When I feel my control over life slipping out of my hands...like lately with L's sleep shenanigans...I yearn desperately to exert control over the areas in which I can still retain power. The problem is, exhaustion? Not so good for the frontal cortex and higher executive functioning. I make poor choices and then regret them.
Friday evening I went out to celebrate a work-friend's last day. Despite not really feeling up to it, I decided to go, in the name of friendship & connection (themes! I haven't forgotten them!) Well the aforementioned exhaustion, coupled by frustration at the day's events (minor, but irritating, including a pitiful pumping yield), led to my "accidentally" imbibing 2 glasses of wine and a beer in quick succession. That's kind of a lot for me these days. Maybe it was the lack of a solid food base, or dehydration, or the not-sleeping, but I really really felt it. I left early & headed home; both boys were already in bed (I wasn't totally irresponsible, I had planned for this and left an extra bottle of pumped milk for L tonight). I did my chores---washed bottles, pumped, helped clean up the kitchen, and even hung out with G (instead of heading straight to bed like I wanted to!) all while downing water to clear my head.
The problem? I slept poorly, due not only, but definitely in part to the alcohol, though L slept well. What a waste! When L woke up at 5:30, I realized that I had a very mild hangover and really just wanted to go back to sleep and let G handle him. But G wanted to go running, and I couldn't deny his noble goal, so up I got. I soothed & entertained L and then B, trying and failing to be present & fun for them. All the while I berated myself for the stupid decision to drink that extra drink just because it was put down in front of me.
The outing was fun, there were a lot of jokes & laughs...but not really "connection" of the kind you might get one-on-one with a friend, or even in a small group. It was more of a party atmosphere, where everyone is talking over each other and the conversations get sillier as the evening wears on. I wouldn't have "missed out" on anything leaving a half an hour earlier, but I was kind of enjoying the freedom of being out, alone, just like all the other single/child-free friends that were there (though I kept compulsively looking at my phone to check the time and to make sure G hadn't called/texted about the boys).
I guess the pain of Saturday morning brought home to me the necessity of making good choices for myself and my family. While I certainly don't begrudge myself a night out or a couple of drinks here and there, I need to remember that I don't have any reserves of time, energy, or patience these days to draw from, and I need to consider the consequences of even seemingly little actions.
The rest of the weekend, when confronted with a choice, I made a deliberate attempt to do the thing that was restorative for myself or my family. Free time Saturday afternoon while boys napped? I immediately took a nap myself instead of surfing the internet. Up early Sunday morning? Did laundry instead of lying around. Hanging out with L Sunday afternoon? Read him books & sang him songs instead of absentmindedly bouncing him while I played on my phone. Finished my beer Sunday night and considered splitting another with G? Had a glass of water instead.
More restful, productive, and enjoyable...and without the bitter taste of regret.