The Loneliness of the Parent Whose Family Lives Far Away

I’ve been writing a lot about how tired we are, and if you’re reading this, you’re either not sick of it yet or you’re getting ready to fire off a killer comment telling us to count our blessings. Either way, thanks, I guess. We do have a lot of blessings and I worry that we’re forgetting them, because we’re so tired.

And when I say “we,” I mostly mean “me,” to be honest. Adam is plenty tired and puts in lots of baby-related work. But he’s a better sleeper than I am, generally, and also, his job requires him to be awake and alert, so we make an effort to carve out time for him to sleep before his shifts. (You don’t really want your nurse to be administering your medication with two hours of sleep under his belt.)

This means that he’s averaging about five or six hours of sleep a night, and I’m averaging three or four. One night, I got 45 minutes. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES, people. How long can a person do that, before they disintegrate? We’re about to find out.

Our problem is that we don’t have much help. Our family lives at least four hours away in every direction, most of our friends are childless, and we don’t have a ton of money for childcare. I took a pay cut to spend more time with Baboo. My brain is too tired for math, but I can’t figure out how to work enough to pay for help without winding up working all the time just to pay for said help.

We have had offers. My wonderful landlady has offered to watch Baboo for a few hours, and I keep trying to take her up on it … but then there’s a crisis. If it’s an all-day-screaming day, I feel weird about showing up on a friend’s doorstep and being like, “Hey, can you take this screaming baby for two hours? I gotta catch some Zzz’s. Love you, bye!”

I’ve found myself painted into psychological and logistical corners like this before, and I know that the secret is to stop whenever it feels hopeless and keep looking for opportunities to change things. Right now, our first step is to try to line up a sitter for a few hours a week. I feel like if I could not work at midnight most nights, I could get enough sleep to function. And being able to function would allow me to find other new solutions.

For right now, we’re just taking it day by day.

bed bedroom cute dog
I am the dog in this photo.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

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