This is a cautionary tale…
I’m sitting at the ski resort bar writing on the back of a napkin. Lucie is here taking her first ski lesson, so I’m staying close in case it doesn’t go well. Meanwhile, I’m praying that baby Alice is okay back at our rental cabin with a local-babysitter-I’ve-never-met-before.
I should be skiing right now, but I’m not*. I mean, that was the whole point of coming up here, right?
You see, I was up the ENTIRE night last night. I haven’t pulled an all-nighter since… I dunno, college?
The four of us are packed into one room in a cabin full of friends. Blame the insomnia on a mixture of travel anxiety, too much caffeine, altitude (eh?), and OH YEAH — because one of the kids was up just about every hour last night *crying*, waking up the other one. It put me into my neurotic why-even-bother-to-sleep mode. I was just praying for the sun to rise — that way, I wouldn’t have to pretend to try to sleep anymore.
I feel so defeated right now. Like… what exactly were we thinking trying to take a ski trip with a bunch of friends with a baby and a 3-year-old? I’m a serial try-to-do-too-much’er. It’s an illness.
About a month after Alice (babe #2) was born, I met a friend at a park for a picnic. She could tell right away I was struggling. She said, “Meg, give yourself a break. Last year (i.e., the year her 2nd was born) was the hardest year of my life.“
As though someone had confirmed my worst fear, those words caused a visceral reaction. As my eyes welled with tears, I said, “But it can’t be this hard, can it? I think I’m doing something wrong.”
Seven months later, I will tell you: oh yes, it CAN be this hard**. I mean, it’s fine, you’ll get through it, but yeah…. it’s pretty hard. Especially if you have no family around, like me.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that most people on the planet Earth have more than one child; this isn’t some strange anomaly or uncharted territory for mankind. But, I REALLY didn’t know how challenging it would be to add babe number two to our lives.
There’s a point to this [I promise]: having young kids is hard, y’all. People don’t talk about this stuff, but my girls bring me to my knees… more often than I care to admit. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and I don’t even know when I’ll be able to come up for air. Like everything is really blurry and I’m just wading through it.
My friends-who-also-had-baby-number-2-around-the-same-time and I keep reminding each other “it will get better”– in about a year, I’m guessing. Between now and then, it’s just gonna be kinda shitty***. And that’s okay.
Doing the things you normally do with one kid was totally doable; throw a second kid into the mix and you JUST have to scale it all back. Do less. Lower your expectations. Don’t make big plans. And for the love of God, get two rooms when you travel.
A childless friend called last week and said, “Hey, let’s hit Tahoe this weekend! Just bring the kids.” My Response: “hellllll no.”
Maybe in a year. Or two.
* I realize this is a 1st world problem (poor me, I can’t ski today – wah wah).
** I have a nasty little “anxiety problem” and apparently I lack some coping skills, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
*** I’m very grateful to have Baby Alice in my life. I have lots of friends with secondary infertility, so please don’t think I take it for granted.