I mentioned earlier that I feel bad asking my husband to help parent our child. It’s the stupidest thing, to feel guilt if she cries when he’s taking care of her. She cries for me too. She’s her own little person and we can’t necessarily control her. But for some reason I feel an intense level of pressure to make his job as simple as possible. I should probably be heaping on tons of daddy/daughter time for him right now because soon he’ll be in the throes of busy season at work. (He’s a CPA in public accounting. January-May we don’t get much quality time together.)
When I feel this guilt I sometimes think to myself, “At least I don’t live in an earlier decade where the fathers really didn’t do much to help out.” But sometimes I wonder if that was easier. The wife knew her roles were to raise the kids and keep the house together. The husband had his role to leave the house to earn money. These days we’ve got way too much pressure on women to “have it all.” So I’m supposed to do traditional mom tasks, I’m supposed to plan our menus and cook our meals, clean the house and work a full-time job. As well as various side projects that I’ve taken on: blogging, web development work for others, coaching. And my husband has the traditional man roles, work and take care of garage/yard stuff. But even that line gets blurred with me pitching in on some of the tasks, but just ask him how many times he’s cleaned the toilets in the past several years.
I just feel overwhelmed. I already had to turn down coaching Team Challenge for this next season, which depressed me but it’s also logical. I think I need to pare down for Alex’s whole first year. I can’t do everything I did before and pile on baby care, because parenting comes with a whole host of duties. It’s not just one new task, it’s about 8000 new things. Something has to give.
- I’m going to have to plan more meals that make leftovers. My hubby doesn’t care for leftovers much, but I can’t be making full meals every night of the week. Especially when his schedule is so unpredictable I never know when he’ll be home. Got any good casserole recipes that are easy to re-heat and would make leftovers, preferably ones that aren’t full of cream/dairy and tomatoes?
- No coaching this year. At least, nothing until Alex is a year old and I’ll re-evaluate. I will still make the time to get my first aid and CPR certifications renewed when they expire later this year so that I can retain my coaching certification with RRCA. But I can’t deal with the stress of coaching.
- Perhaps I need to re-think my distance running plans. I was hoping to run at least 4 half marathons this year. But right now I’m struggling to think how I’m going to get my training completed. I’ve recently read a couple of posts from other bloggers and they expressed some of those same types of feelings in regard to running and that first year of motherhood. Yes, there are some women out there that get back into the game, race halfs/fulls quickly and frequently after having a baby. But there are a good chunk of us that are just daunted at that task.
- Be more flexible with my work schedule. If I have to make up an hour or so of work after Alex goes to sleep, I’ll do that. If it enables me to get in a workout during the day and spend time with her, it’s worth it.
- Try to relax. I’ve been telling myself this for years. I honestly have no idea how to relax, I’m a very high-strung person. But I need to relax. I have a Massage Envy membership and I have a ton of pre-paid massages stored up. The trouble is that I have no idea when to use them with work and mommy-ing. Especially when my husband is away from the home for work for long hours. Perhaps instead of working after she goes to bed I should take bubble baths instead to aid relaxation.
So traditional family roles have evolved from what they used to be. And every family is unique anyway, so what may be “traditional” for one family is not for another. I just need to figure out what our “traditional” is now that we’re parents!
Could you maybe talk to Kevin about taking on some of those tasks like cleaning the toilets? 🙂 OR…you know what we did when Elliora was a baby that made me feel guilty at first but which was AMAZINGLY AWESOME? We hired a housecleaning service to come in at least once a month and clean the house, top to bottom. It feels a little weird, I’ll admit, but it’s also soooooo wonderful. A team of professionals can clean in a couple of hours what it would take me a couple of days to do without having kids underfoot. And it just decreased the stress levels so much for both me and Troy at a time when he was working long hours and couldn’t be home to help. It didn’t magically make the house stay clean all the time, but for a week or two afterwards it made it much easier to keep things straightened up (yes, housecleaners even straighten up the clutter! they don’t always arrange it in exactly the same way you might, but it’s still a big help) and then by the time things were getting out of control again, I knew the house would be cleaned again soon. We used Maid Brigade (which is a green company that uses enviromentally friendly child- and pet-safe cleaners) and were always really happy with them. Also, you’re right!
Let Kevin spend as much time with Alex as he can right now, before he’s swamped with work. It’s good for her, too, to spend time with her daddy, not just good for you and Kevin! Maybe go see a movie or have lunch with a friend? I know how hard it is to make yourself do that when you have a baby–believe me, I really do–but whenever I did it I always feel so much calmer.
Finally, I don’t know if you watched Stargate SG-1 at all (I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin did), but your comments about not being very good at relaxing made me think of this. 🙂
bethany actually I keep thinking about a cleaning service. I feel guilty for considering it! 😛 But it definitely sounds like it would be a huge burden off my shoulders. I just looked at the Maid Brigade site, I think I’ll fill out a request for an estimate!
I had lunch with a friend recently and we both had our babies with us. We spent the entire meal trying to keep little hands out of our food. At the conclusion we decided that it was good, but we also need to have time without the girls too. And I can see that it would make me calmer, I can’t even begin to convey how much better I felt taking time to go to some races this week and that caused me so much guilt and anxiety before hand!
I don’t watch Stargate SG-1, but I can see that being applied to me.
The traditional Mom did not have a full time job! Crock pots are amazing for dinners, with left overs!
Random other super easy dinner: get two bags of frozen stir fry veggies, cook in a skillet or wok, add some tofu and stir fry sauce, serve over brown rice. Great leftover and takes about 20 minutes, besides the rice.
Do you have a stir fry sauce brand you particularly like/recommend? I love stir fries.
House of Tsang is my favorite. They have several varieties, we have tried 3 and they were all good.
Here is another blogger’s entry regarding the same issue of training and being a new mom:
Life balance is never easy, so just try to take each day one at a time. You will do great!
@Jaclyn Thank you, for the link and encouraging words!
On casseroles: my trick (since it’s just my husband and me in the house, and he’s away on work right now) is to use loaf pans to make them in. I’ll make a regular recipe (since it can be hard to figure out how to cut the ingrdients in half correctly), but prepare them into two or three loaf pans instead of one big lasagna type pan. Then I either freeze the loaf pan, uncooked, or in some cases, cook it half way (if the ingredient doesn’t freeze well, like eggplant). We eat one loaf pan for dinner that night, and then I can make a new dish the next night. Meanwhile, we end up with a few days worth of yummy dinners ready to be cooked for days when I don’t want to do the cooking or when I’m really busy. Typically, one loaf pan is enough for dinner, and many times I’ll still have a little leftover for lunch the next day.
I do a similar thing with breakfasts- I’m a terrible breakfast eater, but if I make South Beach quiche cups every other week or so, I can grab a cup or two in the morning, tuck it into my work bag and eat when I get hungry.
Maybe that’ll help! It’s challenging to cook for a small family or couple!
BetsyT The loaf pans! Brilliant! I don’t know why I never thought to create a regular size casserole divided into smaller pans!
I am so glad to see you are still blogging. And happy we have stayed in touch via FB during my hiatis. I don’t think I ever told you, but I love when you talk about your daughter because Alex is one of my favorite girls names. I love the way it sounds when I read it!
I stumbled across your site today. I’m looking forward to reading your other blog posts. I swam competively in high school and college but only exercised occasionally after graduating. After my daughter was born 12/2011 I decided I not only wanted to lose the weight (I gained 60lbs) but I signed up for my first 5k at 6 months PP. I was hooked. I did another 5k at 7 months and then I did my first half at 9 months PP. But I’m a teacher so I had the summer off to train. Since school restarted my miles have dropped off but I’m really hoping to make myself run more so I can run a marathon in May. Do you run with your daughter? Being able to have her with me when I worked out was why I started running. She is now 14 months and I still push her almost every run. She naps and I run and get to be with her 🙂
Here’s my Pintrest crockpot board. I have pinned some creamy ones because I have found substitutes for creamy soups. http://pinterest.com/ccasali/crock-pot/
Hi Christine! Thanks for the crockpot board link, can’t wait to peruse it! Yes, I run with my daughter in the BOB. She’s just 4 months old, so we still have the infant seat adapter in the stroller as well, so I get the added weight of the seat too while training! But I do like that I can take her with me. Congrats on the journey so far! I look forward to chatting with you via the site and here on FB more!