I work away from home three days a week. I then spend a lot of my time worrying about what to do with the other four days.
Worrying may be a bit of an understatement. Occasionally I torture myself with the thought that I should have gone out and done things that I have always wanted to do. I have no idea what I have always wanted to do. Filling my days with outside things hardly seems like a lifetime’s ambition but there go the thoughts that urge me to get out and about and do, do, do.
Take photographs of little known bits and parts of Bristol. Go for lunch specials. Go places. Do kid-friendly things. Do adventurous things. Do something that no one else has done. Do something, anything.
A lot of the days are filled with being tired. On one particular Tuesday, I had had no more than 3-4 hours sleep for each of the previous five or six nights. I couldn’t do anything. I was too tired. Then there are the in-between days where I am tired but not fatigued and energetic but not jubilant or even pleased or probably not even particularly happy. I could go out though and I could do something.
Those days are torture. Do I or don’t I? Caught between a duality is the least pleasant place to be. I worry that I will go out with the little one and I will be too tired to enjoy it, too tired to allow her to enjoy herself and far away from home while physically aching from the lack of sleep.
I hadn’t realised that being tired was physically painful until I had a baby. I have read some other blogs where mothers lament all the time they used to have and now have none which is why they don’t do anything. I don’t feel like that. Even when I had all the time in the world I would still be stuck in this awkward space of do I or don’t I. I would just find different excuses rather than I am too tired.
There’s no escape from the mind. Anyway. I decided to test out my doing / not-doing experience by spending one day in the house. No going out no matter what. Then the next day was spent outside doing anything I could think of. I would pay really close attention to all the parts of the torture that I could recognise.
I have mentioned some of the doing ones. If I go out I will be miserable or my little girl will be miserable and I won’t be able to do anything about it. It will be awful, I won’t be able to handle it. I will suffer in some way. If I stay at home I will be able to rest and feel better so I can go out another day.
If I stay in I will be miserable. I will be bored. We will both be bored, restless, unhappy and irritable and we will watch too much television and ruin our lives.
I stayed at home on the Monday and it was not so great. I didn’t get out of my pjs until after lunch and then felt guilty that I appeared to have done little all day when M’s dad came around. By the end of the day I was restless and bored and not as rested as I would have expected. Being at home with a toddler means that I end up cleaning after a toddler all day. She is brutal and merciless when it comes to investigating everything and everything includes the insides of cupboards and drawers.
On the Tuesday we went out and stayed out from 9 to 5. We went to Flinty Red for breakfast and to swimming after that. We walked up to Stokes Croft and headed over to Montpelier for bread and Eccles Cakes and cake and brownies. I had Mersina in her pouch and I was pushing her stroller as well so I didn’t feel overburdened with stuff. She would occasionally walk and when she was tired she would come up for a cuddle and I would strap her in to the Ergo.
We walked past Cheltenham Road and up Gloucester Road so we could see what Atomic Burger looked like but completely missed it and settled at Zazu’s Kitchen for lunch instead. All was going well so far until after we’d ordered and M decided she wanted to leave. She grabbed my bag and handed it to me. She then started trying to push her pram out the door and made a few dashes for the door and the road and even fell to the ground a few times to express her displeasure at not being able to leave.
Even then it wasn’t too bad. I played her some cartoons on my phone and we played an app called peek-a-boo and then I rushed through my burger while she ignored her children’s meal so we asked for it to be taken home.
We walked for a while and M slept for a while and we visited the Bristol Central Library to play with their toys and read their books. Again we were fine. We were both quite happy, in fact. It was a busy day and none of it was unmanageable.
The worries that plague me had assured me it would be unmanageable and that I would ache and suffer etc etc. Well I did ache a bit the following day but it was from carrying my toddler for hours.
I am not going to write myself some enthusiastic little motto or piece of advice to take with me. The above should suffice. There’s nothing wrong with staying in or going out but worrying is a bit of a killer all on its own.
Backpack on and ready to go on an adventure. Our exit was aided by the fact that she was feeling a little better that day and didn’t have green snots streaming down her face like she did the previous one.