I'm struggling these days.
With everything. It's always stressful at the beginning of a new semester. But this year it's more than that.
It's also her.
Noone tells you about this phase. I was prepared for the newborn stage. I knew I would get no sleep and have sore b00bs and get thrown up and pooped on.
I was prepared for the walking stage. I figured I'd be following her around supervising to prevent her from killing herself in my not-really-baby-proofed house.
I just wasn't prepared for the needy stage. Where her world is getting bigger and she's not yet able to cope and so I have to help her.
I wasn't prepared for the stage where she understands - and is starting to repeat - every single word out of my mouth other than "NO". I can tell her - scream at her - no, No, NO, NO, but she laughs like she thinks its funny. If she rips my glasses off my face one more time I just might lose it for good.
I wasn't prepared for the fact that I cannot get anything done when I'm home alone with her. I'm not exaggerating with that statement. I don't know if I just haven't figured out the tricks that other mommies use, or if they just don't work on her. In the laundry I have a pile of work clothes that is ... I kid you not ... three feet high. When I have time/energy/opportunity for laundry, it's either diapers or her clothes or towels. My laptop is missing 5 keys because she thinks it's fun to pry them off. So I can't get work stuff (or, you know, important stuff like blogging and twittering) done because if I have the laptop out, she's banging on or prying up keys.
She isn't sleeping, she wasn't eating much today, she napped for an hour and then cried for 45 minutes until I let her rub pureed sweet potatoes in her hair because that's the 15th thing I tried to feed her that she refused.
She's happiest when we are outside, so I let her help me set the garbage out. She then started randomly walking down the street, so I left the front door and the garage wide open to follow her as she started out into the road to follow the older kids playing and riding bikes.
My head is throbbing, so that means my blood pressure must be up. At one point this afternoon we were sitting on the floor watching football on the muted tv and singing songs from music class. I was enjoying just sitting with her. It's just that it's impossible to do anything else. So my house looks like crap, I have nothing to wear to work tomorrow that doesn't make me look like a frumpy fat cow, I just did a class assignment that I should have posted two days ago, I have a lab exam to give tomorrow that isn't ready, and a HUGE stack of exams from last week that I brought home to grade but couldn't.
Because I think giving them back with huge crayon swaths across them is a little unprofessional. And unless I hog tied her, that's what was going to happen.
She was awake for 3 hours in the middle of the night, because it seemed like she just couldn't go back to sleep. Then the nap today for less than an hour. When you're a single mama, you have to be there for all of that. You can't nudge someone else and say "your turn". You can't make bargains like "you chase the kid out into the street and I'll make dinner." You have to chase the kid and also make dinner, because it's all on you.
I don't mean to complain, she really is the most precious thing in the world to me. But in addition to the adorable photos and videos and stories about our sweet little life ... is reality to talk about too.
So, how long does this phase last? And what's next? Because I'm about to lose it. And tomorrow is Monday.
Added Monday 9/13:
To be fair, my mom does help. She hired someone to clean my house (except that I had to pay her.) I just don't deal well with other people cleaning my house, so it actually added to my stress.
The good news is ... C slept until 6 am this morning! Not a peep! I had to get up three times to pee since I drank water to try to get rid of my headache. Other than that, it was a good night's sleep.
I have no idea what's going on. But I'm in a better place than I was last night, so that's what matters.
Just in time for Monday.