Pity Party, Table For One

Imagine that you and your significant other are on your way out the door to your favorite restaurant. You don't go to this restaurant often, so it's a real treat that you're going there tonight. You've been thinking about this meal for weeks, what you'll order for an appetizer, your main course, even for dessert. And even though it's been awhile since you were last there, you can still remember every detail of the place, from the tablecloths, to the flowers on the table, to the way the warm bread melted in your mouth as you waited for your salad course. To say that you're excited for the meal doesn't adequately capture what you're feeling right now.

You finally arrive at the restaurant. And instead of Fratelli's Italian Ristorante you find Bubba's Taco Palace. Needless to say, they don't carry the homemade gnocchi you've been craving for weeks.

Last week was Rich's spring break from school. No work for one whole week. No classes that have been keeping him away from home two nights a week since January for one whole week. No after-school groups, no board meetings. Nothing. He was to be free from all work and school obligations for seven blissful days.

On Monday of last week, he came down with strep throat. Throat-closing, ginormous white spot-growing, lymph node-swelling, fever-spiking strep throat. Antibiotics didn't touched the beast, so we think it's viral. He can still barely speak. He is awake all night, and sleeps much of the day. He has been staying far, far away from Isabella (and from me), or as much as he can in our small house. I feel so badly for him, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I also feel badly for me. To say I had looked forward to last week doesn't quite cover it.

To put this into context for you, I'll say that I've essentially been a single parent for the last four months. The hubs not only has a full-time job as the Enrichment Co-ordinator for his school district, but he's also completing an internship in his path to become a school principal, so he is serving as acting principal for an elementary school while its principal is recovering from knee surgery. And he's also taking classes two nights a week, directly following his day at school. So if he isn't staying late at school for administrative or board meetings, he is at a local university from 4pm-8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He rarely sees Isabella during the week, and when he does, it's usually to kiss her goodnight before her 7pm bedtime.

So last week's spring break was not only going to give Rich some much-needed time with his daughter, it was going to provide me a much-needed break from being Isabella's sole caregiver from morning until night. I didn't have anything extravagant planned. I was going to catch up on my work so I could finally feel as if I was ahead of my manager's requests instead of feeling as if I were constantly behind the 8 ball. I was going to work hard to diminish the stack of magazines beside my bed, with issues dating back to February, and even crack open a book or two from the pile I keep foolishly growing in my closet. I was going to catch up on all of your blogs, which I so miss reading on a regular basis. I was even going to escape to Starbucks for an hour or so as a did a few months ago, especially considering the one closest to my house just moved to a new and less crowded location.

I was going to pretend for a little while each day that my life hadn't changed so drastically from what it was just 8 months ago. I was going to try and reclaim the person that's been buried deep under the mommy role since last August. And at the end of the week, I would be recharged and refreshed, and hopefully emerge with a new attitude toward the life I'm living now. Truly, books and magazines and Starbucks aside, this is what I was looking forward to most.

It was to be a win-win situation for us both.

It never happened.

Instead, for the last seven days, I have changed every diaper, fed every meal, played every game, read every story, changed every peed- or pooped-on outfit, washed every dirty highchair tray, cleaned up every spit-up mess, wiped away every tear, and carried an increasingly heavy baby girl everywhere she needed to go all day, every day. All this, while juggling a full-time job at the same time. Really, it's no more than I do every week, Monday through Friday. But I wasn't supposed to have to do it last week.

And now the week, and that opportunity, are gone. And I'm sad, and I'm disappointed, and I'm exhausted.

Check, please.

15 Responses to “Pity Party, Table For One”

  1. # Blogger kenju

    I can remember well those days and weeks when my children were small. Mr. kenju travelled all the time (Mon. thru Thursday night) and if anything got done, I had to do it. It isn't easy, Kristi, and I wish you could have some help and a respite. I hope your husband gets well soon and that he shows you how grateful he is for your aid and dedication.  

  2. # Blogger Marie

    Sigh. Big big bummer. You were running on empty & all set for the refueling station, which was pushed further away at the last minute. Ugh. Ugh!!

    Rich must be running on empty, too... I'm guessing, huh? With that crazy schedule...

    Have you thought about lining up the relatives (or non-family helpers) to take a shift on a regular basis? You're really pushing yourself with an 8-month old...  

  3. # Blogger Christine

    Poor you and poor Rich. I feel his pain as I've come down with a loverly malady of my own.

    But man. What a let down. Summer vacation will be coming before you know it. Maybe one of the relatives wants to watch Isabella one day to let you catch up?  

  4. # Blogger M

    Oh dear Lord! What a week you've had. I believe Rich owes you a nice night out sans Isabella when he is feeling better.
    I didn't realize he was in education. Mike just applied for assistant principal jobs for next year-- which could leave me as a single mother too!  

  5. # Blogger My Wombinations

    I really understand how you feel and it can be totally overwhelming. We just need one hour or two a day to recharge. I find if I don't have that I really start to lose it. It feels like running on empty. If not your family, is it at all possible to hire a mother's helper for a couple of hours each week? I know it would cost $$, but maybe a tiny bit of relief would be worth it.  

  6. # Blogger The Princess

    It's tough and my heart goes out for you. No one explains how difficult parenting can be but know, these days will be over soon and things will just be better.  

  7. # Blogger Damselfly

    Aw, that's a heavy load to carry. Anyone would be exhausted. But when you were expecting something different/better ... even more so. I hope you can get a break soon.  

  8. # Blogger Ramona

    I think Marie has a great idea. You kind of sound like you're running out of steam and just need a little break. How aobut a babysitter during the week for a few hours just to give you a little sanity?
    I do hope your hubby is feeling better. You both sound stretched to the max right now.  

  9. # Blogger anne

    Aw, man. That's too bad, Kristi. I'm guessing that the burden seemed even heavier because it wasn't supposed to be sitting there, square on your shoulders, mocking you.

    I hope maybe when summer show up, you'll have a much needed week to relax? I feel for Rich, too. Sounds like you could both use some down-time.

    Hopefully spring will finally show up here in upstate NY - even when life is overwhelming, a pretty spring day can do wonders for one's soul!  

  10. # Blogger sunShine

    When I am at home with the babe, I pretty much feel like a single mom. Hubby is working 2 jobs and so that leaves me to do everything for the household and the babe. It is exhausting. Sorry your week did not turn out the way you had planned.  

  11. # Blogger l

    Oh, what a bummer! I hope you get your much needed "me" time soon.  

  12. # Blogger Shannon

    can you dump baby girl on the realitves to give yourself a break? or a friend to just watch her one night while hubby is in class for you to escape for a coffee? If I lived closer I would take her for a few so you could recharge... don't know if she would have any hair left after Lorelei got done with her... but I would watch her for ya lol...  

  13. # Blogger sher

    Oh, I'm so sorry!!! I wish I lived near you --I would come over and help you out in any way. Poor Rich too! Both of you are carrying very large loads. I second the idea of asking friends or relatives for some help. I'm sure they would love to spend some time with Isabella--and know they are helping you too. Hugs.  

  14. # Blogger Hopeful Mother

    It's especially big letdown when you *always* have Bubba's Tacos. I hope it gets better for you soon, or at least a temporary recovery...  

  15. # Blogger Editorgirl

    I hope your week is going better!  

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