So I’ve been going to the gym in the mornings lately. And by ‘lately’ I of course mean ‘three days last week.’
I’ve been hesitant to do so, not so much because for some reason all of the workout pants sold in stores now are skintight and possibly obscene. Although there is that. No, the reason I’ve avoided it was because of Adele.
The gym has a daycare, which we can use for free since our children are members, too. (Thank you, Chris’ work.) But I haven’t wanted to chance taking Adele in because I worried that when I dropped her off she would scream and cling to me and sob the entire time I worked out and I would hear from behind the closed door of the daycare and overtop of my audio book and all of the elliptical machines. (That’s right. Audio book. I may be old.)
So I’ve been going at night, whenever I could. And no matter how much I wanted to have an hour to myself, and no matter how thrilled I was to miss the daily dinner argument over exactly how many bites Sebastian had to eat before he was allowed to eat an apple while he watched a show before bed. (Our rule – eat your dinner. This is it, I’m not making you anything else. And you don’t get snacks. Even an apple. Okay, maybe you can have an apple. But DON’T ENJOY IT.) I never stopped feeling guilty for being gone and leaving all of the stress with Christopher. Because, admittedly, the evening is a pretty crappy time of day. Everyone is tired and/or hungry and finding things to argue about. So no matter how much of a relief it was to avoid all of that, I still had to hurry along my workout so as to be home in time to put the kids to bed. It sucked and it wasn’t fun.
So I thought enough was enough. I was going to see how this all panned out. If Adele screamed when I dropped her off at the daycare I’d try again another day. (I’m totally lying here. I had no plan other than hope.)
And it was fine. She was fine. She sort of walked after me a little bit, like ‘what the hell is going on?’ but there was no crying. There was no flailing. There was no sobbing. And the second day when I dropped her off she remembered the place and just walked in. She still walks on the third day, but I feel good leaving her. I know she’s fine and I know that it’s good for her to be exposed to other children and to have a bit of time away from me.
Normally our mornings with Sebastian in school are spent with me trying to get some work done or trying to have some calm, quiet time and her trying everything she can to get my undivided attention. Usually in the form of spitting her milk all over the bathroom mirror. Repeatedly.
But with this we’re busy. We don’t have time to get annoyed with each other and we don’t have time to lose our tempers.
Things are getting easier, you guys.
And I think, maybe, possibly, we might sort of be done having babies.
(But there’s no definite word on that yet because I can’t make a decision on what to eat in a restaurant without weighing all of my options multiple times, so there’s no guarantee when this huge, life-altering decision will be made.)
It’s just, I’m so tired, you guys. I’m so tired of the terrible twos that I feel like I’ve been in for most of my adult life. I’m tired of diapers and tantrums and having to chase random small people around holding their shoes out in front of me to attempt to possibly maybe connect with a foot.
It was Chris’ original thought. At first I was hesitant. Or resistant. Or maybe downright hurt would be a better description. We had always said we were going to have three kids. I originally wanted four but he only wanted two so we compromised at three. And then all the sudden he was changing our life plan.
But, you see, I really wasn’t upset with him. I was upset with myself for being relieved that he had said it first. I’m okay with just two kids. Yes, it makes me sad to think of that baby that we’re probably not going to have. It makes me sad to think of not being able to use all the little clothes that I’ve saved from the kids ever again. And I’ve cried over this decision. I know it’s probably incredibly selfish of me to want another kid at this point in our life. We’d have to get a new car. I’d have to move Sebastian out of his room and make him share one with his sister. Our lives aren’t really equipped for three kids.
But oh, the thought of the soft, warm little bodies of newborns. The smell of the baby. The nursing and the holding and the loving and the first steps and the recognition on their faces when they realize that you’re the one who gives them all the food and comfort.
The hugs that almost stop your breath they’re so hard.
The thought of a house full of children.
And I’m conflicted. Still. Always.
I want another child. I do.
But I also, selfishly, want things to be easier. I’m getting a little taste of my children gaining more independence. I’m getting a chance to have a small part of my day as my own.
It’s hard to think about going back to the first few years of motherhood. They are so very difficult. They take who you are, who you thought you’d be as a mother, and run it through a blender mixed with no sleep and spit up and poop on your hands on a daily basis and arguing and fighting and the limp worm that kids perfect when they’re throwing a tantrum and you try to pick them up. And you barely come out as someone you recognize.
To go through it again, when I’m so close to being out of it, is not something I’m sure I want to do.
But I know that I would never regret having another child. And I know that if we don’t I will always feel that loss in some way. I will always wonder if it was just that I wasn’t strong enough. That there was something wrong with me for not being able to handle one more. I wish, constantly, that my temper wasn’t so short, that my patience was long, that I didn’t feel like a failure every single day. I worry over and over about what I say to my kids. I want to always make them feel like they are the greatest thing to ever happen to me, because they are. But the inability to be alone drains me. And it takes my mothering strength with it. And so I rush through the nighttime stories, telling Sebastian to hush and listen instead of engaging him in a discussion like I feel I should, like I know he wants. Or I put a music video on for Adele so I can sit by myself for a few minutes.
So I think the decision has been made.
Maybe. But I reserve the right to change my mind.
*See what I did there?