Yeah, so feel free to skip this post because it’s nothing but one long whiny complaint about everything under the sun, and unfortunately I’m not as funny as Stephanie (seriously – have you read her? Cracks me up!) to be able to at least make the lament entertaining.
Right now this minute I’m watching V. sleep after trying unsuccessfully five times to get hold of my adviser. We had a phone conference scheduled for 3 p.m. this afternoon, which meant I cut my own nap short (and believe me I DEPEND on those naps) AND re-arranged my and my MIL’s schedules to be available for this call. I’ve been phoning every 10 minutes since 3 and she just does not pick up. WTF. Oh – AND – I also needlessly rescheduled an interview I had set up previously to this. So I’m kind of angry, and also feeling let down and annoyed and frustrated. It’s not just me but two other people who were inconvenienced. AND – this is the second time she’s done this.
The other thing that’s been bugging me… is just the sleep issues with V. And please, before I say anything else, PLEASE, unless you are Rachel, no advice. Including “what worked for us was…” I posted about her sleep issues on my other blog, and a former student wrote me a long message on FB about what she’s doing for naps with her 4-month-old along with a link to an article on how some tender-hearted attachment-parenting type finally got up the guts to let her baby put herself to sleep in her crib and how said baby instantly started sleeping 12 hours straight every night and I just couldn’t take it. I had a physiological anger response – heart pounding, face hot, palms sweating – like “it’s so easy! the only thing keeping you from a good night’s sleep is this easy-peasy recipe” LIKE I HAVEN’T HEARD IT BEFORE. Like we didn’t spend MONTHS last year sleep-training, and FINALLY got V. sleeping in a crib in her own room until our summer travels disrupted her routine and then T. didn’t have the self-discipline not to revert to co-sleeping again. I feel like such an utter and complete failure at this, and those stories are just salt in the wound. I spend HOURS every day and evening putting her down for naps and for the night. I have headaches all morning because of her night waking. I’m so tired of it, and I don’t know what to do. There are moments when I feel all calm and zen about it, like this is how our life is, and I just have to roll with it. Then there are times when I just feel like I can’t go on. I feel like we got off track with her about 17 months ago, and have dug ourselves into a pit that there is no escape from. The situation we’ve created for ourselves has cemented us into a pattern that will never change. Well, maybe when she’s like 7.
Actually I had to go tend to the V. just now before finishing the vent… and now I can’t remember what else I was going to complain about. Well, one was the snowed-in days we just had, which simply did not feel like the break/respite that snow days used to be before we had a toddler. There is no such thing as a day off anymore… and no matter how dearly I love my daughter, I still miss the respite. Having a whole day in front of me in which there was nothing that HAD to be done, all to myself. It will be a long time before those come back again, I think.
Oh yeah, I remembered the other thing. This might get long… hopefully any potential readers are bored and moving on by now. Anyway, yesterday I guest spoke in an Anthropology class, and it was really fun once I got over feeling nervous. It was kind of an autobiographical discussion of how I became a feminist, with some theory thrown in for academics’ sake – the tension between personal agency and social forces/identities that shape us. So it was fun. But I was nearing the end of my prepared talk and realized, good lord, I’m like some kind of freaking high achiever type. Or – I WAS. Class valedictorian (less impressive if you consider it was a graduating class of FIVE), also student council president (and first female to hold that position in my school, ever), and twice during high school was voted “student of the year” by faculty and student body collectively. Then college, where I wasn’t as impressive – I made the dean’s list usually, but never a perfect 4.0 – but I did win an essay competition in sophomore year, and a poetry competition my senior year. Then a few years down the road was awarded National Program Staff of the Year at the agency I worked at just before going back to grad school.
Well, after all that “success” (by some measures) I’m feeling pretty darn mediocre these days and it’s troubling my sense of self. Which is probably a good thing because these things are so artificial anyway. But it’s been really hard juggling a PhD program and motherhood, and in both arenas I feel absolutely and completely and utterly mediocre. And that’s hard to come to terms with because I pressure myself to EXCEL at the things I do. With my academic work, I feel so unmotivated – I typically get about one hour of actual work done on any given day – completely pathetic. With parenting, I just feel like I SUCK. I’m doing ok with the feeding and general affection and play, but the sleep thing has me on my knees begging for mercy, and discipline I feel very uncertain about. And let’s not even get started on housework and managing the household side of things.
Ok, enough. My next post is going to be about things I’m thankful for and things I’m looking forward to just to try to balance this all out a bit.