I start bedtime with my daughter at 7:30, right after I finish putting my son to bed. I have tried all kinds of techniques to move the routine along, but no matter what I do, I’m never out of her room before 9pm. And I’m rarely done interacting with her (responding to calls for me, helping her go to the bathroom, etc) until almost 10pm. With my alarm going off at 5am, this doesn’t leave much time for me to get stuff done after bedtime, let alone get a decent night’s sleep.

This extended bedtime was driving me crazy. I spent the whole time in a state of mild to extreme frustration. My highly sensitive daughter easily picked up on my feelings, which fueled her own distress, causing her to act up more and create further disruptions to our routine. By the end we were both distraught. Bedtime was something I dreaded.

At some point I recognized that bedtime was going to take 90 minutes, no matter what I did. Once I fully embraced that expectation, I  was able to shift my perspective to see bedtime as an opportunity for my daughter and I to enjoy each other and soak up some much needed quality time. I began getting laying my clothes out for the next morning right when I got home from work, and I tweaked the cloth diaper laundry schedule around so there wouldn’t be two nights a week that required late night diaper assembly for my inlaws. I stopped bringing work home to grade on the days I knew I wouldn’t have time to do it during my son’s nap. I told my husband that I was done trying to rush bedtime and instead was going to savor those moments with my daughter, who was starved for my undivided attention.

Bedtime can still feel like monotonous drudgery (how awful is it to floss a four year old’s teeth?!), but I have a much better attitude and we both end the night on a much more positive note.

At some point yesterday I realized that one of my husband and my big problems is in our expectations. The ongoing fight about who does more or who has the harder day is really about what we expect from the other person at some of those harder times of the day. If we could just clearly define our expectations in the evenings, we could shift our perspectives, and change the ways we view each other’s involvement.

Concurring with my husband that he has the harder time of it because dealing with the kids is more challenging for him–and he’s not a morning person to begin with–doesn’t mean much when I just say it. My expectations have to match that belief.

I used to do some very straightforward math (my husband has the kids (mostly just my daughter) for about two hours in the mornings and I have them both for about two hours before he usually comes home, which meant we BOTH should be on duty for the final two hours of bedtime. So when I did all or most of the bedtime routine whenever I was home, I would resent him not only for failing to help, but for failing to recognize that I was going above and beyond what is required of me. Our expectations during those final hours of the night were the source of much of our discord.

All that is going to change. My husband and I have decide to change our expectations so that we can both feel supported. We are no longer forcing family dinner on the weeknights, so my husband doesn’t feel rushed to leave work (he usually ends up arriving later than he’d like because my daughter lags in the mornings), and we will instead embrace family meals during the weekend. I highly doubt this arrangement will scar our still very young children; there are plenty of years for us to eat together when they are older.

I am no longer going to expect help during bedtime, but instead will respect that my husband needs this time to unwind and recharge. I wasn’t getting much help before, but now I won’t feel resentful about that, and I will appreciate that it’s time my husband needs. Once a week I will go out and see friends and my husband will deal with bedtimes. If I happen to be gone more than once in a week, I will make sure my husband gets some extra time to recharge during the weekends.

We will try to make sure we are both getting what we need on Saturdays and Sundays. I will wake up early with our son because my husband has the kids every weekday morning, and because it messes with my internal clock if I wake up way later than my normal 5am time. My husband will happily take the kids if I want to visit with friends or run errands at some point before Monday.

We decided to give these new expectations a month trial run, after which we’ll revisit to tackle any feelings of inequality either of us might perceive. I don’t expect these altered expectations to completely change the way we interact, but I do believe they will remove much of the resentment we’ve both been feeling. Hopefully, in the absence of those negative feelings, we can find some ways to reconnect, despite the constant exhaustion.

Have you ever changed your expectations, to positive results? How do expectations help, or hurt, your marriage?


At my therapy session not long ago, I was lamenting some frustrations about my husband and the resentment I felt that I was doing so much work to try to improve our marriage, while he didn’t do a thing.

“Yes, I remember thinking, when we were working together, that [your husband] wasn’t going to change.” Remarked my therapist, who worked with both of us through two separate difficult periods. “I remember thinking that it made as much sense to work with just you, because you were the one who was open to doing things differently.”

It was incredibly validating to have someone outside of our marriage–an unbiased third party–recognize that.

It was also incredibly depressing.

If my husband really can’t change, then what is the point of putting all this effort into our marriage? If the stress of having kids affects our relationship this negatively, will there be anything left after this difficult time is over?

And I’m not just putting it all on him. I don’t actually know if I am doing any changing. For all the books I read, for all the blog posts I write, for all the introspection I manage, am I really growing in positive ways? We play out the same shit in our marriage over and over again. Clearly my feelings about certain issues are the same. For all the different ways I try to approach those issues, in the end the resentment builds up until we find ourselves right in the middle of the same fight we’ve had a million times.

I was thinking about whether or not people change, on a broader level, as I contemplated the state of my marriage. It seems clear that people change, because if they didn’t then relationships wouldn’t ebb and flow the way they do. My friend and I suffered the horrible dissolution of our friendship because we had changed, right? At least that is what I keep telling myself.

But maybe we didn’t change. Maybe it was just our circumstances that changed. Maybe, as people, we are always the same, we just manifest differently in reaction to distinct life situations.

Maybe relationships shift because external facts change, and each person reacts to those external shifts differently.

I don’t know. As someone who works hard to make positive changes in her life, I find the reality that I can never change who I am pretty depressing. Even if I can alter the ways I react in certain situation, the underlying affect of those situations on me will remain constant. Or maybe they won’t. Maybe age and experience and perspective really do mold our outlook on life, and make us different people in doing that.

I clearly am not sure where I am going with this. Right now it’s only really relevant to me as it relates to my marriage: can my husband and I change our behaviors enough to salvage our relationship? We have a lot of years left before our kids are older and this particular set of challenges morphs into something else (which is evidently harder in most ways, so I probably shouldn’t expect it to bring us much respite). With the levels of exhaustion we’re dealing with, will we have the energy to act in ways that aren’t true to who we are, in order to support one another and maintain intimacy? We will be able to show each other empathy when empathy is clearly something we both struggle with (at least when it comes to showing empathy toward each other).

I have a great book about making marriage work, but honestly I don’t have the inclination to crack it open. I’m so tired of trying to change my every response to support the people around me. It’s exhausting, and I’m already exhausted enough as it is.

I’m just not sure what the point is. And I’m sick of being the only one who seems to care.

Do you think people change? Why or why not?

Trudging Onward

Thank god it’s Friday. Not that the weekends provide much respite, but at least I don’t have to wake up at 5am for two days. Of course we lose an hour on Sunday morning…

Yep, it’s finally light when I show up at work now, but after we spring forward it will be dark again at 6am. That is probably for the best. I’ve endured a few moments of complete panic when I thought I had looked at my watch wrong and was going to be late for work, all because it wasn’t pitch dark outside when I opened the garage door.

Things are looking up a bit at home, with my daughter. That really bad month was clearly her working through a big cognitive jump and now that she’s on the other side of it, things have calmed down. Her tantrums have been less intense, mostly in their duration, and she has even managed to pull it together to earn something she wants. We have settled on what I believe are developmentally appropriate dinnertime expectations–take one “no thank you” bite, share her good news and bad news, and listen to our good news and bad news, then she can be excused–and that has defused some of the stress in the evenings. She’s still having nightmares, but much less frequently. She’s also handling it better when I’m away, maybe because I’ve been careful to only go out once during the work week evenings.

At school she is eating her lunch again, and some days she even naps.

We saw our therapist at Kai.ser yesterday and even though my daughter was crazy hyper and bouncing all over the place, he felt confident that she wasn’t displaying any of the signs of ADD or anxiety, which is what I was most worried about (the anxiety, not the ADD). He didn’t really have any great tips for what to do at home, but I appreciated having a professional tell me that all her challenges fall within the realm of “normal.” I’ll be calling him to follow up next week but I don’t think we’ll be doing too much more at Kaiser. If things get really difficult again I have the number of a place that does kid/parent play therapy that is supposed to be really great. It’s expensive as hell, but at least we have somewhere to go if we need it.

Things at work are crazy. I’m totally underwater trying to get a million papers, tests and projects graded before the end of the trimester next Friday. It’s hard because I have to take time away from my family (or sleep) to get this shit done, and being away from my family is hard on everyone. I probably should be grading papers right now, instead of writing this.

I’ve been feeling really… unsatisfied in my marriage lately. My husband and I are just such different people, with such different needs. We were able to navigate those challenges well enough before our lives became so frenetic with kids and work. Now, when our daughter is finally done coming out of her room at 10pm, we have no time to even sit together before we go to bed. Even when we do find a moment to be together, my husband wants to sit with his headphones on, doing stuff on his computer, while I want to talk. If he does humor me by putting his computer away, he still doesn’t participate much in a conversation. I usually end up going to bed feeling lonely and angry.

We also have this horrible, underlying current of resentment flowing between most of our interactions because neither of us feels the other appreciates what we do. We’ve had an ongoing fight about who has a harder day, and I finally decided to be the bigger person and just concede that it probably is harder for him, even though he does less with the kids, because being with them is more taxing for him and leaves him feeling more exhausting. He accepted my concession, but said nothing about all the insane amount of shit that I do for everyone. It pissed me off and I’m not saying anything about it because I know I will sound like a total bitch if I do, and then he can just feel like he’s the bigger person. Maybe that is true.

I honestly can’t figure out why I get so upset at the idea of him not validating, or even acknowledging, what I do for our family. I know it has more to do with me than with him, but I haven’t managed to tease the many tangled narratives–social, cultural, personal–apart well enough to understand my own feelings. The truth is, he may validate me quite frequently, but he’s clearly not doing it in the ways I need. If I can’t figure out what I need him to do, how can I expect him to do it?

Of course, there are things I have figured out that I need him to do, like hug me every once in a while and engage in a meaningful conversation with me, and he doesn’t do those things either, even though I’ve told him over and over again how important they are.

I have been thinking we should go to therapy again, because I’m so SICK of having the same interaction over and over again when nothing changes, and now that it’s so hard for us to have a meaningful conversation, I feel like we almost need to schedule it with a third party to make sure that it happens. He would hate that idea, and so I don’t even want to bring it up. But then knowing that he doesn’t want to do it makes me think he doesn’t care, or that he doesn’t care enough to do the work. I know it’s way more nuanced and complicated than that, but when things feel this hopeless it’s hard not to see it in black and white.

This weekend I have a baby shower for a good friend and I’m going to be spending the whole thing not talking about how parenting has mangled my marriage and left me feeling a haggard mess at the end of each day.

Yep! Congrats on the new baby!

How are you feeling these days? Do you feel your marriage is negatively affected by parenting? How do you remedy, or avoid, that?


I was told, not long ago, that I am prone to overreact, to turn every minor set back into a four alarm fire. I was told this by someone who knows me well and whose opinion about me I respect. I’m sure there is some truth to her words; there are six years worth of blog posts to support them.

I’ve considered my reactions more carefully since gaining this insight about myself. I don’t always manage to reign in my initial reaction, but I’m better at waiting before I share it or choosing to share it in a more positive way. More times than ever before, I don’t share things that bother me with anyone, and usually, after a few days or weeks, the issue recedes into the background.

I haven’t yet determined the overall affect of this change in my life. There are times when I feel more control over myself for holding stuff in, and there are times when I feel more lonely and isolated for not sharing.

But I think the most prominent effect of hearing those words has been a lingering doubt in myself and how I process things. I’m constantly wondering if I’m overreacting, if my feelings are valid, if others would be as upset about something as I am. It’s disconcerting to fundamentally lose faith in oneself like that.

In the end, I can only remind myself that feelings are my feelings, and I can’t control them anymore than I can control my thoughts. All I can do is change my self-talk and thoughtfully consider my actions. I’m getting better about that, but as always, I’m a work in progress.

Have you ever doubted yourself? Were you able to regain that lost trust?

The Cost

It can be hard to quantify how much mental health struggles cost us. Between the shame, and the guilt–not the mention the stigma, and the judgment–the toll is high.

But every once in a while someone attaches a number to it and you’re face with the reality, in black and white.

The fact that I take a medication to manage my ADD will cost me $55 a month in life insurance premiums. That is $660 a year.

Over 30 years, it adds up to almost $20,000.

Sometimes it’s hard to quantify the costs, but other times they are very, very clear.

I guessed this was going to happen, but I wasn’t prepared for how broken and worthless it makes me feel.


At our school district, it usually takes the entire academic year for the negotiations team and the district to agree on a salary. When that happens, we are paid retroactively for any cost-of-living raise we may have been granted. We recently got such a raise (1%–woot!–for LAST YEAR) and were paid retroactively. Finally, in February, we got to see what our new pay check looks like.

It was a meager difference–I didn’t expect much–but it prompted me to look, really look, at my pay stub for the first time in a long while.

And for the first time, in maybe forever, I was struck with a thought. I make a decent amount of money. I absolutely make enough for us to live the life we want to live.

And it’s true. Now that I’m working full time and NOT spending $2K+ on health insurance every month, we have the income to live comfortably. I shouldn’t be struggling at the end of each month not to overdraw on my accounts. I should have enough for what I want to do, AND save for the future.

On a previous post Waterbelle suggest You Need A Budget (thanks!) and I’d been meaning to check it out. This “I make enough” revelation spurred me to go to their site and download a free 34-day trial.

Last night I went to work sorting out my budget, allotting certain amounts of money not just to what I know I’ll need to buy this month, but also to monthly “installment plans” on the bigger things I know will come due (car insurance) and even the ones I don’t know will come due (home repairs).

I was tentative at first, worrying that I’d run out of funds before I’d assigned an amount to all the necessary categories. But in the end I felt I’d budgeted plenty in every category, even putting some away for my kids’ college funds–and I had $15 left over.

And none of this includes the $5,000 I get pulled from my pay check tax-free as part of a 125B childcare reimbursement plan.

When I’m done paying off my credit card debt, that “extra” money will go to my student loans. And after that (only $7,000 left!), all that money will go into savings.

Seeing my monthly check this way, budgeted by categories, made me realize that I absolutely should be able to live within my means. Comfortably. Without feeling deprived. Sure I won’t be able to get everything I want. Sure I’ll have to say no sometimes. Sure I’ll have to be creative in my purchases, by bigger items second hand and defer any travel plans for a good, long while. But I can live comfortably, happily, on the money I make.

And I am incredibly fortunate to be able to say that.

Now the hard work begins. Now I need to keep track of how I spend my money, to make sure that I’m staying within the amounts I budged for in each category. I’ve already gone way over for “birthday presents” this month (we have EIGHT birthday parties and I have two baby showers in March!), so I’ll have to save some money in other areas. Of course in the future, I’ll hopefully have a little nest-egg in the “birthday presents” area of my budget, because I don’t have to buy them every month (at least not as many as I budget for).

And so it begins. My new financial future starts now. I even applied for life insurance last night! At 34 I’m finally getting my shit together.

Do you feel like you make enough? Do you have a budget? How to do keep track of it? Any suggestions for a newbie who’s just starting out?

Decluttering Without Regret

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but Mel’s post yesterday prompted me to finally do it. I was going to comment on her site but realized I had too much to say, so I came here. I also believe it’s an important part of my continuing discussion on attempting to embrace minimalism.


In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the metric by which each object is weighed is whether or not it brings joy. At first I thought such an obtuse determiner was useless, but since my huge, two-day purge I’ve become increasingly good at recognizing what does and doesn’t bring me joy. Every week I wear something that I realize I don’t really love anymore, and I immediately throw it into the give-away pile when it comes out of the wash.

But what of the things that we don’t love, but we clearly need? What fits into this category can be harder to identify.

Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is pretty unforgiving in her assessment of what we actually need. She has helped hundreds of people completely transform their homes and lives by getting rid of stuff, and since I knew my choices weren’t getting me where I wanted, I decided to trust her expertise. Per her suggestion, I got rid of pretty much ALL my paper work, ALL the little junk I thought might be useful some day (but have never actually used), and I’m even set to get rid of most of my photos. When in doubt, I almost always get rid of something. And if I don’t the first time around, I do on the second pass.

But what if I get rid of something I eventually need? This is a big worry for people who are trying to declutter. I understand this concern, I really do. I used to have it. But the more stuff I get rid of, the more I realize that I don’t actually need a lot of what I think I need, even when I end up thinking I need it.

Let me explain.

I have gotten rid of a few things that later I went searching for. What has been very liberating is the realization that even in those situations, I don’t usually end up really needing the thing I previously got rid of.

Recently our BluRay player wouldn’t work. Actually, it seemed to be working, but the TV kept flashing a no-signal message. We tried restarting everything. We tried changing out the HDMI cord. We tried using a different input. After many variations of inputs and cords, it became clear that we couldn’t watch the BluRay I’d gotten from the library. Then I had one last idea, maybe we could try an old audio/video cord. Surely we had one in our “tech box.” Except we didn’t. I had done such a thorough job of cleaning it out that we didn’t have one red-white-yellow cord. I could tell my husband was annoyed. We used to have a dozen of those dumb cords! I felt bad, because I probably should have saved one, but how was I to know our BluRay player would suddenly be all weird and we’d need a cord we hadn’t used in ages? And even if we had that cord, who’s to know if it would have worked?

My daughter was managing her frustration surprisingly well, and when I asked if she wanted to play on the bed, she happily agreed. We ended up enjoying a good 20 minutes of quality mommy-daughter time and it wasn’t a big deal that we didn’t have the cord. I’m going to borrow one from school to see if it makes our BluRay player useable, but in that moment, it wasn’t a big deal that we didn’t have one.

There have been other times when I’ve wanted to let a friend borrow something that I’ve given away. I will admit, sometimes I’m pretty disappointed in those moments, but ultimately I’ve come to realize that it saves me time and energy not to lend so much stuff to others. Finding the thing, putting it in my car and delivering it to its new owner are kept off my to-do list. In a few instances I’ve so wanted to share something with someone I’ve just gotten them one as a gift. And that felt a lot better, and meant more to the person, than finding an old one at home.

So yes, there have been moments when I’ve looked for something and realized I gave it away (and I’m struggling to recall other specific examples or I’d share them), but I’ve never once lingered on that object for very long, and I haven’t yet bought myself any replacements.

All this to say, I have been surprised, and delighted, by how little I actually need. The more I experience this for myself first hand, the easier it becomes to throw stuff away.

Do you worry you’ll need something you’re considering getting rid of? Do you usually end up keeping it, or setting it free?

The Two Week Wait

On Friday, March 13th, San Francisco Unified School District sends out placement announcements for the 2015-2016 school year. We should be getting ours in the mail in exactly two weeks.

Finding out where my daughter will go to Kindergarten is the culmination of years of wondering and worry. Ever since we first started talking about whether we’d stay in the city, knowing where she’d go to school has been on our minds.

The SFUSD lottery system is an absolute and utter shit show. We listed only Spanish Immersion programs, all which happen to be relatively close to us (at least on the same side of the city). Our daughter could be placed in a general education school clear across town.

We are incredibly lucky that we have a guaranteed Plan B in place, so if we are terribly disappointed with the school we get, we know she’ll be going somewhere that we really like.

But I really want my daughter to go to a Spanish Immersion school. And I really want it to be one of the schools we can get her to.

So many things ride on this letter, this one piece of paper we expect to get in the mail in 14 days. We may need to hire some help during the work week, if she has to be at school by 7:50am. We may need to buy a second car, if her school isn’t accessible via public transportation. I am a planner. If I’m not actually planning something, I like to be thinking about how I might plan it. Not having this huge piece of next year’s puzzle is absolutely killing me.

So far I’ve been really good about the wait. I registered in November. We found out she passed the bilingual test in December. Then I successfully put it out of my mind. Once or twice I marveled at how fast February was flying by and realized that soon it would be March and we’d be close to knowing.

Now that it is March, I suspect time will come to a screeching halt. I find myself packing my schedule in an attempt to distract myself. I’m actually thankful that my grades are due around that time; I hope I’m too busy to drive myself crazy with anticipation. I’m already dreading the five long hours of classes I’ll have to endure on the 16th.

Two weeks and we get a glimpse of our future. Yes. This feels so very familiar…

The Lows

I am someone who is continually cycling through highs and lows. My highs are generally pretty awesome. I feel great. I am super productive. The possibilities seem endless. I am happy and (relatively) carefree.

My lows suck. I feel depressed and anxious. Things that shouldn’t be a big deal overwhelm me. A gloom of hopeless envelopes everything, like a fog.

I’ve been dealing with these cycles for as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar II in college. I’ve never really pursued that diagnosis. At the time it was very new (the diagnosis) and I felt it was pretty much bullshit. Since then I’ve done some research myself. I feel like the only thing a Bi-Polar II diagnosis could offer me is a change in medication, because I already recognize these cycles in myself and I’m pretty good at reminding myself that even though the lows seem endless, I won’t always feel this way.

I guess my point is, maybe there is something “more” to my highs and lows, but I don’t think it really matters whether there is or not. This is how I am. This is who I am. I wish these cycles weren’t a part of my life. I wish I weren’t a lot of things that I happen to be (especially when I’m entrenched in one of these accursed lows), but I feel very fortunate that I can manage (or at least have been able to so far) my specific set of challenges.

I’m putting this out here right now as a reminder to myself, that this is a low and that someday, probably not too far in the future, I will come out of it. Things might feel overwhelming and hopeless at the moment, but that feeling will pass. The challenges will change, the way I perceive them will shift, and in the end, it will be okay.

Do you cycle through highs and lows? How do you manage your harder times?

Mutually Exclusive

A lot of the articles I read about parenting insist on two imperative objectives: (1) parents taking care of themselves, so they will have the internal resources needed to take care of their kids and (2) nurturing a deep connection with your child via affection and quality time.

I’ve always felt these two objectives were in direct contrast with each other for me, but I was never quite sure why. Now that I’m realizing that my daughter and I actually have different temperaments, I’m starting to worry that the two are mutually exclusive.

My daughter needs time, at home, alone (with just her family) to energize. I am away at work for a massive portion of each day, which means that being home with my daughter for that one-on-one bonding time is incredibly important. She needs that time both to foster a deep connection with me AND to refill her cup after a LONG day of being with other people at school.

I need to be out, with other people (adults) to refill my cup. By the time I come home from work I have depleted my own energy supplies and feel starved for adult contact. If I want to get together with someone it’s going to happen right when my daughter needs me to be home, meeting her needs.

Our needs are in direct contrast with each other. At least during the work week, our happiness is mutually exclusive.

In the past two months I’ve done a lot of work to meet new women and foster new friendships. I’ve also reached out to women I haven’t seen in a while and rekindled relationships I felt were worthwhile. This has required a lot of time away from the house, either on weekday evenings or weekend days. I have seen how hard it is for my daughter to deal with my absences during these times. As I’ve become happier and felt more fulfilled, my daughter has struggled.

I have pulled back, saying yes to fewer social activities so I can be home with my sweet girl. I think that has helped, and maybe, eventually, we can find a balance. But right now it’s hard not to feel frustrated. Why does it have to be this hard? Why does the one thing I need have to be in direct conflict with the one thing she needs?

I’ve often wondered why some women (ahem, me) seem to struggle so much more with the transition to parenthood than other women do. Some women fit the role of “mother” so naturally, it doesn’t seem to conflict with any preconceived notions of who they are and what they need. They feel, for the most part, fulfilled by their role and the way it plays out in their daily existence. But some women (ahem, me) are shocked by how difficult the transition. Who I am and what I need seems to clash endlessly with what is required of me by motherhood. I find it mentally and emotionally exhausting.

I thought being a mother would meet all my needs. I thought experiencing motherhood was my ultimate need, something I could not live without. And now that I am a mother, I realize that being the parent my child needs and meeting my own needs, are (at least, currently) mutually exclusive.

I guess it helps to have a better understanding of why I struggle so mightily parenting my daughter. Hopefully now that I understand that the things I used to consider mere preferences are actually legitimate needs, I can better accommodate both of us. Still, I know this will be a continual struggle. In the end, her needs will inevitably trump my own, because she is the child and I am the parent. Parents provide for their children, not the other way around.

This wouldn’t be so hard if my daughter and I weren’t so similar in one frustrating way–we are both high needs individuals. I always knew this about her, and I guess I knew it about myself, but I’m really beginning to KNOW it, in that “solidified truth I must learn to accept” kind of way. My needs are high, and clearly they are not easily met. I am an intense person, I expend a lot of energy, which is probably why I always feel so starved for more. I’ve written many times that my daughter’s cup is like a sieve, the faster I fill it, the emptier it seems. We both require a lot of what we need to fire on all four cylinders. Again, I think this is ultimately a good thing to recognize about myself, but right now it just feels like a burden.

Maybe this will get better with time. Maybe there will come a day when being with her doesn’t deplete me, but fills me up. Maybe one day I’ll arrive at the experience of parenthood I always imagined for myself. In the meantime, I suppose it helps to have identified our particular challenges, and treat us both gently as we learn to accommodate our contrasting needs.

I just wish it didn’t have to be so hard.

How do your needs contrast with the needs place on you by your life? How do you manage?