Thursday, January 14, 2016

Living in survival mode

This morning, I awoke to a pile of laundry at the foot of our bed. At least it was clean. It's been there for three days, because I haven't had a free moment to put it away.

This morning, I realized that I had never responded to the principal of Max's school when she emailed me to say she was available to talk with me about one of his therapists, per my request. She was available yesterday.

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary. I knew full well it was Thursday of this week, except this morning, I forgot it was Thursday. Luckily I had a card, but then I had to write it as I was nursing Ben and so it is not totally legible, but it is the thought that counts even if the thought got some spit-up on it.

Three months into having Ben, I remain in survival mode. I seem to have forgotten how consuming babies can be, and I keep right on forgetting because every day I continue to be surprised by how little I get done. My days are a continuous loop of feeding, burping, cleaning the spit up, changing diapers, changing Ben's outfit, repeat, repeat, repeat. He is still not into napping (see: Mr. Spit Up von Fussypants). Once Max and Sabrina get home from school, even bathroom breaks are a luxury. When Dave comes home from work, I shove Ben at him and raid the fridge. Aside from eating and showering, writing this blog is the only thing I basically do for me.

The other day, Sabrina got upset because when she walked in the door I didn't immediately say, "Hi, honey, how was your day?" since Ben was wailing. I understood, of course—she wants and needs attention, too—but still, her tirade was over the top. As she sputtered "Don't you CARE about me?" I said, "Sabrina, sweetie, you know how much I love you. Do you know what 'empathy' is?" And she calmed down and grudgingly said, "Yes! It means you feel badly for someone." And I said, "Well, not just that. It means that you get that another person is handling a lot and you are understanding and kind toward them. I am handling a lot right now, so I'd appreciate a little empathy, OK?" She considered that. Then she said, "Mommy, I love you and I have empathy for you."

And that was just what I needed to get me through the rest of the day.


  1. Oh, I feel your pain (or maybe I should say exhaustion)! Our littlest was born two years ago (the older two were 9 and 7). Survival mode went on for probably the first 3-4 months. My daughter also had several of those meltdowns. I won't say there weren't a few days that I fled to another room for a few minutes to cry. Honestly, we got by watching probably too much TV (it was the middle of winter), but you have to do what works for you and your family. Hang in there...this too shall pass!

  2. We got the surprise of our life when we found out my third pregnancy was twins. That was 10 years ago but as I read your post it brought back vivid memories. Memories of wondering if I was ever going to get a shower or be able to use the bathroom. Memories of drinking large quantities of Mountain Dew just to survive life with 2 babies who didn't believe in sleeping. We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary at home because it was just too hard to go out in public with 2 babies. Hang in there. Hope you can get a few moments to yourself to do something that you love.

  3. Happy anniversary! <3 I hope Sabrina et al. can get their needs met. I am almost certain that Sabrina is sanguine, so just keep in mind that tirades are a temperamental thing. These circumstances impose stress on everyone, including Ben. I'm sure it's not fun for him to have a perpetual upset stomach. Get some time to yourself when you can because you can't give when you don't have anything.

  4. I love that girl, Sabrina!


Thanks for sharing!

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