Tuesday, August 10, 2004

More Baby Blues

Haven't yet let completely go of idea that I might get a break in the evenings. Really do think it's not possible to expect a consistent break period every evening as there are other things for both of us to do, i.e. make/eat/clean up dinner, visit with each other, feed/medicate pets, take out garbage (on Monday nights), water plants/lawn, change sheets, wash/fold/iron clothing, etc. Wife and I both suffering from angry feelings about this, me from wanting desperately to have short break without baby in arms in evening, wife from wanting household chores to get done earlier so that bedtime is not horrible rush and from frustration that baby is more comforted by me so if I hand her over, baby will just yell at wife which isn't fun for either one. Arguing about it brings up feelings in us both that are old, and which are not dissimilar: feeling like you're not important, that you don't matter. Then I feel like a selfish immature jerk, and I am ashamed and yell because I'm upset, and then cry, because I cry very easily sometimes. And then she feels like she's making me cry, and she's always the bad guy, and then I feel even more immature, and it just spirals right into the toilet.

I keep saying, I wish I could go back to that year that I spent basically fucking around, and do it over: organize things, establish a menu system, take care of the house. I get overwhelmed and think I can't do it and then I just don't do anything. What is this fear of failure thing? Is it really a fear of success? Why wouldn't I be able to maintain a modest home, take care of two other people (one of whom is very small and doesn't need things like ironed clothing or dinner on a plate)? Why did I waste so much time when I could have been making our lives smoother and better? She brings it up when we are arguing; she's still resentful of it. It was a slow burn for her, she says, my disregard for her and for our home and our lives, and now she can't let it go. She's trying, I know she is, and I'm trying to make it up to her, but I can't really with the baby always needing to be held and so forth. When I have free time (what precious little there is, when the baby naps, which is infrequent) I usually shower and feed myself, and once that's done I try to pick up around the house a little or pay bills or whatever needs doing at that particular time, and then bolt down here for a few minutes of email and blogging and surfing and whatever. There is no way for me to embark on some big organizing project unless someone can come entertain the baby. And then when BH is home, we're so overwhelmed with the day to day stuff that when there is time for her, she has to decide between major cleaning (like rearranging furniture and cleaning the rug) to make me happy and the house more livable, or taking time for herself. And she wants to please me and always puts herself last, and then later she gets so burned out from not having any time to just sit and not feel pressure.

I have this urge when stressed to try to sneak out of doing things, to bolt downstairs. I think sometimes it's justifiable -- need to shut head off, and can do laundry while on computer -- but sometimes it's just to get away from all the things I feel like I can't do for one reason or another. I am an avoider. A depressive avoider.

So I guess what I need to do is kiss regular, programmed me time goodbye, catch it where I can get it (get up in middle of night, try to get baby down for naps, etc), and lower my expectations for now. She's not going to be like this forever. I will eventually be able to grab a half hour here or there, or do something at the table while she plays with toys on the floor, or whatever. Right now I can't even make myself something to eat or go to the bathroom while she's awake without either carrying her or having her scream at me, unless by some miracle she will get entranced by her bouncy aquarium seat or the Baby Einstein video. And I'm not very good at not complaining or not feeling overwhelmed, and I take up all the room in this relationship with my complaining and my overwhelmedness. So not only do I get all the fun parts of motherhood, (which ain't really all that fun sometimes: breastfeeding makes you leak everywhere, and it's tiring that the baby only wants you and not anyone else), but I make so much noise about the parts that suck that it's all about me all the time. And poor BH gets the short end of the stick.

I know we can get through this but it's just damn hard. I feel like there are so many things I need to change about myself, and so many things I have screwed up and need to make up to her, that I can never really get it all done.

But I have to try.

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