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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Levels of tired... And coffee stains

Tired is relative, exhausted is pervasive... but joy is palpable.

Working all day in a position where I fight with buggy code, flaky installers, grumpy customers and demanding schedules drains me immeasurably. It beats the life from me, flogs the joy from my world, makes me dream of something, almost anything else. Suggestions I have for improving things are, not ignored so much as set aside. This leaves me not only drained, but dispirited, sad and bordering upon depression.

And then I come home! The clouds break apart and the fugue that clouds my judgement of people, the world and the goodwill of men begins to fragment and dissolve. All from the simplest of things... the smile of my daughter, the relief in the eyes (and mildly hysterical voice) of my wife, and the crowding flurry of fuzzy animals at my feet - all full of joy to see me.

It makes me a Man; It makes me glad to be alive; My heart grows three sizes.

So I step up my game. I try to shake the depression, anger and frustration of my day to day; leaving it behind me as I move through the doorway and into my other life.
I play with the baby though what I want is a nap and find that it's almost as refreshing... if not as restful.
I make dinner if Laura is unable or unwilling, though she usually has a quick meal ready to rumble. I'll do whatever it takes to try and help Laura get through a relaxing evening.

But 'Me time'... wow I miss that. And that is the hardest thing to adjust to. I am one of those people who need to retreat from the world, from people, from everything and immerse myself in a book, walk in the woods, do *something* to get some alone time. Pre-baby I did it in the evenings, occasionally missing a bit of sleep to get it. Now, I can only get it late at night; and even then it's not 'total' because I have to sneak around while the rest of the house (lightly) sleeps.

So, I steal some hours from the night - Insomnia sets in as my brain DEMANDS alone time. As a result I am now more addicted to those three cups of coffee every morning than I have ever been...

So, Exaustion + Joy = Daddy (with Coffee Stains)

12 comments:

Criss L. Cox said...

Me time is important. Can you sneak any at work (taking a walk at lunch, etc)? Make sure you're not killing yourself for a job that doesn't appreciate you.

Brian Drake said...

At work, my 'me' time manifests as a daily reading list that isn't exactly 100% work related; but it's still technical. It's enough to give my brain a break and relieve the pressure (though the procrastination adds it's own pressures).

I'm not killing myself; but nor am I thrilled to be doing the work. Once Laura and I pass through this phase to the other side (kids in school & laura back in the work-force); I'm hoping to have a chance to go back to school full time and get a degree and career in a field more of my choosing, than what I have stumbled into by virtue of my unabashed geekdom.

Laura said...

The idea of "me" time is so foreign to me right now. Any time that I get away from Mira is spent running errands that I can't do with her or going to the grocery store or whatever and I spend the entire time just thinking about how I need to get back to her quick quick quick. I guess I need to work on letting you get some alone time when you get home. Mira and I are just always so glad to see you that it's hard to stay away. But we'll do it for you.

Criss L. Cox said...

Laura, I suggest you find a way to get your own "me" time as well, for your benefit and for Mira's. I know it's tough, but find a way to do it. You have grandparents and aunts around, use them.

Laura said...

I try to get some relaxing in when she's napping. But then I just sit there and think of all the things I should be doing like the dishes or the laundry. I'll sit on the sofa and there will be a used tissue on the coffee table or a pair of Brian's dirty socks on the floor just *staring* at me and then I can't just keep sitting there, I have to get up and tidy up. And then Mira doesn't take naps longer than 30 minutes or so most days, so then I finish tidying and sit back down only to hear a little cry from the nursery. And when Mira's awake I can't even take my time on the crapper.

Anyway, I try to get what time I can when she's sleeping. Because really, that's the only time that I can feel good about being away from her. If I'm away from her and I know that she is awake, then the whole time I'm just thinking about how I need to get back to her and I forget to try to relax. So that's why I'm working on trying to get her to take longer naps. (I put up blackout curtains in her room and bought a white noise machine for her room, so we'll see how that works.)

Brian Drake said...

Point of clarity! I was thinking of "me time" as more a juxtoposition of pre-and-post baby. I don't need it as often as I used to get it; and I certainly don't want to sacrifice my getting home & playing with the baby routine in the work-week evenings. I *need* that to recharge my batteries too!!!

But dear - *you* need to get some 'me time'; I know it's foreign to you now but you need that break even more than I do. You don't have an 'Other' life to switch between & get some compartmentalization with the associated brain breaks.

Marcy said...

It's so easy for us to feel guilty about time away, like we're "neglecting" our kids. But my friend brought up a good point with me the other day-- that she'll watch others play with her kid, whether it be friends or grandparents, etc, and they'll get down on the floor and for that hour or 2 that they're with her kid, they give 100%. Something that we moms are often too tired/overwhelmed/busy to truly do all the time. So in a way, it's probably really good for our little ones to spend time with people other than us and get that attention and that sense or joy of this other person being so happy to be with them. Not to mention that we DO need breaks. It's especially tough in this first year when you're nursing, but it's important to find time away. Happy mom = happy family, and the reverse is also all too true.

Donna Kinney said...

Sorry, there's really not much "me" time for GOOD parents, no matter what. Not for about 18 years. Even if you are not with your kids, you will spend all your time thinking about them, or about parenting, or about how to improve things for them, or how to support them or shopping for them or planning how to pay for the things they need or get them into good schools. Or wondering if you are worrying too much about all that. But don't spend time wondering if you should be getting more ME time, BECAUSE IT JUST AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.

Now for BAD parents, it's a different situation.

Marcy said...

lol! Well I guess I'm a terrible mother then. ; )

Donna Kinney said...

Okay - I'm never commenting again, because I never seem to get my meaning clear. I DEFINITELY did NOT mean to suggest that ANYBODY here is a bad parent, because I'm sure they are not. Bad parents wouldn't even be participating in this discussion because they ALWAYS have "ME" time. It's only good parents that have to try to find it (in my experience, mostly unsuccessfully).

Criss L. Cox said...

Actually, Donna, the one who should never comment again is me. I don't even HAVE children, so what the h3ll do I know?

On a side note, Brian & Laura, Mira is adorable. I'm glad I finally got to meet her, and I hope to hang out with her again soon.

Marcy said...

It's ok, I took no offense.

I seem to be lacking the "mommy guilt" gene, and so don't feel guilty for leaving D with a (capable and responsible) baby-sitter, and don't seem to obsess about him like so many other moms do when I'm away from him. I at first felt guilty about THAT, but have realized that it doesn't make me a bad mom.

I also do feel strongly that even if you think about your kids the entire time when you're away from them, it's still a break and a chance to decide for yourself what you want to do and when (even if only for an hour) and do something for yourself rather than constantly cater to someone else's needs. In my short experience as a mother so far, it seems to be the key to maintaining some semblance of sanity.