wake up, fling off the covers, fly out of bed, glance at red numbers on clock. listen for crying. not sure if i really hear crying or if i am imagining it. wonder if night nanny is on top of things. tiptoe down to check. everything is fine. go back to bed. restless. waiting for sleep, brain ticking through lists. feeling guilty.
i should not have a night nanny, it’s lazy and indulgent and my baby needs me. i should be able to handle this. after all, i had twins last time. but i know without sufficient sleep i get progressively worse, more depressed, snappy, irritable, teary.
izzy pads down the hall and calls for me at the entrance to our room, “mommy?” more guilt crashes over me. she knows when someone else is in the house and counts the number of nights the nanny comes. as is our routine, i guide her back to bed, kiss her, warn her sternly not to wake me again, especially on a night we have the nanny (when we are paying for my sleep). i feel badly because i haven’t been as much of a mommy to her lately. i should make more time for her and her sister. but there is no time. it’s all about the baby. part of me knows i can’t help that, yet i’m convinced if i was doing things right, she wouldn’t wake up, wouldn’t be having issues. but that is my fault, too; like mother, like daughter.
piles of laundry stare up at me. hampers scream my name. empty pantry calls out for reinforcements. there is no real dinner. the dog reeks and hasn’t had a walk in who knows how long. i haven’t washed the sheets on our bed in over a month. we have a fruit fly problem. there are bottles everywhere. spilled powdered formula, gritty and messy and a constant reminder that i failed at breastfeeding. which is yet another thing to feel guilty about. piper has reflux. she is on medication. she cries and arches and spits up and i feel every bit of it–like it’s happening to me. my breasts ache and leak for her. i put her on my shoulder and listen to her baby breathing, sniffles and snorts and sighs in my ear. my hair mingles with hers. and even in the sweetest moments like this, i can’t set aside all the other things that need doing. i can’t just sit and enjoy my daughter fully and completely. there is always something else gnawing at me.
i should be better at this. i should be fine. it’s only one baby this time.
when the baby sleeps, i do things. i empty the dishwasher. i take out the trash. i pay bills. i scoop dog shit. i load the dishwasher. i write thank-you notes. i fold clean clothes. i write grocery lists. i forget important things. i obsessively wipe countertops until i just can’t do it one more time. i organize things. i write notes to the girls’ teachers. I sign field trip permission slips. i put together treat bags for their classes’ holiday parties. i empty their folders and weed through all the crap that comes home from school. i pack the girls’ lunches. or i don’t–and then they eat crappy school food (more guilt, especially since it makes my life easier). the house is a mess and it makes me want to climb the walls. i smell like spit up and baby poop. i haven’t showered in three days and have been wearing the same pair of black sweatpants that whole time, too. if i do have time to shower, i lack the energy. i want to curl up in bed in the dark and never get up. i want to sleep and sleep and sleep some more. i want to eat a breakfast without a baby in one arm. i am selfish. remember when i couldn’t even have a baby? piper is our red bean, our miracle, for fuck’s sake. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? so many people can’t even get pregnant or have children. i am the lucky one.
my bottom half hurts. i am not healed, which makes all this harder. i am not back to my old self. i miss me. my body sags. i am in pieces, literally and figuratively, and everybody wants one. there isn’t enough to go around. i feel selfish having a night nanny. that alone should be the key to keeping my shit together. i get sleep, so why can’t i do it all?
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?