Sunday, September 2, 2012

6,419 obnoxiously orange cones

I have a friend who has a theory that the city has a limited number of construction cones with nowhere to store them, and so the solution is to simply move them around major roadways at regular intervals. Myself, I've noticed whatever I eat or don't eat at breakfast, I'm going to make it up calorically by the end of the day. And regardless of how carefully I plan ahead, I will be exactly three minutes late getting out the door. Without fail.

What I mean to say is, the law of averages rules, and those averages - whether it's the existence of traffic-inducing construction cones, a certain number that just stays put, or the panic I feel every damn day as I frantically search for an outfit that doesn't have spitup on it - those averages just 'aint changing.

I find this holds true in parenting, as well. Having two kids? Well, it seems like there are a gazillion fewer seconds in my day, and there are, there really are, but my response to that reality - i.e., the stress I feel? Yeah, that's pretty much the same.

When I was pregnant I flipped out about what the pregnancy would do to my ability to support my family (i.e., my career). When I wasn't thinking about that, I was concerned about my blood sugar, financial stuff, and plenty of other issues that can only be described as having debatable worthiness for my rapidly diminishing emotional energy. Now that the baby is here, I'm not perseverating on those "silly" topics anymore: I've got bigger fish to fry. I spend a lot of time feeling anxious that I'm spending enough time bonding with little Wes. And then when I feel good about that, I worry that I don't have enough time for Jack. Once I've decided that's all set, it's an existential crisis that my own person (the creative / interesting / diverse person I used to know) has simply ceased to exist. And then I notice that I'm spending a lot of time worrying about all of this crap I can't change, when instead I ought to be soaking up my newborn baby and appreciating that my life is pretty good - shame on me.

Once I settle on the idea that life is good, I realize that nothing stays that good for very long, and I start feeling anxious that I'm not appreciating what I've already got.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Anxiety isn't necessary, but it's there. Every day.

So when I have to get two kids out of the door instead of one? Yes. Difficult. Very difficult and will only get more difficult when kid #2 turns from a lumpy potato to something slightly more mobile. But the anxiety I feel in the moment with two kids is roughly the same as it was with one (and I mean come ON that was so freaking EASY with one!). That sensation? Yeah, it can be summed up by a single word: "PANIC". And when Greg and I are trying to eat dinner out at a restaurant with our children and without disturbing the other diners? Yup, much knee bouncing, I-spy pointing and flashing my boobs to the world (nursing in public). That particular sensation can be summed up by a different word: "HUNGRY".  

So whether it's two or one, it's all Panic, Hungry, Worried, and Tired. And when it was none, I'm pretty sure it was Panic, Infertile, Worried, and Tired. 

Don't get me wrong: I don't have a moment to spare most days (literally I don't have time to pee, and you think I'm joking). I'll post about that sometime, too. But what's amazing about having two kids is realizing that even though I had it really good - and really easy - before, the things that are stressing me out feel more or less the same... stressful.

So that's just it: whether I have two kids or one, the cortisol spike is just the same. After all, those orange traffic cones are going to have to end up somewhere.

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