I am listening to 90’s music on Pandora remembering what it felt like to be sixteen years old. When I was younger, I felt so misunderstood as a person. (I still do to some extent, but it was very pronounced then.) I promised myself that I would remember how I felt then so that when I had a child, I wouldn’t just dismiss it as being a “teenager thing.” I also remember feeling the most free ever from ages 16 – college years. Sometimes when I spend time with my daughter, I can taste some of those feelings of freedom again – of letting go and really not caring what anyone thinks about me and just being silly and having fun. I love her for bringing that out in me (and for a billion other reasons too).
I have changed in many ways since having a child. My priorities have changed immensely. I am, in essence, a different person. In being this different person (or changed person), I find parts of myself lost. Some of them are parts that I don’t need anymore and should be gone. However, I also find myself relating to the feelings of being misunderstood at sixteen. Maybe no one really knows me. Maybe I don’t know myself anymore . . .
My relationship with my SO has drastically changed (negatively) since we had a child. I do not understand the things he says and feels about having a child in general and our child specifically. She is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me. Yes, being a parent is the most damn difficult thing I have ever done in my life (even harder than cancer and sexual assault), in part, because I *want* to be a good mother. I care. It is also immensely rewarding.
I did not enjoy sitting up for hours while my daughter couldn’t sleep last night in an attempt to help her sleep. I don’t enjoy her temper tantrums. However, I do understand that these things are important for development and I do know that I want to be there for her in all of the ways that I can. She deserves someone being present with her and comforting her.
Some days, decisions seem so difficult. Today, briefly reflecting, it seems clear. My SO spent literally one and a half hours with me and/or our daughter yesterday (plus an extra hour sitting in her room before I did the first time). That means, he spent a total of 2.5 hours if you count sitting in our child’s room trying to get her to sleep. Would you be happy with this amount of time from your significant other? Should my daughter be happy? I suppose it could be okay if it was just once in awhile and it was quality time, but it is not. That time just basically means he was in the same room as me/her.
As I will soon pick up my daughter, I wonder how much time my SO will spend with us today and why I still even care. We’re up to a whopping hour from this morning (1/2 an hour in her room while I was showering and getting ready and 1/2 hour in the living room while we ate breakfast and hung out before leaving).
So, dear reader, whoever you are – and if there are any, what are your expectations of your SO spending time with you and/or your child? How much time is enough?