Unbalanced

The hardest thing for me so far in the baby adventure has been to find a balance between all things baby and all other things. I am clearly only one of millions to lament this challenge.

Prior to our son, I had unscheduled, low-pressure, not-so-career-path days.  I've always been good at entertaining myself.  I'm pretty sure the last time I felt bored was sometime in 2008.  Now, almost three months after his birth, I have to admit to harboring a little envy towards my friends who have jobs that they really value.  I expected motherhood to feel like an extension of my happy-at-home feeling, but I'm not sure if that is how it's turning out.  Our son is a sweet and lovely little boy, and I am beyond grateful to have the time to invest in his well-being, but my crafty creative urges and goals feel like they are withering on the vine and it worries me.  I even miss cooking, which is surprising.

One of my favorite resources on parenting so far is a book a read called Bringing Up Bébé.  I initially read this book before I was sure I wanted to have a baby, because it sounded interesting.  It was a great read, both before and during pregnancy.  It is funny, clear-eyed, culturally relevant, and well-written; truly an honest take on parenting, for Americans not just in France, but anywhere.  I just finished reading it for a third time right now, in-between nursing sessions, diaper changes, and hastily knit rows, to scan for any techniques that might help us remain calm and level-headed through the newborn grind.  Maybe it's a coincidence, but in my opinion, a few tidbits that I reviewed last week helped us achieve our first full nights of infant sleep since we brought the baby home from the hospital.

Regardless of all of that, one major topic in Bringing Up Bébé is how French parents successfully create balance in their lives.  In a French household, if a baby has taken over the whole routine, particularly after the third month of the baby's life, things are not in balance, or not en équilibre.  When things are in balance, parents are back to work, the baby is sleeping through the nights, the baby is entering day care (the crèche), the family is enjoying home-cooked meals together, and parents are even enjoying some private time as a couple.  Of course, in France, day care is affordable and high-quality, right down to the four-course, cooked-from-scratch meals shared by toddlers and the credentialed staff.  Parents don't spend dinner parties chasing around their kids; their kids are either not present, or eating calmly at the table.  Most women apparently choose to work full-time, as a result of the aforementioned glorious affordable (or free and universal, when it comes time for pre-school) and prevalent early childhood structures.  Also, it sounds like most French women don't breastfeed, which I am sure contributes to their ability to find balance.  Anyway, it all sounds wonderful and of course I want to move our little family to France, immediately.

I can't.  We live in Houston, and that's how it is.  We have to find équilibre right here.  Sometimes I have to find it while my husband is here with me (the easier, yet still elusive version) and sometimes I will have to find it while he is in another country for four weeks at a time.  That sounds impossible ("em-POSS-eeeb!").

How will I do it?  I'm flailing around for some structure right now, some method for this madness.  I'm not yet sure how it will happen, but I know that I am pas en équilbre, and that will have to change.