“Please, please go back to sleep,” I beg my 3 ½ month old as if he can understand just how tired I am. He’s co-sleeping with us again after a week of failed sleep training (more on that later) and we’ve just finished a 5am nursing which is a tricky one. Sometimes, the gods look down on us favorably and he’ll go back to sleep. Sometimes he’s wide-eyed before the sun comes up, climbing on our chests, pushing his hands away from our bodies so he can peer into the arriving dawn.
Today was one of those days.
A day when I’d made ambitious plans to leave the house before 9am to attend one of the first Creative Mornings events I’ve been to in years. When I needed, desperately wanted, every ounce of sleep I could get.
No such luck.
Noah was awake which meant, so was I. “You look tired,” my hubby pointed out honestly as I begrudgingly got out of bed to take Noah downstairs for a hopeful catnap. “I’m always tired. We’re all tired,” I said grumpily. “You don’t have to go, you can sleep or I can take him,” he offered.
“I want to go,” I reiterated, trying to convince myself it was worth it.
But the morning was not off to a good start. My hair, still wet from a late shower the night before continues to fall out in clumps every time it’s brushed (yay, postpartum). I haven’t folded the laundry in days, making the task of finding clean underwear an annoying one, reminding me of chores I haven’t completed. The number on the scale isn’t what I want it to be, in spite of returning to the gym and breastfeeding what seems like constantly.
Leaving the house before noon is a feat. Doing it solo with the 75% chance little one will be screaming in his car seat the whole time is gargantuan. We can do hard things, I remind myself. And. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do.
But how do you know the difference? In today’s hustle culture where no sleep is glorified and there is literally no paid time off for parents, how do we determine when to push ourselves and when to rest? When to go back to bed and when to rush out the door, a little jittery from the 2nd cup of coffee you almost never have?
How do we know when stretching our limits will lead to growth or burnout? When the bad mood is an indication to slow down and reassess or a sign that the time out of the house or the social commitment is even more needed?
When do we encourage ourselves to sit down and write a new blog post or allow ourselves to binge watch the latest season of Love is Blind?
As a new mom, I definitely don’t have the answers. Being human is hard. Raising a human is even harder. (How come we don’t have awards shows for parents, ya’ll? The fact that any of us survive past toddlerhood is beginning to feel like a freakin’ miracle).
How do we balance caregiving (including care for ourselves and our community) with our creative pursuits?
Thankfully, Noah was a champ. He did not cry on the way to or from the event. More importantly, he napped through the entire presentation after impressing several strangers during the mixer with his cuteness (let’s be real, it’s a level 10).
Sitting in a room full of people (near the back, of course, in case of an emergency exit situation) who were gathered for the sole purpose being inspired and re-filling their own artistic wells was humbling. We are all trying to find our work/life balance. We all feel like imposters, no matter how successful we might be.
None of us really have the answers. We’re just doing our best, not always sure if the hard thing is the right thing or if crawling back into bed with the covers over our head is enough for today. (Spoiler alert: it’s always enough because you’re enough).
Anyway, just a friendly PSA to say that if you got out of bed and out of the house today before nine or noon, or if you didn’t leave the house today at all, you’re amazing. Sometimes the hard thing is just being alive. Sometimes we need to push ourselves to realize our own boundaries. Sometimes we need to thank the gods for infusing just a little bit more grace into our lives to help us make it through the day.
(Now off to watch season three…)Google+