Nothing left for the dog
Life was a cakewalk before I had kids. I had to work, eat, sleep, pay bills, and spend a minimal amount of time caring for my dog.
Priorities? Who needed those? Everything would get done with hours left to lounge around eating ice cream and drinking beer while fishing in Warcraft’s beautiful Mulgore.
Now, free time and free energy are extremely rare luxuries. I prioritize each because I must.
Do I ignore the dog because I want to? Heck, no.
I ignore the dog because I have nothing left to give him.
Most days, I don’t even have energy for my husband.
He’s fourth on my list.
There’s a list.
With twelve hours away from home daily and at least sixteen hours on the run, prioritization is a necessity my pre-parent self could never have understood.
First comes the baby. He can’t fend for himself at all right now, so I must do it for him. Must.
Second comes the preschooler. He can feed, water and perform bathroom functions all by himself. I try to give him loving attention every day, but some days it’s counted in single digits of minutes because that is all I have left.
If I am awake for more than four minutes after my kids fall asleep, I try taking a moment to breathe. To be. To rejuvenate, since I have no idea when I will next get the chance.
If I manage to get those moments to myself and still have a little energy and wakefulness left over, I spend a few minutes with my husband. I often drift off as he runs his hands through my hair.
Once every week or so, I see my dog and give him a scratch or a pat. Maybe even two. I have nothing more to give him that doesn’t come at a cost to someone else important in my life.
In the rare moments I have a surge of energy and quiet enough to do so, I try calling a sibling or sending a text message.
If I do that and still have something left over, I read a blog or two. This happens almost never right now. I miss reading and commenting, but I can’t right now. I am weary down to my bones.
This is unsustainable, but for right now, it is life.
I give what I can when I can, all the while quietly assessing opportunities for change. I’m not interested in griping just to gripe. That doesn’t fix problems, and fixing problems is what I do.
When I can.
Change is coming soon–in calendar days, not energy days. In energy days, it’s light years away.
In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing what I can when I can with what I have.
It is all I can do.