The time crunch

My 37th Birthday is just around the corner, and I am starting to feel pressured for time.  And by time, I mean reproductive time.  We are always pushing the clock around here.  Go, go, go.

My hubby and I decided that a 3rd child was not in our cards right now.  And, I felt at peace with that decision for a while.  I even went so far as to give away all of my newborn clothes (with the caveat that they return them to me).  It felt liberating.  I felt like a giant weight was lifted of my shoulders.  I felt happy.  I felt at peace.

That lasted for a several months.  Now I am longing again to expand our family.  My reasons in favor are numerous.  I feel like I am capable of managing another child.  Every day I become more patient, and efficient and loving.  I love watching the kids grow and explore their worlds.  I get an endless amount of joy and satisfaction from watching the boys play together, work out their battles and conflicts for space and attention, and I love the relationship they are building with one another.  I also feel a small longing for a girl.  I can not imagine how it would change the way I parent or love a child, but I am curious to know.

I am also becoming more aware of the fleeting nature of my childrens youth.  They grow so quickly, and change in the blink of an eye.  I love being around toddlers.  They are so loving and energetic and flexible!  They accept guidance and redirection.  They rarely throw tantrums when given the proper options and time to make a decision.  With a 4 year old and a 20 month old-my toddlers days are coming to an end.  My older son will be in school next year and my younger son will be in preschool a couple of mornings a week. And, I can feel the stress associated with this end.  I do not want this time period to come to a close.

On the other side of the spectrum I do not long, in the slightest of ways, to be pregnant again.  I was sick for the first trimester, plus.  I was depressed for the second trimester and while I was happy and thrilled the third trimester – I was also exhausted!  Couple that with parenting 2 small kids and I wonder if another pregnancy will break me.  37 years old is not young any more.  In terms of child bearing, it is considered advanced maternal age.  There is more lab work, more tests to worry over, and more midwife care and worries.  There is also far less energy than, say, when I was 27!

That takes me to the sleep factor.  Oh, how I long for the ability to sleep and wake on my own schedule!  I am not sure why this matters so much now.  When I worked I woke on someone else’s schedule.  I have always been an early riser and I never was a late/long sleeper.  But, there is something about calling your own shots and not waking to the sound of crying that only you or your breast can soothe.  Then, there is the middle of the night waking that comes with a new babe.

The pain and recovery of the pregnancy and the birth.  Ouch.  The weight loss, the fitness level to be regained, the endless backaches, and the carrying and lifting of the babe for the first year plus.  There is a physicality to another child that scares me.  Is my body strong enough to endure that first year again!?!?!

But, even while looking over the pro’s and con’s, and notice there is nothing about my husband’s feelings or desires listed here!  I still feel like our family is incomplete.  Try as I might…my body is telling my mind to suck it up!  I am very logical and this is tearing me up inside.  The illogical (yet totally base) nature of physical desire mixed with reason and sensibility just doesn’t add up.

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What is free time, really?

I am sitting in a coffee shop in a neighboring city. I have just dropped my son off at daycare, and don’t really have much to do. I mean, there are things I could be doing–cleaning my house, gardening, laundry, etc. But, nothing that doesn’t normally need to occur. I always looked at ‘free’ time like this as a time to catch up on chores that I couldn’t do with my toddler, or because I was working.

Now that the grief period is over, I have been wondering how to structure my days and effectively use my free time. I have been slowly taking on more parenting time, and trying to ease the load on hubby. I struggle though with giving up what I perceive as my ‘free’ time. Such a silly concept when you have a family.

I have never been in a position like this before, so it is an uncertain time for me. I have been working since I was 14 years old. I worked my way through college (3 jobs). I have always worked. I am unfamiliar with how to structure my days, how to prioritize myself, and what to fill my days with that would be considered productive and constructive activities.

The first week I did crafts that I wanted to work on for a long time. I made some holiday cards, I made some magnets that I want to give out to family as gifts. I baked bread and granola. I cleaned up the closets and completed my filing (6 months worth!!!). We again paired down our budget and I canceled those service providers. I have made a pact with myself to be reasonable about how often I will search for a job. Hmm, what else can I do?

The second week I tackled the yard. I cleaned up some waywardly placed items. I raked the leaves. I bought a trunk full of wood for the fireplace. I turned the compost. Hmm, now what?

I would normally relish in this free time by spending it at the mall. The mall is always where I want to go when I have all of my check boxes checked. It is relaxing for me to be outside, wandering around with no immediate goal. Even when I don’t buy anything, I feel happy just wandering around letting the consumer environment fill me with ideas. The difference is that ‘before’ we had money to spend on small indulgences. Now, I would feel guilty even looking lest I be tempted to buy. Plus, I have no self control so all I would need to be is tempted and then I would be unable to control myself. The mall is out.

I canceled my gym membership to save money months ago. Otherwise I could be pursuing my lifelong goal of becoming a trophy wife. I could exercise outside, after I drop the little man off at daycare. But, that goes against my comfort level. When I get up in the AM and get dressed for the day–I am dressed for the day. It would feel exceedingly uncomfortable for me to get dressed, drive to daycare, then come back home, change into exercise clothes, get sweaty, then shower and change again. Seems like such a waste of time. Additionally, I like taking Elliott with me on a long walk in the late afternoon. It relaxes him after a stimulating day and it helps us spend/kill that difficult hour before dinner. I guess I could get dressed in my workout clothes, do drop off, then go home and exercise. I could also hike after drop off somewhere closer to daycare. All ideas that I will try.

The take home message here isn’t that I am inflexible (which I am)–it is that I am confused with how to spend my days. I thrive on order, schedules, and clear expectations. Having so much flexibility is not something I can easily get used to. I am certainly trying though. I am grateful to be able to spend this time with my family, and hope to be able to enjoy it soon enough.

time, where have you gone?

Everyday, several times a day I think to myself…wow, I really should write about this or that. I cant seem to find the time these days. I wonder if I just am not using my time wisely or if I am busier and therefore cant sit down to write…Or maybe blogging just isnt that high of a priority for me these days.

In any case, here I found a few minutes and I am blabbering on about nothing.

I have several things on my mind that I want to talk about and share. But, I cant post about them until I come clean to those people that they effect (or is it affect??). One has been weighing heavy for several weeks, and I was finally able to make a decision. Having made the decision felt very freeing, and the fact that I felt relieved after I decided what to do confirmed that I was making the correct choice. The after math may have me re-thinking it, but I can only do what I feel is right. I will keep you posted on that front.

Lil E is doing very well in daycare so far. He went 2 days this past week, and both days he seemed happy, albeit exhausted when we picked him up.