December 8, 2008

Life as a single parent

Chris has been in Chicago since Saturday. His grandfather, who was 96 years old, wasn't doing well and he joined his brother in going out there to say his goodbyes and to help his parents with arrangements and such. It's a sad thing; Grandpa Joe was well loved by many people, both within and outside of his family, and he and his spirit will be greatly missed (he passed this morning).

With Chris out of town, I've gotten a taste of what life as a single parent is like. Now, granted, if I really were flying solo on this whole parenting gig, things would be much different. I would be back in MN, possibly living with my parents, because the only way I would be doing this on my own would be (god forbid!) if A) Chris died or B) Chris ditched me. If either of these things happened, I would be devestated and I know my parents would take me in to help me out in a heartbeat. So, really, my experience these past few days is something that would never otherwise happen.

But I'm getting off topic. Point is that being the sole care giver for a three month old is hard work!! Those of you without kids might be thinking "how much work can it be? What does a three month old even do during the day?"

I laugh at you.

A three month old spends her day sleeping, pooping, eating, and playing. Thing is that none of these things are done alone yet. Sure, she'll entertain herself for a good 10-15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day, but beyond that, she's entirely dependent on me to change her, feed her, entertain her, and help her sleep. Add to that all of the daily household responsibilities and my day is overloaded.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am in no way complaining about my child. I have never been so utterly in love with anyone, and parenthood is a truly rewarding experience. She really is a good baby, and I feel extremely lucky to have a child that is so happy so much of the time, doesn't have colic, etc etc. However she can be extremely fussy if she's overly tired (what baby isn't?) and she is so curious and alert that she doesn't ever seem to want to take a nap. This means I have to bounce and shush her until she's fallen asleep or she won't nap. So I am either 1) dealing with a fussy baby for the second half of the day because she hasn't napped or 2) spending what I have estimated is two hours plus a day bouncing and shushing her to sleep. Either one is exhausting when you're the only one dealing with it. Now, thankfully I have actually found a book that addresses this exact issue (thanks, Jan!) and I am comforted in knowing I should only have to deal with this napping problem for another month or so. But it just so happens that this taste of single parenthood is happening now, not a month from now.

On the upside, I am happy to say that I can do it. I would never choose to, but if I absolutely had to, I could. That being said, I am more than ready for Chris' return tomorrow evening. And I think that he is too. :-)