3 Things on Sunday

1. My PhD research proposal was accepted!! I waited a month for my advisory committee to come together for a meeting, and the meeting went amazingly well. I can finally – after 3 years and 2 other proposal attempts that fell through for different reasons – finally, move on to actually DOING THE RESEARCH and finishing this f-ing degree and get a job.

2. I had my first me-time in a long time getting my hair done this weekend, but thoughts of how expensive it was going to be and how much I just wanted to be home with my little family made the whole 2 hour process unenjoyable. It’s funny how you can be at your wit’s end with trying to keep up with your demanding toddler’s needs and then in only 5 minutes of being alone feel like your heart is aching from missing that wonderful, demanding toddler.

3. Night weaning is going really well, but sleep isn’t… It’s complicated. Avery has been sick forever and the cough still keeps her up at night. The doctor assures us it’s normal for kids her age in daycare to be sick for this long, and for things like runny noses and coughs to linger well beyond the duration of the actual bug. She’s also struggling with yet another itchy post-viral rash (apparently she’s prone to them). So she does a lot of crying through the night, and I used to be able to make her feel better by nursing. Now we just put a hand on her back and lay next to her while she fusses, and she doesn’t even ask for milk to help her get through it. She just deals with it. It makes me proud of her, and also sad that the instant comfort phase of her life is over. She makes her own comfort, now. That said, last night she was really upset, and I brought her into our bed to sleep on top of me. Just because we’ve night weaned doesn’t mean we’ll let her suffer all night or go without sleep.

The good news is, she usually goes from 7pm to 4am with only one wake up that we need to go to her bedside for (that one wake up takes 2 minutes for my wife and an hour for me, though). The bad news is, 4am is when she wakes up for the day now… We’ve let her have an earlier nap to compensate, but that just messes with her afternoon energy levels. Can’t wait for her to settle into the new normal without night (and morning) nursing and hopefully find a good rhythm we can all be happy with.

Haven’t mastered the mom/wife/student balance

Right now I am 99% mom, 1% wife, and 0% student. My wife stormed out of the house this morning because she is going through a big, stressful transition at work and I haven’t been emotionally supportive. I say words like “I’m so proud of you” and “this must be really tough”, but she can tell my words are empty and devoid of true empathy. I feel like I have no emotional support left to give. And the affection has been gone a while, too. I get out of bed at 5:30 to hug her goodbye every morning and I rub her back some nights (that’s me really trying after our talk about affection post-baby), but again, it’s hollow and empty. I am empty.

It’s not that I’m suffering from PPD and feel empty inside – I am teaming with love and empathy for the baby. But 99% of my emotional capacity is spent on the baby. Maybe it would be different if I weren’t alone in caring for her 24 hours a day, but honestly, I don’t mind being spent on her.

I just feel terrible that there isn’t more of me to go around. I also have no extra energy to think about school, and I often feel like a financial dead-weight in our little family. I just want to quit the PhD so I can go get some 35 hour a week paying job when Avery is in day care and at least take some of the pressure off my wife. Right now I can’t even remember what passion for my research used to feel like… Again, my love for Avery has cast everything else in my life into the shadows.

I don’t know if this is something I should be able to control, and if I need to somehow redistribute my emotional capacity. I don’t know how to do that. There is only so much of me to give.