Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Me time? Who am I anyway?

When I sit down to write, I find it difficult to write about something besides parenting. I’ve never done something in my life that has been as all-encompassing as parenting.

I’ve been so wrapped up in my daughter over the past almost-eight months that I often find it hard to think about anything else. I’m sure it’s a natural response to having a baby. It’s how our bodies are set up, to ensure that we properly care for our infants.

Nevertheless, I have not felt quite like myself over the past eight months. Work definitely helps, because it forces me to think about something other than Jane for at least a few hours a day. Other interests have fallen by the wayside.

I can hardly stand to watch television anymore. We haven’t watched a television show during its actual time slot since Jane was born, I don’t think. Thanks to DVR, we do still get to watch our favorites, but we are weeks behind on most of them.

Most of the time the TV doesn’t even get turned on anymore. It’s a combination of lack of interest, my annoyance, and my paranoia that my child is going to watch too much television.

We do manage to watch a movie once in a while, but we are no longer the movie-watchers we once were. We used to watch nearly every new movie that came out (at home, though we did go to the theater once a month or so).

Another favorite pastime of mine that has fallen by the wayside is reading. I really hate to even admit this, but I am going to anyway. Until just recently, I’d been reading the same book I started right after Jane was born. (Well, something other than “Baby Animals” or “Peekaboo, I See You.”) This is terribly embarrassing for me—the Lit major, the one who’s always reading something. I’m not trying to brag, but last year I read “The Count of Monte Cristo,” all 1,200 or so pages. Yet between October and May I had finished not one book.

I have now remedied that. I put aside the book I’ve been struggling to finish and started something new. I joined an online book club and read our first selection—“Half-Baked” by Alexa Stevenson (a Minnesota author)—in about a week and a half. It helped that the book we read was about pregnancy/babies, I think.

It turned out this was just the kick in the pants I needed to start reading again. After I finished “Half-Baked,” which is about a baby born at 26 weeks gestation, I started another book. This one has nothing to do with babies, yet I’m over halfway through it already. I think we’re making progress!

Suddenly I’m excited about doing something for me again. It’s hard when you’re a new mom, especially when you’re dealing with guilt over sending your child to daycare every day and feel the need to make every second count. Yet I’ve come to realize that I need some time for me, too.

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