Boy, was I wrong.
You see, suffering from insomnia is a pain, both literally and figuratively. But, suffering insomnia quietly and alone is a tolerably solitary affair. Being forced into insomnia by a 16 pound baby themed siren speaker is an entirely different form of suffering. And I’m not even the most affected by this. Jenny is an extremely light sleeper, and she gets roused from sleep just as often (if not more) than I do. We might be the sleepiest couple in South Austin.
I love my son. He’s cute, he’s playful and happy, and we have awesome bonding moments when it’s just the two of us. He looks at me with his pretty blue eyes and I get all warm and mushy. Except for when it’s anywhere between 1 and 4 in the morning. Or 4 and 6 in the morning. Or both. Now, I don’t expect any sympathy from other parents. I know that this is part of the deal, and that it doesn’t last forever. But man, I really miss sleeping at least somewhat uninterrupted.
This small complaint does actually tie into what I really want to talk about in this post. I started writing a baby post about two weeks ago, and after 500(ish) words, I realized that I was basically just making up a bunch of crap that baby lovers want to hear from a stay at home parent. If it weren’t a google doc, I would have crumpled it up and thrown it in the trash. But, since it’s all “in the cloud,” or whatever, It’s just been sitting in my drive, mocking me with it’s fluff piece-ness. I prattled on about how I was on this quest to make myself better for the sake of my son, regaling the hypothetical reader with warm and fuzzy feelings akin to the ever popular self-help genre. The more I wrote and pondered all of the things that I was excelling at, the more room that I found for improvement. Honestly, it was a real dumpster fire of an article that neither represented who I am, nor who I aim to be in the future.
I am, and have been for a while, trying to lift myself out of the mire of my early 20’s. I really fell into a downward spiral after my short collegiate effort. And I genuinely think feel as though I’ve made some decent strides in that regard. But I’m not actually anywhere near where I feel like I should be as a parent and a husband, and talking myself up in some blog post isn’t going to help me get to where I need to go. The more I pondered on how many improvements I’ve made, the more shortcomings were highlighted in the process. So, I set out to put together a post that emphasised the actual reality of what being a stay-home parent is all about.
I’m still selfish with my time. I give up extra sleep at night just to get some quiet time, even though I know that I’m not sleeping well. I took a job (that I’ve since left) working weekend nights because I wanted some extra cash, but I didn’t consider even for a second how it would affect my marriage. The job also caused me to skirt a great deal of my obligations toward this site, and the further sleep deprivation crushed any creativity that I could have ever hoped to muster. And on top of it all, it was basically a wash, financially speaking.
But, it’s nowhere near all bad. There is a real joy in spending time with your baby. I try my best not to take my “job” for granted, because I know that there are tons of people in the world who would love to be in my position. And we do have lots of fun together, even though I’m really sleepy most of the time. And I’m also making personal strides. I’m about a month and a half into regular training at a boxing gym. In my old post, I made the claim that I started working out again for the baby’s sake, but that’s not entirely true. My reasons for getting back into shape are strictly for vanity’s sake, but there is the added bonus of being healthy for my son. I’ve also begun to make the effort to write way more often than I have been. Not everything will make it to this site, mostly because not everything that I feel like writing about is about babies and food. I’m playing with the idea of posting my off topic musings to Medium, or maybe even Facebook. More news on that front later.
Do you have experience staying at home with your babies? What were the ups and downs of your experiences? Let us know in the comments below.