Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Longest Hiatus

I know you've all missed my blog entries, the ones that aren't advertorials.

I've had my longest hiatus ever since Dash was born, the longest break I ever took from blogging in ten years. And weirdly enough, it's this period of time that the most exciting thing happened in my life (having a baby) and I've had so many new interesting experiences and revelations to blog about, but I haven't been doing it. I wish I had the time to.

Let me explain a little about TIME.

The concept of TIME is a confusing one... My geeky engineer husband told me that time won't exist without the speed of light and that if you can go faster than light, you can time travel. Or something to that effect - naturally I didn't understand him, developed a headache and then decided it's best not to try to understand.

Now after being a mom, the concept of TIME has also changed for me. It used to be I'm not really aware of time wasting away - everyday I'm just happy doing my usual activities: Dolling up, shopping, meeting friends, sleeping, working, eating. I had free periods where I'm feeling bored and I'm diddling on my phone or dug up some old movie to watch.

But nowadays TIME is constantly going tick tock tick tock to me. My timeline is no longer only mine but intertwined with Dash's timeline. Every moment I'm acutely aware that my baby won't stay a baby forever. Soon he will be a toddler, a tween, an adult. It is a conscious choice for me to join my "time and space" with his "time and space", so I can watch him grow, play with him, create memories of him as a cute little helpless puff.

Every moment he could be doing something for the first time - say blowing his lips - and some of these things happen just ONCE. If you miss it, you miss it.

Eating a lemon for the first time

So TIME is a choice, and everytime I choose to spend time away from Dash, his life moves on and I cannot rewind that.

Just a few months ago when he was born... Sigh...

And this is why I haven't been blogging. Is it really that I don't have enough time? Not really, I do spend a lot of time on social media afterall. I do have many short bursts of time. I mostly post my instagram pics when I'm pooping, haha... Right, suggest to my friends not to touch my iphone if possible.

Or I use my phone to post photos and videos when dash is napping. I have time to do loads of other small non-time-consuming stuff, but what I do not have, is a luxurious long stretch of say 5 - 10 hours, when I can truly sit down and complete a good long blog entry. That's how long I usually take including photo editing time. And I don't want to write short patronizing blog posts because I am used to churning blog entries of a certain quality here and people expect that. (Ahem, yes I am aware that ironically this blog entry is quite short and patronizing)

Or rather, I guess I have to say I choose not to spend this time on writing blogs.

My mom is helping me take care of Dash, so of course I can dump Dash with her for a few hours to complete a blog entry. But with Dash just outside the Princess Room playing with my mom, I can hear them, and I simply can't just stay in the room and not go out.

If he chuckles, that's it, I'm done. That's why I have a dozen half written blog entries saved in drafts. I simply didn't bother to finish them because my heart wasn't in it. I keep getting distracted and side tracked. And can you blame me? Something so precious, my baby's TIME, is ticking away outside.

So I just keep telling myself: "Tomorrow, I'll blog tomorrow. Dash is so cute and cheerful today, I can't miss it." But he is cute and cheerful almost everyday. And when he is in a cranky mood, I feel worried and I feel like I need to resolve whatever is making him upset.

And not to mention... It is extremely exhausting being a mom, both physically (Pumping milk is a total bitch) and mentally.

I cannot even describe the mental distress a new mom feels when her baby is crying nonstop and she has no idea why or how to stop it. In the past, I loved to carry other people's babies but whenever they cried, I simply passed them back to the mom, thinking "She will know how to handle it, not my problem".

But now, I realised the moms DON'T know how to handle it.

They are simply playing a guessing game and doing trial and error so baby gets happy again. Is it hunger? Is it a wet diaper? Is it too hot or cold? Does he want to be swaddled or unswaddled? Is it gas and how do I reduce the gas? OR COULD HIS LIFE BE IN DANGER? It's really stressful... And exhausting.

So whenever I get the chance to, I always choose sleep. I used to sleep 12 hrs a day in the past. That's how much sleep I need to not feel grumpy and tired. And let's just say for the first 4 months especially I hit maybe about only half of my daily quota everyday! I was so sleep deprived that when I knew I was about to fall sick, I actually looked forward to it so I can have some guilt free sleep**! (*Guilt free sleep: Sleep that isn't a choice but a necessity, because if I had a choice I know I should be spending time with my baby)

Life is all about balances too... I can't devote 100% of my time to baby care either. I came to realise that motherhood involves a lot of really confusing and complex feelings. If my mom is busy and I spend a few days in a row staying at home with Dash, despite being very happy when I'm with him I also feel dissatisfied and angry. At first I couldn't understand my conflicting emotions - then I realised this is because I needed my personal time, and probably some rest.

It isn't easy having your life completely change when a baby arrives. It's also tough to accept that all the freedom you used to have and all the activities you used to enjoy, unless your favourite hobby was to change diapers, you are not going to be able to do frequently anymore. You love your baby and you love being a mom, but you also love it when he naps and you get a break from him. It's all very confusing.

Even when I'm laughing and playing with Dash, my mind is in protective Mom mode. I am on alert and looking out for any object that can hurt him, or trying to find out why he is whining or when is the next time to feed him. Even when he is sleeping I'm wondering if he is too warm or too cold, or how he might roll off the bed.

So after many hours of baby care, I just want to pass him to someone else I can trust, so I can relax, unwind and do my own shit. I don't want to be in charge of a vulnerable little being's life anymore for the next few hours. I just want to be in charge of my own happiness for a while. Even simply playing Candy Crush or taking a shower seems like ecstasy.

Everyday I thank my lucky stars I have my capable mother to help me. I really don't know how full time moms can do this on their own!! It's no wonder if they go a little crazy!!

The cycle goes on... I happily play with baby and take care of him, then I feel exhausted and someone else takes over (usually my mom), then I do relaxing stuff of my own or maybe sometimes even go out, then I feel guilty about missing time with baby, then I play with baby again. Just like that, SEVEN MONTHS WENT BY - NO TIME TO BLOG.

Today a rare thing happened. My mom brought Dash out by herself. And I'm at home with Mike alone. If Dash were home I won't be on the computer for sure. But he is out, and there is nothing I can do with him except wait for him to come home. I don't have to feel like time's a'wasting or feel guilty that I'm not spending time with him.

So I decided to blog. And at the very least explain why I haven't been blogging for so long. I'm sorry. I know I get a lot of my privileges in life because of my blog. This isn't me being ungrateful or lazy - well in general I AM a very lazy person I'll admit but I haven't been the last 7 months for sure - this is me simply treasuring too much Dash's babyhood. You guys can understand that, right? Right?

I can't resist this face...

And whatever time I have in between when he is asleep, I'm usually unwinding or resting as much as I can. But even as I do those, I'm doing it just to be a better mother for him when I'm done... So I can go back to baby duties without feeling disgruntled, cranky or tired. They say motherhood changes you, I just didn't know the shocking extent.

Now that Dash is older, he is easier to care for, and I hope I will be able to go back to blogging more.

To the little of you still left reading my ol' blog, thank you.

Dash's Mom, and occasionally Xiaxue