Have you ever heard something, or read something, that just punches you directly in this face? That was me this morning. I’ve been reading Girl, Wash Your Face. And by reading, I mean listening to while pumping/driving/nursing, etc., because God knows I don’t have time to read. If I am being honest, it is a little Jesusy for me…but there are some gems in there, even if you’re not religious. I hadn’t listened to it in weeks, but this morning as I was weepily driving to work for the millionth time I started to listed to one of my favorite distraction podcasts: All Fantasy Everything (which if you are looking for a laugh about absolute nonsense I highly recommend), but then I got a weird urge to pick up where I left off on audible and after a few minutes of random “you can do it girl!” advice she said “Just remember, someone is praying for your chaos” and it legit felt like a blow to the face. In a good way. If that is a thing that exists.
The truth is, to say I have been struggling since going back to work would be the understatement of the century. I cry literally every day, multiple times a day. I’ve always given parents who work another job (and yes that is how I word it because to say working parents or working moms assumes the parenting part is not also a job) a ton of credit. Always seemed like so much to manage and juggle on a daily basis. But I could have never imagined how much, and could have never given as much credit as deserved.
I’ve been told in the past that I seem put together or organized. That I am intimidating, mostly at work. That my house looks perfect. I’ve never thought any of these things were true, but I guess that has been the perception by some. Everything I have felt in the past almost 4 months has been the complete antithesis to those descriptions, even if they were ever true. I am a complete hot mess disaster of a human being who is barely getting up/dressed/eating/talking/thinking. I’ve never been so tired in my entire life. I’ve never been so overwhelmed. I’ve felt at many moments like I was drowning. I’ve thought to myself: How the fuck has anyone ever done this? I’m not cut out for this. I’m going to disappoint so many people. What am I doing? Who even am I?
I’m the person people go to for help. I’m the organized one. I am the get shit done person. I am the over achiever at home and at work. I am the planner. I am the perfect gifts are perfectly wrapped and coordinated under the tree person. The let me make that call, send that email, take that off your plate person.
Current Situation: Where even are my plates? What is a plate? What is the meaning of plates? Can we even afford plates? You don’t need plates if you don’t ever cook right? Person.
I feel completely lost. The only thing I feel like I have a handle on IS the baby. Which I guess is a good thing? I’ve had like 1838492 partial blog posts written in my head in the past few weeks about this, on some version of this, topic and I just couldn’t quite find the time or inspiration to get it started. Or the cojones to be this open. I am not on the struggle bus. I am the CEO and President of the Struggle Bus Corporation.
Kenny and my mom are consistently finding me in some sad ball of tears. I feel guilty about EVERYTHING. I feel guilty being at work and being so tired I can’t say words properly. I feel guilty about running out of the office exactly on time so I can then barely make it “on time” to relieve my baby sitters. I feel bad when I have to work late and the people watching the baby have to stay at my house for over 12 hours. I feel guilty that I have missed bath time and bed time (lol as if there is a bed time but you get it) when I have to work late. I feel guilty that my only snuggle time is when I am up with him in the middle of the night and I would rather snuggle than sleep but I am also so tired. I feel guilty that my mom is also overwhelmed with everything going on in her life but is still helping us all the time. I feel guilty that the baby announcement cards slash thank you card (because when your babe shows up 6 weeks early they become the same thing) are 100 years late and have been sitting on my dining room table waiting to be written and addressed and now they are basically also Christmas Cards. So, Happy Holidays and Introducing my 4 Month Old and Thanks for your gifts, everyone, you’ll get them…eventually. And the handwriting will be trash, but that’s not because I’m tired or stressed, it’s just because my handwriting is trash.
New baby is a whole thing. Going back to work is a whole other thing. If anyone were to ask me, I would tell them hold off on the casseroles and meal deliveries, etc., at the beginning-although those are helpful too. Send food or grocery deliveries or whatever during the first month new parents are back to work. That’s when you really need it (IMHO).
On top of that, there’s all the other things that just happen in life which somehow seem to all pile on together with us. Three major life changes at a time is usually how we roll, and not usually on purpose. My dad’s birthday is in just over a week, and the anniversary of his sudden passing is in a month. These are our first holidays without him and he LOVED holiday celebrations. Particularly, the planning and organizing of the food logistics and extreme overuse of tacky decorations. 🙂 So, this season, while filled with joy and excitement with our new bundle, is also filled with loss and grief of not having my dad to experience it all with us. We are also accidentally house hunting. We bought our adorable house in June 2016, and love it. It would be impossible for me to put into words how much I hated the house hunting and house buying process. It is very competitive where we live, we saw a million houses and lost a million minus 1. And while I think the one we got was great for us, the process took a toll on me because I get emotionally invested in these things and crushed at every “no” phone call. And writing bomb ass “please sell us this house” letters is draining AF. I wrote a bunch.
Now, we are in that boat again because we had always envisioned my parents living with us in some capacity in the future: in law suite, two family set up, or side car as my mom calls it. But, we thought it would be a little more down the road when we would’ve upgraded into a bigger place. Cut to now, where my dad left us earlier and more suddenly then we could have imagined, and my mom is paying way more than she should for a “luxury apartment” that they only lived in for 4 weeks together and she hates. We looked into adding on and it just doesn’t make sense financially with our tiny lot size, so here we are in the middle of the holidays, with a newborn and me one month back at work, trampling around open houses all weekend and private showings on weeknights. As if we have time for that. But once you start getting listings, you can’t help but look! Especially since we now are looking for something pretty specific, with space for mom to deep dive into Animal Planet and Hershey Kisses without being bothered. Of course after one of my MANY emotional breakdowns we decided to take a break from looking until January, but of course fell in love with the last place we saw before said break, offered on it, were told we were the only offer, then lost to another offer that was less money but didn’t need to sell their place. CRUSHED. So, we’re back on a break. Take me off those goddamn MLS emails, my heart and mind can’t handle it.
In the meantime my little nugget gets super sick. Coughing, crying, waking himself up because he can’t breath. Then getting a steroid and having to do the nebulizer every 4 hours so he looks like a tiny, sad darth vader. It makes your heart ache. I have no PTO time, because I needed to take it all to be paid for the second half of my maternity leave. So that just becomes an additional stressor in a stressful scenario. Despite us trying to protect him as much as possible as a vulnerable preemie in the winter, he’s not in a bubble, still got sick and we’ve all been suffering. No one could have ever prepared me for how gut wrenching it is to watch your infant be sick and not be able to help them.
The emotional rollercoaster of life for me for the past few months has basically been Disney’s Rock n’ Roller Coaster if it didn’t have Aerosmith and didn’t have the fun part but did have the speed and fear and some nausea.
Someone is praying for my chaos. Actually, I prayed for my chaos. Not exactly prayed because I am not exactly religious. But, I wished and hoped and begged for “this chaos”. And this is what punched me in the face this morning. As I’ve been writing posts since Liam arrived, and even since we found out Liam existed, I’ve had this other post looming in my head titled something like “These posts are a bummer”. I’ve had in my mind all my fertility warriors who read this blog, and those who don’t even know it exists, and how it is probably a lot to read this. I’m sure some people find hope and comfort when those struggling with fertility issues finally get their miracle baby. But for me, it just hurt. I didn’t find it comforting. I found it sad. People’s success stories didn’t inspire me. Maybe they should have? But, they didn’t. I knew if I was reading my blog before, and then started reading it now, I would be excited for future me, but also just sad. And jealous. With all that in my head this line from the audio book was a light bulb. Someone is praying for this chaos. All of it. I remember being so annoyed at coworkers or acquaintances complaining about packing lunches or preschool shows or soccer practice or whatever and being like I would KILL to have to do that stuff. And while my blog is supposed to be honest and transparent and vulnerable, but not complaining per se, STILL. Someone is praying for this chaos. In fact I know some of those someones.
Now, this doesn’t negate the stress, the guilt, the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. Having perspective doesn’t mean those feelings completely disappear and don’t exist. I am still a disaster. I am still struggling going back to work. I don’t actually see that change, ever, or anytime soon. But last time I checked, until or unless I magically become independently wealthy (or I am able to turn this blog into a dope ass book…any publishers reading this right now???? Hook me UP), not working is not really an option. So, I’m going to have to figure this shit out somehow.
But I’ve come to realize that I can be completely and totally grateful, in awe and blessed that we have this adorable, smirky little squish that I never could have imagined. And comepletely and totally overwhelmed to have to figure out how to manage this new life, and this new self, that I don’t understand at all. And as my friend Ashley from Feel.Fire.Flow told me (check it out, she’s amazing) said: You can’t give 100% to everything, you only have ONE 100%. A friend posted this meme the other day and it resonated so much for me:
Society puts a lot of pressure on us and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. But my current goal is to remember: balance isn’t a thing, someone is praying for my chaos AND I only have one 100%. And whenever a day feels like it is just too much, my baby is cute AF and I can just stare at him if I want. ❤
One thought on “Someone’s Praying for Your Chaos”
Great reflection Colleen… so much I identify with especially in my early years as a mom. We prayed for all the same things!! And I felt the same way. You will get through, stronger and better. As you describe your “hot mess”, I would be a puddle when my husband would walk in late at night after coaching whatever sport was in season… and I would also describe myself as a disaster. His response… I was his “beautiful disaster.” No lie, sometimes it is always hard. You don’t have anybody fooled… because there is nothing to fool them on. You are still that rockstar, problem solver, team player, supporter of everyone, mother, spouse, daughter. Give yourself time to breathe, think, and cry because it works to get the stress out. If I could go back and talk to my 39-year-old self (when we had our first child) going through all these things you describe, I would tell me to cut myself some slack. I am sending you good juju and prayers… you got this.
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