Single Mom, Interrupted

I know everyone keeps telling me that the season change effects everyone in different ways. At 6500 feet, people complain of vertigo, nausea and headaches this time of year. The first fall cold has been running its course through the office and daycare, and yes, there’s the horrid aspect of losing soul-feeding sunlight.

The combination of earlier bedtimes and darker mornings puts everyone in a pissy mood, but my 2-year-old has brought “pissy” to a whole new level. I would really like to blame this new development of anti-bedtime on the kamikaze daddy appearance 2.5 weeks ago, but like everyone keeps telling me “its probably just a phase.”

This phase got to me last night. I’m pretty good at keeping my cool. I’ve seen some moms go off at the drop of a hat. Luckily, for parenting purposes, Pisceans are understanding, empathetic and in tune to people’s needs. However, the Aries Moon and Taurus Rising add impatience and stubbornness to the oh so sweet fishy personality.

I was on a roll last week with working out. I successfully completed an aerobic DVD each night of the week. I also hijacked my friend’s Wii Fit and learned that I am just .25(units?) away from being overweight, so I want to make sure I don’t slack this week. Did Hula Abs & Buns on Monday. Score.

Last night was not so easy. I figure if I start the whole bedtime process around 7:30 pm, with a bath, a little playtime in her bedroom, and end up with a story and song, then said Kiddo should be ready for lights out at 8:00 right?

WRONG. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS PLAN. In addition, DO not even THINK about trying to workout until 2-year-old old has stayed in her bedroom for more than 30 minutes. Otherwise, you are sentencing yourself to this fate:

  • Get your love handles to break a sweat
  • See toddler peeking around corner
  • Push stop on DVD
  • Usher child back to bed
  • Return to DVD, attempt to re-break your sweat
  • Hear toddler’s bedroom door opening
  • Yell at toddler to go back to bed
  • Hear “I want Water”
  • Push stop on DVD
  • Give child water and stand in doorway until she lays back down
  • Return to DVD, where the hot bodies are glowing sufficiently, while your heart rate has dropped
  • Hear door open again. “Mommy!”
  • Yell “Mommy needs her exercise! GO TO SLEEP!”
  • Hear toddler cry
  • Furiously push stop on DVD
  • Stomp up stairs and herd daughter back to bed
  • Return to DVD, start crying at the lack of calories being burned, and the mean mommy ‘tude
  • Hear door open.
  • Ignore evidence of toddler emerging, teary desperation taking hold of me.
  • See daughter’s face peek around corner again.
  • Beat stop button with fist, haul child back to room, slam door in fury.
  • Cry through rest of workout, feeling fat, angry and exhausted

This has got to be one of the hardest things for me, as a single mom: Trying to complete a task without major frustration at being continually interrupted. My entire day at work consists of being interrupted, re-assigned, asked to do other things, coming back to assignments, getting interrupted by the phone, email, fax, people….

I know MOST people do this. Its called multi-tasking, and being a mom, I really should become adept at this skill. Last night I had this bitter fantasy of having a husband who would take bedtime duty while I could finish a simple 30-minute workout, which took me over an hour and a half to complete last night.

 I fantasized that if I were married, my hubby and I would take “shifts”, like any other job.  I could schedule my workout when I was “off the clock” on my parenting shift. I wouldn’t have to worry about the 10 times my daughter got up, because it would be her father’s responsibility.

Sadly, LB does not have a daddy who takes responsibility, and therefore, I am always on the clock. I try my hardest to be attentive, supportive, involved and enthralled by every waking moment I have with my daughter, because I only have those 4 hours between daycare pickup and bedtime to do so. Those moments are so valuable to me, that I have refused to add yet another hour to her daycare life, so I can workout at the local gym.

Once she is in bed, that time is golden. Its precious. After the dishes are done, the crumbs are dust-busted, the laundry started, the mail sorted, the bills paid, the toys picked up, that’s when I can try to squeeze in a workout and netflix. Since this time is as valuable to me as the time I spend with my daughter, maybe that’s why I become so upset when its interrupted. In my brain I’m angrily thinking “No. This is MY time. I was a good mom and gave you YOUR time. Now you go to sleep, and I get to de-stress, THAT’S HOW ITS SUPPOSED TO WORK! THAT’S WHAT’S FAIR! I CAN’T DO THIS ANY OTHER WAY!”

Goals as a single mom: De-stess. Stop getting frustrated. Accept interruptions as a part of life.

I’m screwed.

Coffee and Chronic napping

I’ve been trying to combat my chronic need to nap at 6 pm every night. It’s become a serious issue. I cannot keep my eyes open at that time of day. If I am in the car, I have to slap myself to stay awake. If I am standing by a warm stove, cooking dinner, my head will start to bob. If God forbid I am sitting on the couch, its over. I am out for a trance-like 15 minute nap.

This has become a serious problem. I am groggy all evening. I leave the dishes in the sink. I sit with my head in my hands while LB takes her bath. I yawn through the bedtime stories and songs. I really can’t take it anymore. I get grumpy if my daughter refuses to lay down, because I don’t have the energy to walk her back to bed 10 times a night.

So I have started to combat my chronic sleepiness with a horrible solution. I now make a pot of coffee as soon as I get home. This allows me to get through dinner, bath time and bedtime without my 6 pm nap. This also allows me to have enough energy to put in a workout DVD after LB goes to bed. It even allows me to shower and read a book before I hit the pillows.

I know its bad. I know I should be able to find the energy to do all this on my own without the aid of coffee.  When I was in college I would stay at Denny’s all night, doing homework and drinking coffee. I became so immune to the effects of caffeine, I literally needed it in my system 24 hours a day in order to feel normal. I do NOT want this to happen again.

Daily exercise is supposed to give you more energy right? Theoretically, If I workout everyday I will eventually be able to eliminate both my 6 pm nap and night time coffee imbibing. So the coffee situation is only temporary, in order to get my body used to a daily exercise routine. Once I am fully engrossed in working out, I will nix the coffee. In addition, I will start Netflixing workout DVDs instead of movies, so I will not have an excuse to ditch aerobics for an evening of cookies, wine and Weeds.

Am I on crack to think this will work?

I blame the full moon.