The Tiniest Capen

i don’t know how they do it

Single parents, that is. I don’t know how they do it.

Justin’s off at Novitas this weekend, with my blessing — this was the plan all along, that he’d go larp alone until Gwyn is old enough for me to feel good about leaving her with someone and/or bringing her down, daytripping, so we can hot-swap the baby so we each get to do a shift. But, you know, the first time parenting alone has to happen eventually, and this weekend is my first time.

Which also happens to coincide with her six week growth spurt, so yesterday felt very much like this, from the blog Nurshable:

First, though, we must get through this growth spurt. It is the one where many moms decide that their milk supply is vanishing, that their baby actually hates them (but not as much as baby hates anyone who attempts to hold them without a breast for them to latch onto). You are divinely unpleasant, fussy, and do not believe at all in the idea of sleep. You switch sides constantly and are vocal about your annoyance when there is not enough milk or when there is too much milk. You flail your little limbs in displeasure, and pummel me with your fists while you tsk at me like an angry squirrel.

Yeah. That. Particularly the “no sleep” and “angry squirrel” parts. Last night Gwyn was up, awake, happy and unhappy, and almost constantly nursing until 4 am. Unfortunately for me, I got up with her yesterday for her 6 am feed. So that made for a 22 hour day for me, with a few naps interspersed. I’ve mastered the “doze while she eats” of side-lying nursing, but it’s no substitute for actually SLEEPING. When she went down for real at 4, wrapped her into her Halo swaddle as fast as I could, laid her gently into her bassinet, and then leaped into bed, yanked the covers up, and fell asleep silently chanting “please don’t wake up, please don’t wake up”. Ditto the 8 am feed.

Of course, at 10:30 Malcolm had needs, so I got up and got dressed (if exercise leggings and a flannel shirt count as “dressed”) and took Mal out to pee in windy 40 degree slush. I had planned to take Mal and Gwyn for a walk this afternoon — he’ll need a better walk, later — but the weather is crap, so I’m not sure how we’re going to manage that. I’ll figure something out.

And I seriously contemplated eating cookies for lunch, because they’re right there on the end table, while real food is in the kitchen, which is both challengingly far away (15 feet!) and requires effort.

Single parents do this all the time. And more. While working, not just on maternity leave. And they somehow manage to take showers while also keeping everyone alive and fed.

I really, really don’t know how they do it. I mean, I do: You do it because you have to. That’s what I knew last night; I was going to keep feeding and comforting my angry squirrel because I had to. There were no other viable options, so I did it. You just do it.

But still. Justin will be home in the wee hours tonight, and I will be beyond grateful.

One Comment

  1. Maryah

    I’m not sure how anyone does it. The scariest part about is when you realize you have to, and the neighbors you were thinking about relying on for assistance if need be, leave for the weekend!


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