Wednesday, September 07, 2011

My Time, Our Time

The shine has worn off of the jealousy I felt about my friend's new baby when she first came into the world. At first I viewed her experience through the rose-colored glasses that accompany new motherhood, but seeing the reality of her new world has convinced me more than ever that I don't want what she has. But it's not just her.

There's the friends with toddlers who haven't gone to the conventions that my husband and I love so much in the years since their children were born. There's the couple who has spent the four years since their son was born doing things only separately so the other could care for him since they don't have family nearby. Most of the burden has fallen on the mother. "When he was born, my life changed completely; R's life has hardly changed at all." Granted, this is a problem in their marriage, that they're not working together, but it's just so sad to me.

"You'll know if it's what you want. If you don't know, don't do it," she said to me.

But my dear friend with her newborn is providing the biggest confirmation that I don't want to do that job. Mom was a colicky baby herself, and her daughter is… well, while she's beautiful in many ways she's also a nightmare. She never stops crying. Never. If she is awake, she is not just crying, she's screaming bloody murder, wailing inconsolably.

The day I spent with Mom and baby was impossibly stressful. After awhile the wailing became white noise, sort of, but every visit since has been increasingly difficult, especially since Mom and Dad are becoming increasingly frayed. They love their daughter but being unable to console her is causing incredible tension between them. I'm encouraged that they're able to admit that this is really, really hard and think things would be even harder for them if they felt the pressure to say everything's perfect at all times, but it's hard to see them struggling so much.

She said to me "the baby eats ALL OF MY TIME" and it became so real. She has no time to be herself. When baby was first born she had time for her hobbies, but that was before she went back to work. Baking, cooking, writing, gaming, all of it's falling by the wayside so she can devote her time to her daughter.

I've talked about how important my time is to me, and how important time with my husband is, but once again I see this reinforced by watching my friends in their parenting adventures. I want to go to concerts, travel, or go to conventions, but I want to do it with my husband. Raising a child wouldn't just sacrifice my time. Sacrificing my time is sacrificing my life and who I am. It just doesn't sound worth it to me.