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Simon has been a much easier baby lately, but for the first time since the height of his colicky behavior, I am feeling run-down and stressed.

I’ve been tired all week, and I’m pretty sore, too. The fatigue is easy enough to explain. Since January 2, when I returned to work, almost every waking moment has been spent taking care of Simon, working, or keeping the house in order. And this last bit is a joke, because my house is currently a pigsty.

Items one and two are demanding, and the messy house tips the scales to unworkable. Most days, Matt takes over for an hour of so every night so I can read, soak in a hot bath, or otherwise get some R&R. He also works from home so I can frequently get a mini-break in the day to grab a bite to eat or run a load of laundry downstairs. And my mom and mother-in-law combine to offer me about seven hours of child-care per week. When I write it down like this, I know I have a pretty good deal. Lots of people do more with less support. Alas, I am not one of those people. Nope, I feel worn down and live in a dirty house.

And then there is the sore part. Two weeks ago, I hurt my right shoulder struggling with the carseat at my mom’s house. (I go to her place when Matt’s band practices once a week to keep Simon away from the noise.) It didn’t hurt much at the time, but I awoke in the middle of night with searing pain and difficulty breathing. Things had just gotten better when it came time to clear out again for last Sunday’s band practice, and I reinjured the same muscle. It’s been two weeks now since I can lift Simon or even sneeze without some pain. To make matters worse, Simon got so fussy at Mom’s last week that I couldn’t get him to calm down and had to come home early.

So there it is: I’m tired, I’m in pain, and my house is dirty. Any of these items on their own is manageable, but taken together I’m done in.

Something has to give–and it has to give fast. Because I do not want to wake up one morning and realize that I am too burnt out to take good care of Simon. That would defeat every decision I’ve made about life and work for the past year.

So I’ve decided that even though my current load should be managable, I’m calling in reinforcements. To begin with, I’m no longer leaving the house every time the band practices. They are simply going to have practice at a baby-safe volume or find somewhere else to go. This will not only take the pressure off my body, it will also give me back 4 or so hours each weekend to tidy around the house and take care of Simon in his usual surroundings.

Secondly, and most exciting for me, I’m hiring a cleaning service. I just read about several companies online, and when they described what all they do I got positively giddy. I think about having dusted kitchen cabinets, wiped down appliances, and regularly cleaned baseboards and feel more relaxed already. I know that taking care of Simon and working as a half-time editor will all feel more manageable and enjoyable if I can do so in clean surroundings. Working and living amongst clutter and dirt puts me on edge.

My calls are in for cleaning estimates. The band has its first quiet practice today. With a little luck, continued help from the moms, and the regular application of heat, ice, and Advil, I’m hoping to be back to my old high-energy self in a week or so. Stay tuned…

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