Out of Sorts/Quarter-OK-30ish-Life-Crisis-Maybe?

I realized a few weeks ago that I have spent years in the pursuit of conception, pregnancy, postpartum, or infancy survival. Literally YEARS. Surely that kind of uterus gazing cannot be healthy. So I tried to think about myself not as a proud owner/operator of a uterus or as a mother, but as an individual, and consider what I would list as a hobby or interest, if asked, (not that I have been asked, but conceivably there might be a situation in which I was asked such a question) and I could not think of a single thing.

Guys. Have I become a conservative’s dream woman, aka a walking uterus? (No, because: the gay. But still, moving dangerously into that territory.)

Maybe I’m feeling this acutely right now because I’ve been so heavily in toddler mode. (I typed out a whole breakdown of my day here but it was so boring I had to delete it.) Tammy’s working really hard on her master’s program right now, so the bulk of the childcare falls to me.

Maybe I’m having a some-time-in-life-crisis? Maybe it’s normal to feel this way as a mother?

It’s so incredibly frustrating, because I adore my daughter. She is funny, and smart, and of course stunningly, achingly adorable, and trust me when I tell you that I very clearly remember all of the blood, sweat, tears, and credit cards we went through to have her with us.

But is it so bad to want more from life? Is it so bad to want Ellie, but also want friends? Is it so bad to crave baby snuggles/board books/squeals of laughter with pretentious intellectual debates in coffee shops, hipster glasses optional? Is it so bad that I simultaneously love the expression on Ellie’s face when I go into her room in the morning, and desperately, achingly want to check into a hotel, eat and drink massively marked up room service and then sleep until noon? Is it so wrong that I love feeling her head heavily rest on my shoulder as I put her to bed at night, and feel, well, trapped by the schedule of naptime, bedtime, snack, bottle, etc., etc., etc.?

So speak to me, o wise women of the internet. How do you deal with the push and the pull of being both an individual person and a mother? Going guilt free? (how?!??) Medication? (Which one(s)??!) Occasional weekend babysitter?? (Not actually a bad idea…) School me in your ways.

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Reward

I’m not into punishment. Wait. That came out wrong. Let me re-phrase.

When I was a kid, the possibility that I would get in trouble (if caught – I was kind of a bad kid) wasn’t much of a deterrent. I would smart talk my parents, have temper tantrums, etc. KNOWING that I was going to get in trouble, and carry on anyway. As a teen, I got up to all kids of inappropriate and illegal activities, almost as a dare to the universe. “Go ahead and have me crash the car/get arrested/die. See if I care!” I was what you might call, ummm… defiant.

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Basically what I looked like, ages 10-20. Except for the whole being world famous part.

On the flip side, I respond very well to positive reinforcement, aka rewards. I always have been, and continue to be, very into pleasure. Ok, that ALSO sounds wrong. Get your minds out of the gutter. It can be little or big things, but I need something good waiting on the other side to get myself through unpleasant/painful/sad things. It can be little – knowing I have a dumb TV show to watch at lunch on Monday can help me get out of bed Monday morning. Having a bowl of ice cream to look forward to after my injections. And those things are innocuous, I don’t worry about them so much. I think it’s normal to look forward to things, and if that helps me get through the day, great.

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Helllooo, I showed up! Where’s my reward?!

But I sometimes feel extremely childish for needing an immediate reward. Don’t “they” say that the definition of adulthood is delayed gratification? I guess I’m not an adult then. Because intellectually I KNOW the real reason I’m going to work on Monday morning is because we need the money, and I’m lucky to have a job that pays me as well as it does. Intellectually I KNOW the real reason I’m doing these injections is so we can have a baby. I KNOW. Big picture, y’all. I got it. So why can’t my mind catch up to what my brain knows? Why am I so stuck on this cycle of dreading something unpleasant, doing something unpleasant, getting a reward, feeling better, then starting the dread again?