On procrastination and parenting

Photo by get directly down at flickr.com

Today I went to the dentist. It has been a long time between visits. So long in fact that I couldn’t even admit to myself how long it had been for fear of unleashing an unhealthy amount of self-recrimination that would only add to the procrastination and fear that’s prevented me from going all these years.

So bullet bitten here I am, teeth shiny and clean and save for a light lecture on the importance of dental hygiene, there was nothing to fear afterall. No fillings. No wisdom teeth needing immediate removal. No extra large bill. Just a ‘look after your teeth and come back in six months’. They even gave me a goody bag.

It has me thinking about how procrastination only makes things alot harder. Things that are routine and necessary become scary monsters that wake you in the middle of the night. One big ‘to do list’ that just keeps on growing.

I’ve always been big on procrastination. It’s like I need a big ol’ deadline to push me into action and get things done. And right now, I am on deadline. Four more weeks until I’m back at work two days a week.

Those two days at the moment, while J is at daycare, are my ‘to do’ days. Making all the appointments I have been putting off. This week, Dentist. Next week, two years’ worth of tax and a car service.

I am proud I’m finally getting around to it, even though my days of child free days off are almost over.

But I am not enjoying these child free days as much as I thought, or as much as people told me I would. I know some people put their children in day care to give themselves a break, but I am finding the days that J is in day care are much more stressful than when I’m at home with him – and it seems to be getting worse, not better.

This morning when I left him, he cried as soon as he left my arms. I took him back and cuddled him goodbye and when I gave him back to his carer he cried and cried. But I couldn’t hover, couldn’t procrastinate. He needs to get used to it. There is no other option. It’s been almost two months now and the weeks until I’m back at work are quickly dwindling. But it gets harder and harder.

I get back to the car, fighting back tears, to find some moron has almost double parked me. I could attempt to manoeuvre out, but it’s too tight and I’m feeling too emotional.

Just as I was tossing up such a manoeuvre a big black 4WD pulls up behind the other car. Now I am trully stuck.

A big burly bloke with what I deem to be a ‘man perm’ gets his toddler out of the car and goes inside. I am sure that he saw me behind the wheel. No matter to him. He is dressed for business. Gel through his curly locks, red-rimmed glasses afixed to his face.

No time to procrastinate for him, nor think of anyone else it seems. I now start to cry. I think of my boy crying inside and it’s too much. I wait, and wait. Thoughts turn to slashing the guys tyres, wishing I had a large ramming bar on the back of my car to just back out and push his big chunk of a car back onto the street. Where he should have parked it in the first place.

After about 15 minutes he returns, backs out of the driveway and is gone. But my anger remains. Maybe I’m too much of a pushover? But I don’t want to be like Mr Man Perm either.

Dentist trip complete, I sit at home knowing I have to make one of my many calls to check on the boy. Is he sleeping? Has he drunk his bottle today, eaten any food? The ensuing conversation lets me know whether I need to pick him up early or will he be okay to last until 4pm. I think of procrastinating, but I know I have no option. He is struggling, I can’t pretend he’s not. And there is a deadline looming. In four weeks time I won’t be able to pick him up early or drop him in later.

Procrastination is not an option. But at this stage, I am not sure what it is I am supposed to be doing either. Call made, no sleep today, no bottle. I have to go and get him. Maybe I am too soft? I don’t know. I just know I have to get him. Until next week. When we try again.

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8 thoughts on “On procrastination and parenting

  1. Oh Sweet Belinda – my heart goes out to you, I was almost in tears as I pictured your departure from the day care. I’ve been there – I remember that sinking feeling as you pull away, leaving your child for the first few times. When The Tortoise was only a toddler, I had no choice but to go back to work full-time. I was single and living between households. She had to be dropped off at 6am, they would feed her breakfast and lunch and then I would come pick her up around 4pm. The first week was definitely the hardest – she cried every morning as I tried to keep a stiff upper lip and tell her “mommy will be back soon” but then of course I cried the whole way to work.

    It doesn’t seem like it now, but it does get easier. You both will get into a routine and a rythm. He will grow up secure and strong in his independence and will not have as much separation anxiety. The Tortoise made new friends and social skills that she wouldn’t have gained anywhere else. In the end, it becomes harder on us than on them.

    Big hugs to you – hang in there!

    – Emily

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  2. Thanks Emily. I think it’s true that it becomes harder on us than them. Hearing them cry and knowing you have to leave just conjures up that big cocktail of emotions doesn’t it? Great to hear about your experience and that the Tortoise came to love day care. I am sure J will be the same … eventually!

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  3. oh reading about your daycare experience takes me back to 12mths ago when I was going through exactly the same thing as you. I was 2mths off returning to work and getting my son started in daycare. I lasted 4 weeks at the first centre – just felt very uneasy about everything and found the staff difficult to talk to. Changed centres and have been there ever since, but it was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I felt traumatised in those weeks leading up to going back to work – my little boy seemed rattled and so unsure about things, and I just felt guilty.

    But like Emily I can assure you that it gets better – we still have days where he doesn’t want to be there, but he settles quickly and is at an age where he completely understands that you will be back. And now that he’s talking he rattles off the names of other kids and things he’s done, so that makes me feel better.

    Best wishes, it is hard but you will get there 🙂

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    • Thats so good to hear that things improved for you and your son LK and that he now has settled in and has friends there. I’m sure I’ll look back at this time in a year or so, when J is running around telling me about what fun he’s having, and wonder what I was worrying about. Here’s hoping!

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  4. Following from FYBF.

    Good on you for getting to the dentist! It always makes you feel saintly doesn’t it?

    Take it one day at a time with the daycare thing. You will both adapt with time.

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  5. I have just discovered your blog Belinda and am really enjoying it. This post especially rang true for me as I’m currently debating whether to go back to teaching a few days of week as we’re struggling on one income but I fear putting my 11 month old in childcare as she won’t take a bottle and isn’t eating much solids yet so I don’t think it’s feasible yet. I’m a big procrastinator – should I go back to work, should I sleep train my daughter, should I wean are among the current concerns I debate constantly in my head. Anywho, enough about me! I hope your son settles into childcare and I really admire your attitude (not too soft I think – no such thing!) I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future.

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    • Thanks Kim. So many decisions, hey? I still breastfeed and feed J to sleep for most of his naps so I really was worried about how he would sleep at day care, but it wasn’t as big a problem as I first thought.

      So as much as he is struggling with settling in, he has also surprised me in so many ways as well. It’s hard not to be worried, especially when it’s all unknown and you’re trying to make decisions about working and the financial needs of the family. If you do decide to go back to work, I am sure your daughter will adapt better than you think. Still doesn’t make the decision any easier though! Good luck with your decision!

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  6. Glad it’s not just me who puts off dentist and hairdresser and car services coz of the hassle with having a baby too!!

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