A Bit Ragged

Sam said, "The Ruddick household is a bit ragged, lately." We were driving home from Boston, stuck in traffic, I think, and at first I didn't know what he meant. And maybe he didn't even say that, since the alliteration isn't exactly like him, but he said something along those lines, and when I didn't understand, he explained:

"Neither one of us have written since we've been home from vacation; the baby is sleeping terribly so we're sleeping terribly; our house is crazy because the painter has been there every day this week. I mean, last night we nearly killed each other."

"We did? Why? I don't remember that at all."

"You were mad about the laundry. I was mad about the couch."

"Oh. Right. We did nearly kill each other."

So there you go. That's the situation. It's been a hairy week. And though I miss blogging, though I have ideas for posts that swirl in and out of my brain, by the time I have a spare second, I just feel grumpy and a little sad, and all I really want to tell you is how it feels to be this tired, and you already know that, I'm sure. So I haven't said much.

How do you blog the sloggy bits, the parts that aren't shiny or profound, the parts that don't really come out all right? I want to tell you those parts, too.

On vacation, while hanging out with my mom and sisters, I made a joke about my blog being "Deep Thoughts with Deja," and they all laughed, and I laughed, and then I felt sort of dumb. I don't mean for it to be Deep Thoughts with Deja, folks. So I've been all meta-bloggy lately, thinking about blogging, wanting to blog about blogging, which is just a weird thing to do.  And then things happen, scary or sad things that I could talk about all day, if you'd let me. But hey, I'm not sure I want to blog everything, you know?

But I'm happier when I check in here, for all sorts of reasons. So here I am, revving the engine again.

This morning the baby woke early. By the time she slept again, I couldn't sleep, and by late morning I was getting all the classic signals that I desperately needed a nap. Mostly the classic signals are these: grumpiness, despair. So I topped the baby off with breast milk and went upstairs and tried to nap, and a nap was not forthcoming. I was thinking about my insanely messy kitchen and the grocery list I'd been composing, and wondering if my cat will ever forgive me for having a baby and sort of ignoring him.

I finally gave up on the nap and came downstairs and talked Sam into taking a walk. We strapped Henrietta into her stroller and I put her baby sunglasses on her, and I felt good. She was adorable--I mean crazy-adorable--in her sunglasses, and it felt restorative to be out there with my pretty baby in her sunnies, walking in the sunshine, waving at neighbors. It seemed like things were going to be fine, nap or no nap.

And then suddenly, I was sobbing. Right there on the corner. Sam and I had been teasing each other a little, and he somehow managed to push the wrong button, and then I was crying. We were both a little baffled by my response. I'm a cryer, sure, but it doesn't seem like I cry much lately, at least not to me. (He probably still thinks I cry a lot? Anyway.) And who knows what to make of that, really, except it's illustrative of how I feel--a bit ragged, you might say, whether I know it or not.

Yesterday, driving home (again) from the city, I started to get uncomfortable. This happens sometimes. It's not quite carsickness, it's car craziness. We're stuck in traffic and I suddenly want to jump off a tall building. My shoes fit wrong and my hair is itching my chin and my back hurts from sitting and I can't breath. "I'm freaking out," I told Sam, and he pulled off at the next exit and stopped the car by some random lake and told me to get out and stretch. I got out, but it didn't seem clear where to go, so I just walked a few paces away and looked at some trees, some bare trees that weren't particularly beautiful or anything, but at least they weren't my dashboard. I took a deep breath. I got back in the car.


Amalie said…
To me the mundane, regular days with their frustrations and hardships just make me enjoy the other ones even better. The days that I feel like I am having great experiences parenting, becoming the woman that I want to be have more meaning when I have just experienced a really rough down day. I don't know how it works for everyone, but when I have a really off day, week or month something awesome seems to happen to pull me out of it and put me on top of the world again. I enjoy reading what you write. In so many ways it is what I would write in my journal just adding one more kid and that is about it.
Deja said…
So true, Amalie. It does help me appreciate better days.
Sheri said…
Yesterday, late afternoon, I only had one word for myself...unmotivated. So I drug myself outside. I sprayed for bugs, sprayed for weeds, and sprayed a brass chandelier bright red. All the sudden I was sad the sun went down so soon. Sometimes our timing is just a little off from the natural order of things! May today I be motivated earlier .
Deja said…
Sheri, that chandelier sounds awesome! I hope I do something so lovely with my day.
belann said…
Sorry it's been so ragged. Felt somewhat similar lately. No painting going on here, though. Things will get better.
AM said…
I will say there are times in the past year when I have felt more than a little crazy. This is mostly because of sustained, unrelenting sleep deprivation. Jack is still a bad night sleeper and I think there was one freak night in the past year where I slept like 7 hours straight. Other than that, I've been sleeping in 2 to 4 hour stretches since the night I pushed this kid out. So many days I've just sort of wailed on the inside: am I ever going to feel like me again? Will this child EVER learn to sleep through the night so I can be a human lady and not a zombie lady?

Dealing with the ever-present stresses and changes of motherhood (well, really, of personhood) can push a girl to all kinds of limits. I had a day a couple weeks ago where I just felt so dismal and down. It was rainy, cold, wintry, Jack had been fussy all day, I hadn't exercised, and nothing exciting was happening in my head and never would, etc. But I reminded myself that it really was just a cold, dreary day, and that it wouldn't always be that way. And sure enough, the next day was sunny and bright, and things felt better.

What I'm trying to say, badly, is that you are so normal in feeling ragged and also so not-normal in how you can still be such a lovely, constructive poet about it all. Expression helps, not just for you, but for those of us who read it. I am sorry for the times you don't feel well but grateful for your courage in writing about them.
Kathy w. said…
Ragged is the perfect word for the sleep-deprived, post-baby experience. I promise, it all shifts with time (and particularly with more sleep).

Also, thank you for sharing the not-shiny bits. In a world of perfectly pinned recipes and play dates and interiors and outfits, we need the ragged stories more than ever.
Anonymous said…
Ragged, yes. I can totally relate. I've been doing the meta-thing with blogging lately, too. It's so rewarding in many ways, but it also brings out some of my unpleasant neuroses and insecurities, and sometimes I wonder... what have I gotten myself into? There's always this pressure to write something brilliant and insightful and better than whatever I wrote last time, but some days I feel just exactly as you describe: ragged, tired, on the verge of weepiness, thin-skinned, etc. So it was really refreshing to read this post, which is just so honest and down-to-earth and relatable. And beautifully written as always. Sometimes simplicity and honesty is the most profound thing a writer can offer. Good reminder.
Amara said…
And being sleep deprived makes you/me CRAZY. No way around it I think, and when your body can't just sleep-on-demand, "sleep Now! Quick!" Nothing is going to feel right. Get a dang audiobook to plug into personally (i can't see you and Sam sharing taste too well) when the crazy times come in the car. Sometimes you have to go somewhere else mentally at least.
Meeshab said…
I can so relate. Ragged! for the first 2 years after childbirth. and with wanting to jump out of your skin. Mine happens in a car ride or when I feel stuck in my life. I have all of these responsibilities piled up and they are mine and only mine. I just want to run away sometimes. Probably those would be good times to go run (exercise). I think it was key to go outside both times. There is just something to going outside for a breather, and the sun of course! This morning I had a quiet (rare) moment in my bedroom alone and I was so grateful for the birds chirping outside. The world was so lovely outside and my heart swellled at the magnificence of it all.
Deja said…
Ann Marie, that is intense! And isn't the freak 7-hour night sort of cruel, since you think maybe things are beginning to turn around, and then they're not. And not. And not. You are brave, and I like you.

Mamaunabridged ;), you do write brilliant things over and over! But yeah, I have to tell myself that this is my blog, and I do it first for me, and I'll be sad if I lose momentum, which means I have to blog the less-than-shiny bits. Thank you for reading, and for your writing compliment. That means a lot coming from you.

Amara, Sam wants me to actually TALK to him in the car. Weird, right? He'd be sad if I put in an audiobook.

Meesh, that is lovely! I love the thought of the birds out your window making you happy. And yes, I need to run again. I'm afraid to!

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