Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Leaning Out

It's April (almost May) and I've been thinking about New Years Resolutions since, well, New Years. We had a busy start to our year. Cylas turned 2. We bought a new house and started prepping to sell the condo. And we got the great news that I was pregnant again. Bam! Knocked Up Part 2. It's a good thing too, since the new house will need people to sleep in the bedrooms. It seemed like I had my New Years resolution work cut out for me. Get the new house in shape, get my pregnant self in shape,  get Cylas' life/activities in shape, get my writing life in shape, basically, make our lives perfect. As always, easier said than done.

This pregnancy knocked me on my ass. If you remember, my pregnancy with Cylas was magical. I felt great. I looked great (remember my glow?) I had no strange cravings or aversions. I never threw up (well, once, maybe) and I worked my ass off, on my feet, producing a film, working my restaurant job, and living my amazing pre-parenting life. We traveled a little, we partied (safely, of course). We nested, and rested, and had an amazing 9 months. This time so far...not so much.

I'm 18ish weeks in and feeling it. Being a pregnant mom is much different than being a pregnant fabulous almost mom. That first time, you really only had yourself and that little bean you are growing and wondering and thinking (maybe obsessing) about to worry about. And, was it my imagination, or did people fall all over themselves to be helpful (and sometimes nosey) as soon as I started showing last time? At work, people lifted, carried, and excused any of my bad/lazy behaviors. People saved desserts for me and made sure my favorite snacks were readily available for me at the Craft Services table.

This pregnancy, my main companion is a very sweet, pleasant, always demanding two year old. He's a little less helpful. He never gets me my much needed snacks, rarely seems charmed by my need to sit down and rest, and seems positively devastated my lack of energy and ability to chase him around like I used to. We spent most of my first trimester in the apartment while I pretended to pack up for our move,  but mostly laid on the couch feeling utterly, miserably nauseous all day, while Cylas watched the same episode of Daniel Tiger (where Mom Tiger gets sick and lies on the couch while Daniel and Dad Tiger fix her lunch and let her rest) over and over and over again. I felt so guilty. Poor Cylas would crawl onto the couch next to me and say "Mama Sick?" and I would answer "Yes, Mama's sick so I can't chase/play with/take you to the park right now." He would nod, solemnly and watch the episode again while I would hate myself. After a few weeks, I got on a prescription medicine that helped a lot, all though, it made me super sleepy, but soon I was feeling better enough to at least handle outings, and the occasional play date.

We moved at the end of February with some help from good friends and family and Eric being a veritable super hero, painting the new house, moving all of our stuff, and doing the bulk of the unpacking as well, while I did my best not to throw up, and manage our toddler. But all of this has left very little room for my New Year's resolutions.

About a week before I peed on the little stick that told me I was pregnant with our second kid, I had lunch with two of my favorite lady writer friends. One is also a mom who writes and produces plays in her spare time and the other is finishing her master's degree in screen and TV writing at USC.  Both these ladies are extremely busy and extremely talented. We talked a lot about the concept of "leaning in." Well, actually, we talked more about the concept of "leaning out." How there are times in your life where you have to give yourself permission to lean out a little and not beat yourself up for not achieving everything on your to do list. Maybe you don't even have a to do list. Maybe you just need to lean out, look at your life and enjoy what you can with out a list of complicated intentions driving you forward and ultimately into the ground. At the time of this lunch, I was feeling good, it was early January and I did have a major list of intentions I wanted to set forth on for the year, but I also reveled in the notion of cutting myself some slack. I also get a little frustrated by the concept of "leaning in" as though it is always a choice you can make. In my experience trying to carve out a writing career, I'm not sure how to lean in anymore. I'm sure there is always more that I can be doing, and always more that I can be writing, but I have projects in development, I have meetings, I have a movie in the can, and the fellowship applications submitted yearly, and these things often feel a bit out of my hands at this point. I'm often waiting for people to buy, hire, and accept me and I'm not sure how to lean into that any further. So, as I was saying, the idea of leaning out, was appealing, and that was before this little parasite in my womb decided to exact his hormonal (yup, it's another boy...more on that in a future post) revenge upon my delicate system.

So for now, I'm embracing it. I'm leaning out people. I'm leaning way out! That means a lot of take out, a fair amount of TV (educational, of course) and a lot of quiet afternoons at home with Cylas. I'm still writing, and I still have an exciting project "in development" but I'm also not beating myself up over the fact that the new house is still not totally unpacked, not especially tidy, and that I'm not cooking a gourmet meal nightly (when did I ever manage that?) Cylas seems happy to have his mom back, albeit with a bigger belly and a little less energy, and doesn't seem to mind that he's had quesadillas and peanut butter sandwiches a lot lately. Actually, he's pretty thrilled about it.