My eye slides through the crack in the door. The laser like line of vision scans the wee bumps of my baby’s back. I hold my breath as I look for hers. I don’t see it. I don’t see the rise and fall. My peripheral vision goes white and all sound is sucked out as I open the door and stumble towards our bed. I start to feel my head lighten and breath go as I look harder at her back. Then I see it, the little expansion of tiny ribs as she breathes.
I almost fainted because I thought my child had stopped breathing.
Awesome, Lara. Make another victim.
I went on a training backpacking trip, it rained for eleven of the thirteen days. Each day we would get into camp late. Night had already fallen, we were wet, cold, and tired. We would be stumbling around like zombies collecting firewood and making shelters. Everyone in my group would just keep going. One night I thought, ‘this is dumb,’ and I stood creaky on my boots behind a tree and peeled off my sodden clothes and put on the clothes that I had been keeping dry in my pack. The warm cloth gave me energy allowed me to complete the chores necessary before dinner and bed. I learned that I need to take care of myself if I want to do a job well. Stumbling around, in unfocused headlamp beam, with numb hands and head was only making the job of setting up camp harder. If I took five minutes and got warm I could do it faster, happier, and better.
Of course as parents we should take care of ourselves. What does that mean? And how much?
In this country of ‘I’ everything. What does that mean? A friend in bible study said sometimes she gets a few hours of time away from her kids, and then she just wants more. We all laughed. Oh, how we get that.
Today at the library book sale the volunteer cashier cooed over my sweet little girls and then handed me a flier for an author lecture. She said,
“Maybe a chance for mom to get a night away,” I smiled. We’ve all been there. In this, the trenches of parenting. What she didn’t know is that last night I’d been out to drinks with a friend to celebrate my birthday. I’d been tempted to call it off, to cocoon after a long day, but Scott looked at me, out of the corner of his eye, over a baby’s shoulder and said,
“You should go.” And I did.
Then today Emma was cute. She was sweet. We had nice moments together. I wasn’t worn to a nub, snapping at her every motion.
I do a few things to make sure that I take care of myself. Now that I’m feeling more and more back to normal after pregnancy I have the energy to run in the morning before Scott leaves for work. That’s changing in to my dry clothes, so I can get work done.
Nap time. Those few hours, or hour, that both are girls are asleep in the afternoon. The past few days I have spun a bit. Not knowing how to spend my time. Get necessary chores done? Like calling the cable company to dispute a bill? Sorting baby clothes? Sweeping the entryway? Or take care of myself by doing the creative things that ping pong about my head all day long? Paint? Work on an illustration? Write?
How much time do you spend on yourself? How much is just good self care, and then how much is being selfish?