfed for about 30 minutes and then we supplement with formula; this takes another 15-30 minutes. After this, Rhett has some "awake time." Given his age (three weeks today), I'm not sure how to best fill this time (any thoughts?), but it's usually about 45 minutes. The remaining time, while Rhett naps (about 60-90 minutes), in this unit is spent either sleeping, reading the paper, showering, completing chores, internetting, walking, or eating. Once the unit is done, it's repeated...again and again and again.

This has been really hard for me. I am a girl who loves to cross things off lists. But my lists used to be more ambitious: finish that
hat (or any random project), cook something new, go grocery shopping, etc. But now I have to be content knowing I found time to vacuum my small apartment.

I guess it all comes down to "lowering my expectations." Yes, I said lowering. This is a great lesson that I'm trying to learn from my
sister. On one camping trip with her cute family, my sis, an avid camper and hiker, had visions of hiking much and doing fun things. However, her little boys had different plans. She then decided that she had to lower her expectations or else she was going to be the one disappointed. That she was able to pack up a family's worth of stuff and make it to a campground should be the goal, not completing that four-hour hike.

So I'm trying to incorporate this into my new life. I should feel accomplished when I not only found time to shower, but shaved the legs as well! Speaking of, I better go...

(I couldn't resist...)


d&a said...

em is wise and it sounds like you are catching on about the expectations bit. that is 100% true. before zig, in my five years of marriage i never made my bed unless my ma was coming over and even if she was, sometimes i didn't get around to doing it. well, now that i have a little babe i make my bed daily. why you might ask...because it is a small task. i know that if i can get that one simple thing done then i have accomplished at least SOMEthing during the day. even if the rest of my "to do today" list goes down the crapper!
i freshly remember the days of the 3 hour routine that seemed like all i did was breast feed the entire time. it takes a while but things will get much better i promise. (people would tell me this and i had no faith in them)
you are doing a great job mama h, hang in there!

emily said...

gosh, where to start? i don't know.

maybe let some housework projects go undone - like vacuuming, and, instead, do something more "fun." of course you might not have much time to start, work, and finish something, but maybe you could at least do one part of a "fun" project. although having a clean house is nice - perhaps pass that off to chuck once in a while (because i know chuck is great in helping you out when you ask him).

i also think when you and the babes can get out more, it'll be better. and when you can exercise, it will get better. it feels so good to just do something that is totally FOR YOU. it doesn't happen that often.

yes, the lowering expectations have saved me. also, another thing that helps me and goes along with this (which some people might say is being negative - i just call it realistic) is realzing that when i do stuff that I, EMILY, want to do it usually ends up twice the work and 1/2 the fun. hehe. but it still is FUN and so you still have things, tons of things, to look forward to.

gosh, i should have just called you!

LOVE the picture by the way.

Living in Tally said...

love the picture and i can totally relate to emily with the 1/2 the fun thing. it is strange to have to make a conscious effort at times to be in the moment and just enjoy.

Niederfam said...

welcome to mothering an INFANT, don't worry, you then move into the "buddy phase," and you will pack that cute little kiddo all over town until nap time, so the units do change over time, but they are still "units." it's all part of the living for the moment...ENJOY, i know it's so cliche but it really does go faster than you think! and when you do have "e" time, it will be all the better, if you ask me!!!

holly said...

it will get easier. I did the whole "hour feeding cycle" as well, nursing and then supplementing (until around 3mo). I'm an avid reader, so I became adept at reading a book while breastfeeding and that helped me feel like I got some "me" time in that day. once he gets to the 6week/2mo phase when they have 3 solid naps during the day it's nice. you can nap for one and play for two!

Nicole said...

I totally know what you mean. I felt exactly the same way. it's like if you get showered and that's all you did that day, wow, i guess that means you've accomplished something. echoing everyone else: luckily it does get better!!!