Parenthood is a lot like that moment when first start riding a two-wheeled bike for the first time. Whoever was holding you up has let go and suddenly you’re pedaling fast and furious, and you’re doing it! Filled with pride, everything is how you’d imagined it would be — wind whipping, scenery passing, freedom is yours! “Look at me,” you call out, “I’m doing it!!!” Until you hit the urine covered fire hydrant, crash into the neighbor’s fence, go off the curb, or otherwise upset the careful, perfect balance of things that riding a bike requires.
I have weeks (though few in number lately) where I feel like I’m doing it: running in the mornings, going to the gym on the weekends, cooking meals, researching, writing it the mornings before the kiddo is up, playing with the kiddo when he is up, getting work done, being a good colleague, fitting in some time for fun, tidying up the house before bed, doing yoga, reading at night before bed, watching some TV too, hey – even spending time on SMS (but not too much…). All of this is done in a reasonably clean house (I’ve truly given up on perfection or even close to my standards here) and with a reasonably clean child, and sanity settles in: a combination of pride (Look at me!) and gratitude, and a false sense (hope) that this could continue indefinitely.
And then the perfect balance is broken by one or many things. For us it has included the draining interruption of starting daycare, followed by our first daycare cold two weeks in (which has lasted over a week and half at this point). All last week I was too sick to get up in the mornings and write. At night I would fall into bed without dessert, cereal, TV, or reading (this is a very clear indicator of just how sick I was). I haven’t moved my body since September 11th.
While I set September 12th — the day Levi started daycare — as the date after which I would truly be able to focus on my work and research/writing, the opposite has ended up being true. My focus is actually all about Levi’s daycare experience — how to get out the door on time in the morning (I’m drenched in sweat every morning by the time that car seat buckle clicks in); how to deal with the emotions of worrying about him; how to get him to sleep and eat while he’s at daycare. My work days now consist of looking at the daycare’s Shutterfly site while e-mailing the director for updates.
This morning I was at my desk shortly after 5:30. I will stick to the schedule at work that I have set for myself. Tonight I will do yoga before bed. Maybe, in a truly amazing feat, we will get the Halloween decorations put out, but let’s not count on it. This is week balance will be restored. Or will it?