… to parenting a small baby. I still can’t recommend this to anyone. But the experience is changing! Where it used to be red-orange rage and black despair, now the feeling is more gray emptiness. Not like, cool anatta emptiness, just like, I feel pretty empty.
My brain is empty: I run out of things to talk about pretty quickly. This is unusual for me. My body is ok - when everything is firing just right, when the sleep and food and exercise and caffeine are all within good windows. When one of these goes out of whack, I feel bodily hollow and blah1. My emotions are a little blunted.
My time is much emptier than usual. Maybe 60% of it is normal; that’s the time T is watching the baby. The other 40%, where I’m in charge, is about half “active baby care”, where I’m holding a bottle or doing some other dumb mechanical task; half “watching baby on monitor”, during which my brain is mush. (It’s hard to do anything while watching baby, because you can get interrupted anytime!) So that leaves me at about 70% capacity (60% + half of 20%); and as usual maybe half of my capacity goes to keeping the sports car running.
By “the sports car”, I mean that I feel like a high-maintenance vehicle. Some people get by fine if they sleep 6 hours, or if they don’t see friends for a month, or if they’re active dawn to dusk, or if they eat McDonald’s daily; I don’t. I feel like I’ve got to have the exact right gas, oil, fluids, wheels, brakes, lug nuts, whatever; if one of those wears down, I fall apart.
Anyway, so I went from having 50% of my energy available to, y’know, do things beyond basic survival, to about 20%. It feels like my life is more than cut in half. This is tough.2
What about upsides?
- baby smiles. These happen sometimes and are very cute. They are not life changing as some people seem to think they are.
- walking around with baby. Status boost from this; people just automatically like me.
- In my braindead time, I’ve gotten pretty good at Nonograms.
That’s about it. I can imagine this will continue to improve.
Unfortunately, this “blah” is familiar: it’s mostly the feeling of “not enough sleep.” It’s the way I spent most of grade school and high school, and the way I vowed never to return to, once I could help it! But now we have a baby, and the sleepless years are followed closely by the years during which we have to get up at Ungodly O’clock because he’s going to school. God damn. OTOH, as T pointed out, “when you moan about never sleeping again, do you just mean you’re tired right now and you feel bad?” Uh, yes, I do. ↩︎
In before “other people have it tougher”; yes, of course they do. We are parenting on basically the easiest difficulty level. (The only thing that would make it easier, and this would make it much easier, would be grandparents in town. C’est la vie.) ↩︎
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