Self Care in the Age of Doing it All

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Read the first part of this story over at Today Parenting Team.

I was in an airport bar sitting solo with my computer and an empty beer glass. I had just ordered cheesecake that I didn’t have to share

I spent the past weekend remembering what it’s like to be me, how it feels to answer to no one, to go where I want, when I want. To sit in silence.

To sleep.

There was so much sleep. I slept for six hours in a row — as in, without waking up. And then I went back to sleep. If I had crazy stressful dreams I don’t remember them, I just remember going to sleep and then waking up.

The last 14 months have been a study in sleep deprivation. Some nights it’s just a constant half-awake shuffle of bodies as I try to get Rowan to sleep. He tosses and turns, latches and pops off, but won’t take a pacifier or sleep in his crib. He’s not a baby for whom cry it out would work, he would scream for hours. He’s been in and out of illness, painful ears and difficult breaths making him cling to me, desperate for sleep that he can’t settle into out of discomfort. Some nights I don’t feel like I’ve slept at all.

It has made me a shell-shocked shell, working through the motions of my life and counting down the seconds until the next bedtime, hopeful that tonight will be the night that I get to sleep. It never is. A good night is one where I feel like I got any consecutive hours of sleep.

But this weekend? This weekend I remembered that I used to be a happier person, because I had the energy to figure out how to turn that frown upside down.

The Nields were playing their 25th anniversary shows in New England. I hung out with friends I haven’t seen in years, and “met” a couple of online friends for the first time.

I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I drove in silence. I was not only self-reliant, but no one else was relying on me. My responsibilities were adult responsibilities, but not parental.

On Monday morning Rowan woke up and realized he was snuggled against me. A huge grin spread across his face and he laid his head down on my chest in his version of a hug. I got home from work yesterday and cleaned (a little). I had (a little) more patience. Who knows how long it’ll last, but a little is better than nothing.

I’m considering getting a travel rewards credit card to make this happen more often.

Maybe next time I’ll even take my husband.

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