Doing nothing.

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I want to do so many things. I make a lot of lists. I wake up and jot down to-dos in my planner (yes, I still have a paper day planner). Exercise! Finish that Shutterfly book of Shepard’s first year! Make a playdate with so and so! Write a blog post! Get in touch with all your clients and set a date to return to work part-time! Sort that mountain of papers on your desk! How come most days I end up doing nothing? Well, not nothing, just nothing on that list. I have to do so many things just to keep the household running that I don’t accomplish anything else.

IMG_4498I want to do things for me but end up only doing things as Mommy. My schedule goes as follows – “wake up” which I write in quotes because I never fully go to sleep with this baby bothering me all night, change diapers, make the coffee, prepare breakfast for Shepard, nurse Pippa, scoop the litter box, take Shep to school (Tues & Thurs), the rest of the days amuse him in some way until nap time at 12:30 or 1. Make lunch. Downtime from Shep for a couple hours, This is the part of the day when I could do one of the things on my list but usually I lie down and will Pippa to sleep so I can nap and/or watch Sons of Anarchy (I’m on Season 4).

IMG_4062Then Shep wakes up from nap. I make snacks, change more diapers, put in a load of laundry, fold clothes and endless towels, rags, diapers. Around 5 I begin to think about what to make for dinner. We play outside in the dirt or if I’m in the middle of something I let him watch one of his shows on the iPad. I wear Pippa around in the sling until my neck and shoulders ache. Feed Shep dinner while making another dinner for Alan and me (to be eaten after kids are asleep. I want this to eventually become family dinner when the kids are older but for now I covet our adult time).

Next it’s time to start “Nite Nite Routine” starting with bath time which Shepard invariably pees in. Midway through I dip Pippa in for a few minutes to get the sour milk smell off her neck, brush teeth, baby massage for both kids, diapers, PJs, stories in Mommy’s bed for Shep while nursing Pippa or briefly ignoring her while she cries in the other room so I can give Shep special Nite Nite time. Then one more short book in Shep’s big boy bed, give him his baba (which he’s not supposed to have anymore), lights out. Phew! Then I finish making dinner and wait for Alan to get home. Finally I pour myself a glass of wine and I hear “I want to go in my crib!” or “I need more baba!” Almost every night lately Shep has one of those requests about 10 minutes after I put him down.

IMG_3551 2By now it’s close to 9pm and I think, what did I do today? Nothing beyond feeding, clothing, amusing children, preparing food and cleaning/tidying/laundry/grocery shopping. This is my job. The hours stink but hey, the pay is terrible. Ba dum bum. I am not trying to say, poor me. I always wanted to be a mother and I love those two little people so much it hurts to look directly at them. But there are many days that I feel I’m losing myself. Whole chunks of me are being starved.  I love to teach, write, paint, run, go to yoga and see friends and I rarely do any of that. Right at this moment Shepard is at school and Pippa is asleep. I was going to go to my mommy yoga class but decided to sit down and write for a bit. I wanted to do both today but there is only time for one. Looking around the house, it’s a disaster so I really should be sweeping/mopping/vacuuming/laundering before Shep gets home but I feel I have to seize this moment.

I beat myself up so much for not doing more. I want to go back to work part-time. So far I’ve only pulled off teaching one hour a week on Saturdays. I still don’t feel I can leave Pippa for more than 3 hours because she’s just breastfeeding and isn’t good with the bottle. I want to write my blog a few days a week. I think of topics I want to write about all the time. I want to finish the painting I started of Alan and Shepard months ago as well as a whole bunch of other ones I think about starting. I want to work on my body. I love going deep with Pilates, getting a sweaty yoga practice in, running and swimming. I love being super fit and I’m not getting there by doing mommy yoga and Pilates once a week.

Why can’t I pack more into each day, you ask? I don’t know! Why can’t I wake up earlier before the kids to exercise and write during their naps and stay up late to paint? I’m so freaking tired all the time. I have so many mom friends who work full time and exercise and see friends and and and. I don’t know how they do it. I want to do so many things yet I end up doing nothing beyond what has to be done for basic survival and I’m still exhausted! So, I’m trying to come to terms with what I should be doing versus what I’m actually doing. Am I happy being a stay-at-home mom? Is it enough? If I’m not doing all these things I supposedly want to do, do I really want to do them? Or do I just think I need to want to do them? Huh?

Did I mention I am so sleep deprived that a lot of the time I feel drunk or wonder if I’m actually even awake? I guess my point is, without a housekeeper and nanny, my job is to run my household and make sure my children are clothed, fed, napped and happy. At this point in their lives that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for my own pursuits. But I just wrote this blog post, so there! So what if it took me two weeks because before when I said Pippa was asleep, well she woke up a few minutes later and when she’s awake she expects to be entertained with interesting sounds, faces and dances nonstop.

IMG_4061Motherhood is humbling. Actually, being a human is humbling. We’re all doing the best we can to survive. I know this period of having little little kids is such a blip and one day I’ll look back and long for this relentless drudgery. As I just wrote that my Pippa reached up for my face with her little baby hands and gave me the sweetest, two toothed baby smile. Now I feel like a huge jerk for calling caring for this angel drudgery. I do love it. I would just really really like some sleep and perhaps a part-time nanny.

4 Comments
  • Tamar

    Reply

    This was such a good post, Molly. Real, funny, poignant. I have so many thoughts about it. First, just that even though I’m not a mom yet, I can relate to the idea that there are times in our lives when we feel like we can’t fit in all parts of ourselves…that things are way out of balance. I also think trying to keep life in balance is a losing battle. Everything is out of balance, all of the time. And, as you said, this period of time is just a blip, it’s temporary. At the same time, I feel like everything is totally out of perspective with sleep deprivation. You don’t sound like you’ve lost perspective at all, but I wonder if there’s a way for you to get a tiny bit more sleep and some part-time help (shared nanny?) as you mention? I also love your line about whether you are simply thinking you need to want to do things. It sounds like you are very much in touch with what you need and want! I’m glad you wrote this post and I look forward to the next one, even if it’s two months from now 🙂

    • mollynilesrenshaw

      Omg Tamar, I missed your comment until today! After this last post which wasn’t two months ago but 8 (!) I sort of abandoned the blog. I just didn’t seem to have to mental clarity to write for months. I found that I miss it and am working on a comeback – writing new posts and giving the whole blog a much needed facelift. Thank you for your kind words. I’m so happy for you. You’re so close to joining the crazy world of being a mom. It is truly the best even if you live in a fog for a while. It was so great to see you Saturday in your pregnant glory! Thanks for being so supportive! xx

  • Lucy Martin

    Reply

    Well said Molly! I’m right there with you sister. You’re doing great! Know that what you ARE doing is huge & that your nuggets will be all the better for it. Before you go to bed (or attempt to anyway), make a conscious decision to do 1 small thing for yourself the following day. Even if it’s 10 minutes of meditation or painting. Write down the things you’d love to do in order of preference & choose 1 a day even if only for a few minutes. I am the worst at this but am trying to do the same because the few times I do, what a difference it makes in my mood & with my boys. I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately, experiencing similar feelings, like I’m a hamster running in circles on that wheel. Somewhere along the way I consciously decided to stop the thought that I’m not doing enough, creep in. It doesn’t serve us & for me it creates a mental roadblock. Believe me, I am in no position to be giving advice. I just related so much to what you shared I thought it would be a good excuse to say hi & give you a mama-boost. Keep things realistic & consistent & know that every day you are successfully filling little Shepard & Pippa’s souls with with love, humor & the confidence to follow their lovely individual personalities. You are incredible! xLucy

    • mollynilesrenshaw

      And Lucy! Ay yai yai. I wrote this and seemingly walked away from the computer for 8 months! Thank you for your insights. I know you feel me – having twins is double the trouble! I like that idea of doing one small but concrete thing a day to feel like you’re doing “something”. Thanks for reading and I would love to see you someday, catch up and see those gorgeous boys of yours!
      xx

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