Friday, January 22, 2016

Another moment in which I wonder if I will be a good parent

One of my biggest fears,

if I'm being honest with you, World,

is that I may require too much sleep to be a parent.

I think I can overcome my selfishness. I think I can navigate unforeseen issues. I can handle a lot. I am strong.

But I am weak when it comes to violating an early bedtime.

Just hours ago, I was thinking about how I'm ready for kids. Maybe more eager than I had previously thought. I have stitched enough X's onto canvas. I have read enough books to satiate my appetite (this, I know, is a lie). I can set these things aside and trade them in for years of diapering. The extreme love will be worth it all.

I tell myself this in the morning. In the innocent, not yet slammed with tiredness morning.

And now, at 1:33 p.m., I feel like I am going to die.

I am, through and through: exhausted.

I can't shake the fatigue. It is consuming my thoughts, my bones, my ability to move beyond a shuffle. Weeks of back-to-back weekend travel, with work days in between -- it's finally getting to me. It's grating against my stamina, causing the world to spin with drama and self pity.

Tonight I have a dinner date, and tomorrow morning I am to catch an early boat with my love to go to an island and celebrate his birthday. Upon our return from the island, we will take showers and get beautiful and then head to a late-into-the-night party for continued birthday celebrations.

Now I know, rationally, that I will sleep on Sunday. That tomorrow, with some coffee, I will be my usual, surprisingly morning person self. That, on my feet, on the island, my spirits will likely be up. That I will collapse into a chair with a cocktail, and smile at the wonderful people in Alex's life and mine. The fatigue won't be all consuming, but rather an afterthought.

I know that, come Sunday, I can sleep, or whine, or cry, or shake my fists tiredly in the air, furious with the unfairness of being bone tired.

I can do that, because I don't have kids. No noses will need to be wiped, nor butts for that matter, no dinners to be cooked, no entertaining needing to be offered to restless, toddling bodies and minds.

But all I can think, in my pathetic, tired, sob story state, is: but what if I did have kids? What would I do? Am I fit for motherhood?

Because truly. It is the being tired all the time that scares me the most. When I am tired, the floor falls out from beneath me. Reality starts to melt. Emotions -- the bad ones -- swell tenfold.

Sure, there is the occasional elation from a fit of giggles that can only be known in one's maddeningly tired state. The giggles that bubble when someone looks at you and says only your name, or the word "banana," or something else that shouldn't make you giggle but does.

But will that be enough?

I sure hope my kids make me laugh, because I need it to be enough.

Either that or I'll need a large dose of Prozac. A husband to pull my weeping self into his chest, when it all becomes too much. And the best kids. Kids with grins and messy curls and creative minds, all to buoy their crazy mother in the harbor.

I wonder how many Sundays I'll have left. Sundays with naps, and food delivered to my door, and neglected chores and early bedtimes.

I wonder if I'll miss them after kids arrive.

Something tells me I won't, even though I find myself at this moment dramatic and worried, longing for rest and assurance that I will always be guaranteed enough of it.

I sip my tea and ponder this, watching the sediment of ground leaves fall into organized lines at the bottom of my cup, forming art without care, like sand on the ocean floor.


  1. If it helps, I'd like you to know that my perfect 16 month old goes to bed between 5 and 6 pm and wakes around 8:30 am. Children who like a lot of sleep are possible! (And kids are awesome...)

  2. A wise person once told me that the first question your therapist should ask you is, "How are you sleeping?" Sleep is key. I tend to require more than the average person. I tend to struggle to get the required amount (my own fault).

    I also have 3 kids. One sleeps a lot (always has). The other two do not. But I certainly have continued nap times (for me AND them), neglected chores, and early bedtimes. Kids love it when dinner is cereal. Or frozen pizza. Or that one time, ice cream sundaes.

    Kids are HILARIOUS and smile/laugh way more than their adult counterparts, so that's awesome. And it makes up for the days when you are sick/tired and they are needy. For those instances, there are dvds and babysitters and games on computers/phones.