Awhile back, I wrote a few things about attachment, adoption, and being an introvert. But I think that there are challenges related to being an introvert and just being a mom, without the added need for physical closeness. In my life, the standout is that I have trouble working when there are others around. This is why I have guarded naptime with my very life (okay, or maybe through at least a dozen people suggesting that the root of my daughter's sleep problems is the nap she takes each day*). I need a little time to myself just to get very basic things done, or sometimes to simply feel okay. The problem is that even when naptime runs smoothly (and it does most of the time now), it's still not enough. A couple of hours here or there have proved to be lacking. I can get caught up to a certain point, but still feel terribly behind. And still am terribly behind.
Sometimes I look back to the days before we left for Ethiopia and think, "If I had it to do over again, I'd prioritize organizing and working ahead on some things." But none of us can go back and change things, and there are certainly plenty of tasks that have fallen by the wayside by virture of nearly nine months of little time in the house by myself, that have very little to do with what I did or did not accomplish before we got on the plane to become parents. What has happened has just been life. Things change, and you have to figure out how to work with those changes. It's taken nearly nine months, but I think I'm beginning to get a handle on some things.
First of all, I am recognizing and embracing the fact that I need a full day to myself, alone in the house, in order to make progress beyond where we are now. If I don't have that, then the level of cleanliness and orderliness of our home will remain static. On Monday, I finally got most of a day to myself to do projects around the house, and was surprised by how that changed a usual task. Given the time to prioritize and move swiftly from one task to another, I put a dozen small annoying jobs behind me, and was suddenly able to keep my kitchen cleaner. Not clean all the time, mind you--the dishes still pile up when we're busy--but when I get down to business, everything gets put away and wiped down and is tidy. It's been stunning how much better I feel in general because of this one improvement. It's made me feel better not just because I can get my kitchen tidied in a jiffy, but because it confirms that I wasn't crazy or selfish or delusional about what I needed and how it would affect my life.
I still have a lot of projects just waiting in the wings, and I don't know that I'll get a full day to do this again soon, but it feels good to know that it's possible. That our lives aren't a horrible mess forever because we became parents. And even when I feel that way, when the clutter threatens to creep towards the ceiling, and Zinashi is getting out yet another toy and I'm finding two more empty Izze bottles sitting on the coffee table, threatening to breed, it's still not so bad. I look at this photo, my favorite of the two of us together, and remember what is true.
That no matter what, being a mother--being Zinashi's mother--is worth it.
*Zinashi's sleep is actually much better, but that's another post for another time. She still naps every day and is falling asleep in a reasonable amount of time at night. So take THAT nap cessation experts.