The other day I managed to get June to sleep in her crib for a total of 20 minutes.
It's that coveted time when you have free arms to do things that you took for granted before you had a baby; some examples: showering, brushing your teeth, sweeping the dirt that your dog tracked inside two weeks ago after it rained. Stuff like that.
Twenty solid minutes in which I frantically ran from task to task, like a squirrel, noncommittal to each. I first wandered into our bedroom and tripped on the overflowing laundry basked so I started to fold a few shirts that were on top of the mound. And then, my gaze fell on the bathroom door and I thought to myself it had been ages since I'd cleaned the bathroom sink so I dropped what I was doing in light of the new household priority and I started to wipe the taps down; it was about two minutes before my brain jumped to the cup of coffee I wanted that I hadn't had a chance to make, so I quickly ran downstairs and put a pot on. When I was in the kitchen I noticed that the counter was still full of dishes from the night before, so I threw my rubber gloves on and started to wash what was in the sink. All this before I remembered I hadn't yet showered or brushed my teeth. And heck, I might as well just mention that I was still in my pyjamas - and the pants were inside out. My brain was saying; use this time to do ALL THE THINGS.
And just as I realized I was short-circuiting, she woke up. Everything looked pretty much the same as it had twenty minutes before I'd started the three ring circus of moving from room to room and shuffling things around.
By the time Mike got home from work I was pretty burnt out. At some point around three PM I realized I had been staring at a house for the past six weeks that contained tasks I wanted to tackle. Call me a freak but I actually like having time to take care of my living situation. And I was feeling overwhelmed and craving time not just for the housework stuff but the 'me' stuff. My mind was a mess of a million things I wanted to do. The result was I was a bit cranky and I felt like a zombie trying to hold a conversation.
He asked me if there was anything he could do - and it's such a sweet question, it really is, but right now, there sometimes really isn't a whole lot other people can do. We're only six weeks in and for example, we're just figuring out a rhythm for feedings and I'm learning how to read her cues: a cry for hungry, diaper, comfort. If I'm being totally honest at this point there isn't much I want other people to do. And I know that sounds like I'm a control freak since I've just spent an entire paragraph explaining how I want "me time," but I love the stuff that my life is full of right now. I love being the person June needs in the world. I love that we're learning how to "do" nap time and how to rely on one another. There will be a day, in probably only a few months time where outsourcing what she needs to someone else will be much easier. For the time being though, I'm that life source. And that's the most amazing feeling. This time is going to go by so quickly.
With that being said, I was wholly aware that I needed a bit of time to myself. I've stumbled upon the dance that parents do; my life is devoted happily to my child, but how do I still get to just breathe a bit? And this non-existent nap time of 20 minutes wasn't going to cut it. When Mike asked the question, I ran through what it was that I really needed. Sure I needed to shower, I needed to nap and I could have put my laundry away. But I also just desperately needed to put myself on auto-pilot for a bit. And so the first thing that popped into my head was my garden; it has been ages since I've paid it any attention. Before June was born I'd have to say that my three areas of "escape" were running, writing and gardening. I get a lot of solitude when getting my hands dirty and playing with the growing things. So first thing this morning, Mike took over and I headed outside. And I got dirty and scratched from pulling the massive thorny weeds from the garden. And it was a glorious moment of solitude for just me on my own.
Auto pilot feels good, and it's one of those luxuries I didn't know I appreciated before I had a baby.