My alarm goes off every weekday at 6:15am, but I don’t need it. I have already been up since 5:45am, like clockwork because since pregnancy that has been my “pee time”. No matter when I have my last glass of liquid or how many times I pee before bed that is the time my bladder decides that it needs to relieve itself.
I groggily make my way to the bathroom to shower, brush my teeth, get dressed and do my hair and make-up. By 7am I hear my husband’s alarm go off and I am ready to go – but I can’t just walk out the door and head off to work and start my day because there is another sound I have been faintly hearing for the last 10 minutes. It’s the sound of my son babbling in his bedroom ready and waiting for me to burst into his room with a big smile and a very cheery “Good Morning!”
No matter how crappy I feel, no matter how tired I am, no matter how deep the hole from which I just crawled out from, I always want to make sure he starts his day with a smile and a cheery Good Morning from his Mama. Some mornings he’s just as cheery, and some he too is tired and groggy but our day still has to begin. I scoop him up and give him the biggest hug I have been dying to give him for the last 12 hours, because as much as I do enjoy the few quiet moments I have after he goes to bed and all the “chores” are done, I still miss him and want to go and snuggle him and play with him. It makes me feel a little bi-polar sometimes, this yearning for “me” time, but this need/want to always be with him. I ask him how he slept, I am not sure of his answer. He’s only just over a year and a half and let’s face it, even if I think he has a vast vocabulary for his age he’s still “baby talking” a lot of the time or merging a bunch of nonsensical words together, like this morning “Pouch peanut butter Elmo moo cow. Yes, snow. Oooo Paw Patrol bum No Odd Squad cuddle”. He must be my kid because even though it makes no sense he talks a mile a minute.
We do the usual tasks, bum change, crying over bum change, get dressed, crying over getting dressed because he wants to be a nudist and then we cuddle on the couch for 15 – 20 minutes watching TVOkids while he has his “bub” (I am still nursing).
This is my favorite part of my day. He is the one who climbs up on my lap and lays his head against my chest. If I don’t stroke his hair, he grabs my hand and puts it there as a sort of reminder. And then after a few minutes he pulls out his “SueSue” (soother) and looks up at me and in the cutest little voice says “Bub?” to which I reply “Which bub?” and he smiles and then taps my chest and says “This bub”. By this time it’s 7:15am and I know I only have another 10 minutes with him like this before the next fight begins.
The rush to get out the door starts at 7:25am. The TV going off is the cue for the fireworks to begin, although recently I learned that if I offer him “Juice” which is really 80% water 20% apple juice, we can avoid the tantrum. I have come to the conclusion recently that Henry just does not like clothes…it seems like every “fight” we have involves dressing or undressing, but once the task is complete he is back to his happy self. I struggle to get his boots, hat and coat on, while grabbing my morning shake and trying to find my phone, ear phones, purse, wallet, keys, gloves, sanity. By this time my husband is out of the bathroom and is distracting him so I can do the Houdini switch taking the “juice” and replacing it with his “SueSue” and then we all walk out the door. We say our goodbyes at the underground door and I walk off to my car as he goes with his father to be dropped off at Daycare.
I love what I do; I am good at what I do. And I really like my new job, no ass kissing, just truth. I feel like everything I worked for and all the great mentoring I received at my last job helped me to get here and I basically found my dream job where I am going to be blogging and working on social media strategies, and digital marketing. The company I work for has a plan in place that literally has me salivating and excited to be a part of. But the whole time I think of him. Even though I know he is in great hands, with someone I believe loves him and is nurturing and fun – I still miss him. I know he is safe, but I worry about him.
I have to stop myself a thousand times a day from calling/texting to check on him. I have to regulate myself to one call/text a week to check on him. I check my personal email 5 times a day and wait for Facebook notifications from my daycare provider hoping there is a picture of him so I can see his face. I don’t see his face enough everyday anymore. I feel guilty for leaving him, because I wanted this career. I worked damn hard for it. But I also wanted him, and I worked damn hard for him too.
Do men feel this guilt? Do they feel caught between two worlds, wanting them both and having them both exhaust you at the same time?
I spend 9.5 hours away from Henry. 9.5 hours I miss his laugh, his babble, his “sit with me”, his smile, and his tears. 9.5 hours I am with grownups, doing grown-up things. 9.5 hours of time where he could have learned a new word or a new skill. I missed it. Mama was working. And Mama is not done.
My second favorite time of my day is our walk home from the car to the door in the underground. This is where he skips alongside me, holding my “fingers” as he says, because his hands are too small to wrap around mine. And he babbles again about his day, I catch words like “puzzle” and “ball” or he will start singing a song he learned like at Christmas he learned jingle Bells. I know he won’t want or need my “fingers” forever.
When we get home at about 5:20pm I can’t sit down and play with him because dinner needs to be made and most nights it’s 2 dinners, one for me and my husband and one for him. By 6:00pm Henry is eating dinner and then every other night I need to run his bath, if my husband is home he will do it, but he works late most nights. I bathe him and get him ready for bed and then we have another “Bub” and cuddle. By 6:45pm Henry is saying “Night, night” to all of his stuffed animals and other inanimate objects in our house like the light switch and pictures of “baby Henry” that are on our walls. We kiss him and hug him and tell him we love him and good night. I sometimes hold him a few minutes longer because he is really hugging me back and I don’t want to let go. I lay him in his crib and he rolls over on his side immediately snuggling into his blankets for the night.
But I’m not done yet. I go back to cooking dinner, and then I try and do a load of laundry or tidy the living room or the bathroom, otherwise the house becomes a disaster. I have already usually put the dishes away, I let my husband reload the dishwasher and clean the kitchen after dinner. And then I sit. It’s usually 9-9:30pm by the time I get to sit and do nothing.
I sit and I look at pictures or videos. I check in with Facebook and I check out with television. I am spent. I don’t have the energy to make my lunch for the next day, but some days I try. Some nights I take a shower, so I can decompress, and it’s less effort then a bath. And some nights I literally do not move off of the couch. And I miss him, and I wish I could go in and wake him up so he can cuddle with me on the couch and watch Despicable Me or Nemo for the millionth time. I think that is why I take so many pictures and videos of him, so in the moments I miss him I can look at his face on my phone.
And before I know it, it’s between 10:30 and 11:00pm so I go wash my face. And on my way back to bed I go in his room one last time to check to see if he is breathing and to brush my hand over his head. I tell him he is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I love him and then and only then can I finally go to bed.
The next day I do it all over again.