Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sometimes the walls close in...

This past week has had me feeling very conflicted.  More than my usual "am I really cut out to be a parent" conflict, which pretty much wages war in my mind on a daily basis.  This past week, the theater company my husband and I started had its summer performance.  We've been working on the show since the end of May, and we've spent almost every night this summer working on rehearsals, and weekends working on production stuff.  It's no small task.  It takes hours of time and prep.  Rehearsals are nightly from 7:00 until 9:00 and then production week is even busier.  It's going straight from work to rehearsal, staying there until 9:30, going home and managing odds and ends before collapsing into bed by 1:00 a.m. if you're lucky.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  How can I do all of that next year with an infant in tow?  I can't rush from work straight to rehearsal if I have to pick up a baby from daycare and make sure it's fed and diapered.  I can't stay at rehearsals until 9:00 if I have a baby who needs to be in bed by 8:00.  I can't rush home from rehearsal at 9:30 and handle odds and ends if I also have to worry about bathing and putting a baby to bed.

Last night I sat on the sofa and did absolutely nothing.  I made dinner, did the dishes, and then watched 3 hours of television.  I can't do that a year from now.  I will have to come home, make dinner, feed a baby, do dishes, bathe and put the baby to bed, and if I'm lucky I'll be done by 9:00 and have an hour to myself.

It's when I think about thinks like this that the walls start to close in on me.  I start to wonder if I'm too selfish to do this.  If I'm too set in my ways to change much at this point.  Is it terrible of me to think of parenthood in terms of what I have to give up instead of what I'll be gaining?  I think it's unrealistic to not think of all of the things you'll give up.  It's not all sunshine and roses.  Will I have to stop working with the theater company entirely?  Is that something my husband gets to carry on with while I sit at home like a 1950's house wife, doing nothing more than taking care of the baby?  Is this how those obnoxious mommies are made?  By slowly giving up everything they enjoyed or had going on outside of the kid until there is nothing left but being a mom?  It terrifies me.

Someone else in our family announced a pregnancy this week, and every comment on Facebook was glowing congrats, and every reply from her was filled with five exclamation points to emphasize how incredibly excited she is about the whole thing.  I haven't been like that.  Most people would probably listen to me and say I'm not excited at all.  Maybe there's an element of truth to that.  Not an utter lack of excitement, but a lot of trepidation about what it all means.  What I'll have to give up and how my life will change.  Maybe that's me being a pragmatist, and not just thinking of this in terms of "Oh, I'll have this lovely little thing that I can dress up and show off and who will love me no matter what" like a lot of people.  I think of it practically, in very clear terms of understanding that things are going to change.  As much as we work to mitigate those changes and make them as minimal as possible, there are some things that will just change because they have to.  It won't be all about me, or all about my husband anymore.  We've had fifteen years together of doing what we want when we want.  Now we have to take someone else into account, and I'm afraid that's going to be an adjustment that will be harder than we realize.  I'm excited to see my kid for the first time (though, not so much about the whole bringing it into the world process) and to watch it become a little person, and hopefully guide it into not being a crappy little person, but that stuff is all a long way off in my mind.  In the immediate time frame I'm just afraid of every unknown that I can't plan for.  I'm afraid of losing myself.  I'm afraid of having to change too much of my life, which is at a place where I'm pretty comfortable.  I'm afraid of having a kid who screams non-stop.  I think about these things and it makes me nervous.  It makes me unsure of myself, and of whether I'm doing the right thing.  It makes me doubt even more that I have any business doing any of this.

And anything that's supposed to be "fun" about this process gets killed before it even gets off the ground.  All of that shopping/decorating/picking a name stuff is hard to get excited about when everyone wants to put in their two cents and tell you all about what you're doing wrong.  I never consider baby showers fun, but that's supposed to be a celebration, and the very idea of what mine will end up like is making me not want one at all because no one involved in the process will listen to me, so it won't be anything I want.  Even shopping with family will turn into everyone telling me what I should be doing or buying instead of letting me decide it for myself.

I am not sure how other people get over the moon excited.  All I feel is nervous.


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