Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Yesterday was my first day home alone with Petunia- Hubby had to go back to work. He'll take some more time off in January, when we will both work part time. It did not start well. I am still getting over the cold that Pumpkin brought home to us from day care, and between my plugged up nose and sore throat and Petunia's decision to squeeze an extra middle of the night feeding into her schedule, I was seriously short on sleep. Pumpkin did NOT want to get ready for day care- and let's just say I'm not really happy with how I handled that parenting challenge. I think there should be a rule that only one child in a given household can be difficult in any one day. Since Petunia had insisted on eating at 2 AND 4, Pumpkin should not have been allowed to tantrum about getting ready for day care.

It wasn't a terrible day. I spent most of it either feeding Petunia (hello, 6 week growth spurt!) or bouncing her back to sleep after she woke up from a nap she needed. After a day spent helping Petunia sleep, I wasn't really in the mood for an evening spent helping Pumpkin sleep, but no one asked me. Pumpkin set a new record and took over an hour to fall asleep. I really need to figure out how to teach a toddler how to go to sleep. I wonder if conscious relaxation techniques would work on a toddler? I can't really have her use my trick of reciting a mantra in her head- I think that would lead to a rousing rendition of the ABC song or "Down by the Station". I am seriously looking forward to the day where I only have to worry about my own sleep issues. But I digress.

Given the rough start to my day and my general sleep deprived state, I should feel like a rock start for managing to achieve anything. I called my disability insurance company to continue my efforts to get them to pay me for the time I took off before Petunia was born. And I paid my hospital bill. That is TWO things in addition to caring for Petunia, not even counting the fact that I showered, and I think we all know that the consensus is that you should only aim to do ONE thing a day.

But I don't feel like a rock star. In fact, I feel a bit inadequate. I think the problem is that I can't help but compare myself to Hubby, who is the genetic source of Pumpkin's unbelievably high energy levels and low need for sleep.

Here is what Hubby accomplished in the 5 weeks that he was off from work, in addition to the obvious things like bouncing/holding Petunia for naps when necessary and playing with Petunia:

  • Cut hair
  • Bought bamboo trellis for backyard
  • Got tree in front yard trimmed
  • Checked tires on car
  • Got headlight on other car fixed
  • Replaced the outside light that was smashed when Pumpkin threw the door open
  • Installed door stop to prevent future light smashage
  • Replaced air filter on furnace
  • Touched up paint in Petunia's room
  • Took junk in garage to Goodwill (two car loads!)
  • Recycled electronics piled in garage
  • Organized garage so that we can get a child into each side of the car
  • Replaced inner tubes on bike
  • Sent away for new passport
I just copied the above from the To Do list he wrote for himself the day we got home from the hospital. He crossed everything off his list. I think he mowed the lawn, too.

Here is what I accomplished during the same time period:
  • Fed Petunia
  • Regained ability to lay on my side and to get out of bed quickly
  • Cut toenails (twice!)
  • Found halloween costume for Pumpkin
  • Added Petunia to my insurance
  • Had several phone conversations with my short term disability insurance provider about the fact that they didn't pay me for the weeks I was off work before Petunia was born despite my doctor's signature sending me out from work
  • Organized flu vaccinations for family
I resisted the urge to put "showered every day" on that list. Now you could argue that item #1 is a pretty big one, and balances about 5 things on Hubby's list. In fact, I argue this frequently. But still... you have to admit, my list looks pretty inadequate next to Hubby's. I may be the only wife in the world who wants her husband to stop doing so many chores....


  1. mom2boys11:22 AM

    Not to minimize your husband's accomplishments (yay for a husband that does so much!) but I seem to recall that you had major abdominal surgery at the start of that five week period? Stands to reason there would be no tree trimming on your list. We are our own worst critics. Emotional efforts count, too, in my opinion. Keeping up with your toddler while meeting the needs of a newborn - that's a lot even if it doesn't look like much on paper. Hang in there. :)

  2. Not only the major surgery, but you'd been pregnant for 9 months before that point, which is tiring. And I'd be willing to bet your husband has been getting more sleep than you - doe he get up every time Petunia eats in the night?

  3. This sounds so much like my list versus my hubby's list from each maternity/paternity leave! By the end of the second leave, I got a bunch of things done... because I could actually put the baby down at that point.

    I guess my point is I think it's normal. Hard to feel like we mothers are doing enough, but we both had to recover from the major abdominal surgery and being the main life-support of an infant! That's a lot more than 5 items on the hubbies' lists!

    Although you know this, I'm going to say it anyway. It'll get easier. These first days of adjusting schedules and doing it all by yourself all day long is going to be tough, especially when there is a toddler thrown in the mix. But it really will get easier.

  4. You really need to move the start of your evaluation period. Don't you think you should take credit for "growing a new life inside me","giving birth", "recovering from birth and major surgery"?

  5. That's one of those things that made me crazy about staying home with a baby - just getting through the day doesn't feel like that much of an accomplishment, even when it is. It all seems like stuff you should be able to do while going about your regularly scheduled routine. When other people are doing it, I can totally appreciate the effort involved, but when it is me? I feel like such a slacker!

    I'd like to add something to your "only one child being fussy and demanding at a time", and that is "if I'm sick or otherwise feeling under the weather, no one is allowed to wake up in the middle of the night feeling fussy". Seriously though, I'd like to know why me being sick is so traumatic for a certain tiny person.


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