It's hard enough to admit it silently in my head, let alone put it in writing, but I've been struggling, really struggling, the past few weeks with everything.
I'm sure a big part of it is the sleep deprivation that comes with caring for a baby. I haven't had more than four consecutive hours of sleep in months. I don't even remember what feeling well rested is like anymore. I walk around in a constant state of semi-alertness, trying my best to function.
It's affecting every aspect of my life. I've made a few stupid mistakes at work, which eats at me so badly that it screws up what little sleep I am able to get, further exacerbating the problem. I am a perfectionist to a fault -- which usually makes me a good editor and an annoyance to live with. I'm trained to find grammatical errors, but it also means my placemats HAVE to line up with the tiles on the kitchen table or my eyebrows start to twitch.
But lately my placemats are in total disarray and covered with baby toys, which frankly, is like a microcosm of my life right now.
I go from home to work and back again feeling like there's never enough time to get anything done adequately. The laundry. The dishes. Finally getting around to organizing the back closet. Scheduling a vet appointment for Toby. Putting the last bit of Easter shit away. Yes, Easter.
And my personal wants and desires? Like sitting down without interruption to write for more than 20 minutes? Or maybe flipping through the last three issues of Real Simple I have yet to crack open? Or doing my nails?
All that now falls last on the priority list. Which usually means never.
I know it's part of being a parent, working full time at abnormal hours and owning things that need upkeep and maintenance. But it certainly takes its toll.
I've had a few mini breakdowns late at night in my car where I've cried so hard that my breath chokes me. I wonder if I'm ever going to feel like I'm in control of my life ever again. Whether I'll ever feel like my time is my own. That I'm not just going from one set of tasks to another in a vicious cycle that saps every ounce of creative energy out of me.
But every time I hit a low point, I think of something an older woman said to me a few weeks ago.
When Jerry and I went to vote, which happens to be at a nearby retirement facility, a group of women who live there filed in behind us. As we walked past to leave, with baby and dog in tow, they all gravitated toward Allison, peeking into her stroller. Some asked questions, others offered advice, but one woman's words will forever stay with me.
She looked at me and my growing family and her eyes filled up.
"I'm so envious of you," she whispered.
At the time, I didn't know how to respond. I think I brushed it off with a joke about dirty diapers and a yard full of the same, but I knew what she meant. She probably would give anything to have one more hectic day of racing to do laundry, dishes and put the Easter decorations away -- all before an eight-hour work shift and a restless night of ups and downs with a baby.
What I should've said was "Thank you."
Her perspective keeps me going on the days I feel like giving up.