I've reached the point: the point of being overwhelmed. It's a daily thing now and I wake up and sort of have to pep myself up for another day. At night I literally collapse into my bed and pass out where i fall into a dreamless sleep that leaves me with just enough energy to struggle through the middle-of-the-night diaper changes and feedings. In the morning I coax myself out of bed with the promise of sugar in my tea.
I am exhausted but not just physically, it's emotional exhaustion and mental exhaustion too. A three-for-one kind of exhaustion. The baby is teething and changing up her napping skills (waking up easier, harder to fall asleep), Henry is his typical self (although he actually has been taking it easier on me since we got back from vacation) and he's two and a half in all of the two and a half glory.
Today the baby cried on our way to the book store, while at the book store (save for two or three minutes of me reading to her), while we selected a Potty Book for Henry (more on that later) and then in the car again until she passed out. There's nothing more stressful than being out in public with a toddler who could blow at any moment and a baby who has already lost it. Taking a toddler out in public is like taking a trip with an explosive. You have to handle it the right way and hope that nothing accidentally jostles it or else BOOM, you're all in trouble.
She fell asleep so I snuck us over to run more errands at Babies R Us but I wasn't quick enough and she woke up at the end, just in time to regale us with a scream fest for the 20 minute car ride home. Once we got here she was happy again after I stripped her of all of her clothes and laid her on her playmat. Mental note made: nudity solves problems. For some people.
But really, while all of this was happening, and during yesterday as I drove around for half an hour trying to get her to sleep because nothing else was working, I thought to myself: this is my job. And if this were a different kind of job, I would be updating my resume right about now and searching the job listings for something new.
But this isn't that kind of job, now is it? I mean sure, I could go back to work and make just enough money to keep my kids in daycare but what would that achieve? Nothing much. I would just miss out on raising my kids the way I want to.
And it reminded me of something that I used to know but I sorta forgot about: the fulfillment of our dreams doesn't always make us 100% happy.
That sounds pessimistic but it really isn't.
People in American culture are so fixated, so obsessed really, with being happy that they don't pay attention to a lot of other Important Stuff that's going on. People bail out of perfectly wonderful marriages because they might not be "happy" for a few months, or even for a year or two. So what? Happy is overrated.
Happy isn't really realistic all the time.
What you're looking for is fulfilled, or satisfied. You're looking to see if OVERALL your life is on the trajectory that you want it to be on. Because not all of the things you want to do in life are going to be happy, happy fun things.
Child rearing is the perfect example of this. I wanted to have children, so did Ryan. But has it been a happy experience the whole time? Heck no. Pregnancy is miserable, birth literally left me in therapy, raising the children has left me crying several dozen times. But that doesn't mean it isn't the best damn thing I've ever done. That doesn't mean I am not madly in love with my life. That doesn't mean that I haven't set onto the path of fulfillment of my life goals. This is exactly what I want, but I'm not happy all the time.
And that's OKAY.
I'm trying to realize that the culture is lying to us by telling us we're supposed to be cheek-achingly happy all the time. I'm trying to focus on the end-game here which is the fulfillment of my goal- raising children and staying relatively sane in the process. And I *seem* to be on track for that one.
I don't know if this is making any coherent sense but I'm just putting it out there: don't worry so much about being happy - just make sure you're on the path to fulfilling your ultimate goals and desires. The happiness comes to fill in the gaps when you're on the right path. And in the meantime, grit your teeth, put your head down and put some sugar in your tea. You can get through this, I know it.