You want to hear a secret? I sort of hate the weekend. That sounds really shitty and ungrateful, I know. Let me backup a bit.
The fall that C joined our family was astonishingly manageable. When dude was a few weeks old he started sleeping through the night. At first we thought something was wrong because babies are not supposed to sleep through the night. Based on our previous experience we thought babies actually weren’t able to sleep at all. But C loved to sleep. He loved to sleep when we loved to sleep. On top of that he was incredibly chill during the day. T was two that fall and needed a lot of attention. C was happy to watch T from the comfort of his bouncy seat. He was relaxed about hopping in the car to take T to school. He loved cuddling with me in his Ergo. He was so easy we couldn’t believe he was real. He was so easy we immediately thought we wanted to have a third. Z and I loved being a family of four, having another kid made us love the first one so much more, made us love each other more as well. If more kids meant more love we thought we’d be crazy not to have another.
A year ago things started to change a bit. C stopped sleeping through the night, he started needing more attention during the day. Well, that was perfectly fine. Things were still pretty manageable. And he’d been so easy during the fall he totally deserved to have a little bit of a rough time. I remember talking to one of my very smartest of smart friends, one of my favorite people of all time, during that period. Her youngest is in between my boys, her eldest is a year older than T. And she was struggling big time. She had nothing left, at that point she was home with the kids and they were unrelenting in their constant and simultaneous need. She said the first year with two was so much easier than the second year.
It scared me, but I was still firmly in the comfortable first year bubble. And she wasn’t telling me to scare me. She needed to talk, I am her friend. But she has told me so many true things since she has become a mom that I listened. I absorbed the knowledge that year two was going to be harder. Well, it’s nice that I knew so I wouldn’t think I was going bat shit insane when it happened, but knowing something is gong to be tough doesn’t necessarily prepare you for how tough things are going to be. I’m in it now. And it fucking sucks. It is unrelenting. They fucking need us all the time. They can’t entertain themselves well on their own, and if they are entertaining themselves we need to worry about them maiming each other. My sister, who has two boys nearly the same age, explained it like this: the boys play beautifully side by side for an indeterminate amount of time, then out of the blue they attack each other like feral dogs. You never know when it’s coming.
So they are exhausting during the day and now C wakes anywhere between 2 and 5 times a night. I know, I know this is as temporary as the lovely fall after C was born. I know we probably have another year, maybe two of the extremely physically grueling part of parenting. I know when they are able to occupy themselves safely and when we have more time to ourselves that the demands will be no less difficult, just different. Z and I also know that there is no way in fucking hell we are having another. We are tapped out.
But knowing that stuff doesn’t matter much when I am at the end of my rope. I look forward to the weekend all week long. I look forward to spending time with Z and to getting a break. Um, there is little time with Z, certainly no time with just the two of us. We are juggling the boys, juggling housework and homework for me. We are exhausted and frustrated and short with each other. Don’t get me wrong, he takes the boys to help me. Yesterday morning he let me sleep in. I woke up on my own at 8:15 and it was amazing. But the shitty part is a couple extra hours of sleep does not restore me. And I feel terrible about it. Z tries to do nice things to make my life better and it’s not enough? I’m not grateful? What kind of asshole am I? The reality is my job is the boys and on the weekend my job doesn’t go away. And if I did have a job outside the home? Z loves his job. Like actually wants to go to work. But he is spent by the time Friday rolls around. He needs a break as well. If he goes and gets a couple of drinks with some friends on a Saturday night after the boys go down he still needs to be up at 6am, hungover or not. Forget up at 6am, he needs to deal with T being up at 4am while I’m dealing with C.
So on FB I read about friends who doen’t have kids, or who have older kids doing awesome stuff on the weekends. And I love facebook, really I do, but for once I am jealous as hell. I might be most jealous of the people who do absolutely nothing during a weekend day. Who just hang out and nap and only have to worry about themselves. So during the week I get overwhelmed and frustrated and I need a fucking break. To get through I tell myself, just make it till the weekend. Everything will be better during the weekend. I lie to myself every week. And even though I really know what is going to happen I am surprised and frustrated every damn weekend.
Are the people who don’t have kids asking why the fuck would they ever do it? Remember the part about the kids increasing your capacity to love everyone in your life more? The love makes it all worth it. I know. Doesn’t make any sense to me, either. But it is true.