About Amy

This blog is about my wife's and my experiences making a baby and then raising the child. I'm a PhD candidate trying to balance dissertation work, parenting, marriage, and home-maker endeavours. I also dabble in urban homesteading, and sometimes share stories about my chickens and gardens. I'll candidly share my successes and failures in this balancing act.

“During menses, she is sad that she has failed…”

Let me preface this by saying that we are not currently trying to conceive. However, I want to be. Right now the biggest thing stopping us is my wife’s mental health. We have to get that back on track before making the final decision about whether or not to try for a second child. You wouldn’t believe how much this has taken over my mind… it’s just like the first time. I became obsessed, with this almost animalistic urge to have a baby, and the more we actually prepared and actually tried to conceive, the worse it got. The same thing is happening again, even though we’re not in a place to even decide for sure if we can have another. *(my wife struggles with depression and this year has been a particularly bad one).

My mental state reminds me of a hilariously anti-woman line by Dwight Schrute from The Office:

The menstrual cycle determines every choice a woman makes. You see, during ovulation, a woman’s only goal is to get pregnant, and during menses, she is sad that she has failed.

I get sad when I get my period, but I’ve also been getting sad around ovulation. I think about the little egg that could, and the person that egg could have become.

And of course I would never say any of this around a political conservative / Republican because it would all be ammunition for pro-lifers, but the deal is, it’s my body, my egg, and my prerogative. I can value the potential life in every egg I drop without saying that life begins at conception or that women shouldn’t be free from external constraints to terminate any pregnancy, no matter the reason. Wow, this went in a different direction that I’d intended…

Anyway, back on track. I wish I had a friend I could talk to about this – about how hard it can be to have a partner with depression, and how that fact is one of the major barriers in us expanding our family. All of my friends have become our friends, which is wonderful, but it leaves me with without an impartial outlet. I don’t feel right talking to mutual friends about things my wife wouldn’t discuss with them on her own. I had a friend who wasn’t connected to my wife in any way, but there was weirdness when he told me he was in love with me, and now he has terminal cancer and I’m not going to add my negative emotions to his life right now. So yeah, I’m feeling like this blog is my only outlet. I appreciate you, blogosphere. I’ll keep you posted.

Advertisements

New clothes, new me…?

For my birthday I got a gift card to buy some work clothes. I haven’t needed formal work clothes in years, with my mom/student lifestyle. When I put on these new clothes, I felt like I could be happy shifting my identity toward “working mom” and away from “stay-at-home mom.” I felt like I could see myself moving forward through the rest of my life never experiencing another pregnancy, or another newborn… It’s wild what a new style will do to your self-image.

In other news, my work as a contractor is going well and I’m getting enough to projects to fill my time while I wait for feedback on the final draft of my dissertation. If anyone has any tips for how I should be dealing with my finances as an independent consultant, let me know… this is a whole new can of worms for me.

Comparing yourself to others

At this point we likely all know that it’s silly to compare yourself to others. It’s silly to compare your kids to others, and it’s silly to compare your marriage to others. But it’s also kind of impossible not to do, at least subconsciously.

My wife and I have struggled in the passion department since becoming parents (and a little bit before then, too). There are a hundred reasons why, and we are doing our best to work on it. But I’m also pretty content with our relationship, so the pressure I feel to get more passionate (and less companionate) is mostly just related to wanting to make my wife happy. However, sometimes we hang out with one particular couple who makes us feel like shit about our marriage.

They’re wonderful people and would never intend for us to feel less than when we’re around them, but we can’t avoid comparing. They are so incredibly lovey and smoochy and they whisper sweet nothings to each other when we’re all out to dinner – and they’ve been married for over a decade and have 2 kids. We’ve known them for almost as long as they’ve been parents, and they’ve always been like this. We walked home from a double date with them last night and ended up bickering about how we’re not in love like they are.

Here’s how this relates to motherhood for me: our friends admitted that they love each other more than they love their kids. I’ve heard of this from others before, and I can see how this priority would strengthen a family unit, but I cannot relate. And it sucks for my wife, because I think she can relate. Since I became a mom, I have loved my child with every ounce of my being. It put the love I had for my wife – which I’d thought was intense – into perspective. Love for your spouse can be strong and true and deep, but for me, it still can’t even hold a candle to my love for my child.

That’s a sticking point in my marriage, I think. An unspoken sticking point. It’s never easy to make everyone in your family feel equally loved. All I can do is keep working on making my wife feel loved as best I can. I may not feel affectionate these days, but I can only hope that will pass and I’ll start to once again feel the kind of passionate love that my wife needs to feel.

Workin’ Mom

Has anyone seen the show Workin’ Moms? It’s a Canadian show, available on the CBC Gem app, and also Netflix in Canada. When I first started watching it, I ugly cried at the end of every episode. It’s a comedy. Just watching moms trying to balance work and momming brought out these horribly conflicted emotions in me.

I’ve often felt like I could never learn to balance the two – like I could only devote myself 100% to my child, and anything I gave to work would be empty and devoid of focus, energy, or passion. However, as I look back over the past 3 years since having Avery, I’ve somehow ALMOST completed an entire PhD dissertation, from writing the proposal to collecting the data, to writing up a document that is hundreds of pages long and quite intense. And I did it with less than 12 hours a week of working time (probably half of those 3 years was spent taking care of a sick kid who couldn’t go to daycare), while the rest of the time I spent actively parenting. It has been such a productive 3 years, now that I look back with hindsight, even though it so often felt like a shit show of UNproductivity while I was living it.

Today I started work (as a subcontractor) for a social research and program evaluation consulting firm that I worked at part time during my Master’s degree. It has been so nice to get my feet wet with some small, upcoming projects. As I look forward to potentially working with them full time, I feel that I could find a way to balance, now. I still don’t want to work 5 days a week (4 days is perfect for me, because home-making is still a valuable job that I love), or take on more projects than I can comfortably handle (why live life stressed out if you can avoid it?), but I’m feeling a little joy and excitement toward using my mind for other things again. Maybe balance isn’t something to be skeptical or disheartened about, but something positive that can bring depth and fulfillment to my life.

“You’re my grown-up”

We have just over a month left with a 2-year old. Soon, our little one will be a 3-year old. I can’t believe it.

We just started full, 8-hour days at daycare (although still just 4 days a week). From age 1-2.5, Avery went to daycare for 4 hours a day, Mon-Thurs. Then, a few months ago, we added another 2 hours to each day so I could get more work done. Now, as I wrap up my dissertation writing process (one chapter left!!) and start contract work, I have 8 hours a day to get work done. 8 hours without my almost 3-year old (who will always be my baby). I feel sad about it. I find myself watching the clock. By 1pm I’m itching to pick her up.

Tonight at bedtime we exchanged lovey dovey sentiments, like “I love you sooooo much” and “you’re the best.” Then I said I missed her when she was at daycare all day. As if she knew exactly what I needed to hear, she responded with a kiss on the forehead and, “you’re my grown-up.”

I teared up. I’m her grown up, and she’s my kid, and it’ll be that way for the rest of our lives, no matter how far apart we are, or how much time we spend apart.

♥️♥️♥️

One is so easy

We spent last week at the family cottage and it was amazing. Avery’s cousins weren’t there this time, and we kept saying to each other how EASY one kid is. Our kid is low key and quiet and agreeable, unless her cousin is around to bring out the wild within her. We spent time just sitting and watching the waves together, my wife and I had beer on the deck while Avery quietly played with bubbles, we put her to bed at 7pm and had quiet evenings together… It was so EASY and so wonderful.

But then last night my wife looked at me and asked, “when’s the soonest we could try for another baby?”

I didn’t let myself get excited. She of course reverted back to listing all the reasons to NOT – it’ll be expensive and we’ll have to cut way back on our expenses, we won’t have any alone time for another 2 years, etc… But she’s very clearly walking a tightrope line between taking the plunge for another baby, and saying no way to doing this all over again. I think she’s starting to lose her balance, and we’ll see which side she falls down on.

I, of course, want another baby, even though I’m riddled with fear about it.

A weekend in Toronto and weekday downtime

We took Avery to Toronto Pride for the first time. We mostly just hung out at the family pride event at a local school, and had lunch at a Queer-run restaurant. We live an hour outside of the city, but instead of driving in just for a taste of pride festivities and then driving home again, we got a hotel in the city. On Sunday morning, instead of attending the main parade, we took the ferry across to Toronto Centre Island and took Avery to a little theme park there. She rode a few little kid rides and we were super proud of her for overcoming her fear. She told us she was scared and didn’t want to try any rides, but in the end she got up the courage to try 3 different rides (and rode them again and again and again).

Sunday night, back at home, she woke up in the night acting kind of delusional… She ripped her clothes off and then started crying about losing her clothes, and she was having what seemed like mini-night-terrors. I brought her into our bed because she seemed “off.” About an hour after that we all woke up to her burning fever. The next morning she told us a out a nightmare she had, where her Mo’s head broke off. She creepily drew a line with her fingers around her Mo’s neck and seemed curious but relieved that it was all better… She referred to that dream a lot throughout the day – clearly it was unsettling for her!

And now we’re on day 2 of staying home from daycare. Her fever broke this morning, so we know she’ll be back at daycare tomorrow. I’m a little bummed that I missed a dissertation writing workshop at a hip downtown location with friends from school, but in the end, I’m not going to get fired for missing work, and I get to spend precious time with my kid. I can’t complain too much.

Today we’re going to play in the sunny back yard and make garlic scape pesto. Next weekend we’re heading out of town for a week-long vacation at the cottage. Any time I can spend in the garden right now is precious time. It’s nice that Avery seems to appreciate it as much as I do 🥰