a failed 100-day project
The 100-day-project from hell, how I failed, and what kind-of-nice thing came out of it. Like, it was hell but it was also fine? And what even IS failure?
Back in September 2021, I was approximately 2 billion years pregnant, waiting for my giant gestational diabetes baby to hurry up and finish cooking so I could finally give birth before his due date on March 6th (yes, I felt giant in September and it took forever for March - and the baby - to come) (I can’t believe all of this was 2 years ago and now that baby is about to be 1). I decided to embark on a #100dayproject (nothing says “unrealistic” and/or “blind optimism” like a overwrought pregnant lady taking on a *daily* journaling project WHILST finishing a bunch of client projects and preparing for the holidays and also abruptly becoming primary childcare for her toddler.
It’s me, I was blindly optimistic. And a bunch of other things, but mostly unhinged.
At the time, I was contemplating that it would be the last time my first born would be an only child. The last time he’d have 100% of my attention, be my only boy, be able to spend quality time together, and all of that jazz. I wasn’t necessarily stressing over sharing my love - a theme that I think comes up a lot, for a lot of moms, when or if they begin to have multiple kids. How will we share ourselves among all the kiddies?? I hear this lamented in various forms and I empathize, but that’s not really the vein I was thinking on.
It was more about trying to make the final alone time with Charlie special, purposeful, and to reflect on it, write down as much as possible, so that later I could go back when I wasn’t in a pregnancy fog and get some laughs, enjoy the memories, and such. Really appreciate it. SOAK IT ALL IN BEFORE BECAUSE IT’S OVER BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, as they say.
are you digging this? subscribe to support me and reassure me I’m not yelling into the void.
Dang nothing says narcissism like “I want to journal so I can go back later and read my journal,” but to be brutally honest I DO and have appreciated having a journal in some format to go back to and reflect on specific days or times, especially if they were tough. So I guess I feel defensive about that?? LOL whatever.
The exercise in writing something every day for 100 days has always been a challenge for me. I think I’ve attempted a “formal” 100 day writing project about 4 separate times over the past 6 years and never once made it to 100 days, and this time was no exception. I got to day 62 (and not 62 concurrent days either) before my entries abruptly stop. And not even because the baby came.
I was hoping - though I knew I probably wouldn’t make it to 100 days, because I’m me and I know myself - that I’d at least have a good number of days of reflections of fun stuff we did, funny things he said, or even funny-now-but-not-then stories of tantrums over silly stuff. The every day minutiae of toddlerhood, its trials and incredibly ridiculous tribulations that make days last 16 years. The moments I wanted to remember later, searching for myself in my past journals.
I felt an odd dissociation a lot of the times during that period - being pregnant, in pain, and primary caregiver a lot. I think some part of me recognized that I was just making it from one moment to the next in a survivalist manner, and I wanted something to make me WITNESS where I was in that moment in time, even if I didn’t get to see it until later, through reading my reflections.
What I got was a mix of that PLUS frustrations of my difficult pregnancy, challenging life circumstances, all on top of dealing with a toddler day to day. Some of the stories are cute and some of the time I was able to *on purpose* record and reflect on something nice, fun, heartwarming that happened, but a lot of the stories are me: frustrated, at the end of my rope, not sure I’m doing a good job, not sure I’m cut out for it, and desperate and hopeless for something to change and the pregnancy to be over.
Lots of that is fleeting. The desperation, hopelessness and helplessness can be eased sometimes 5 minutes after you’re feeling the peak of those feelings. But when you’re in the trough, you don’t know how close to the next upswing you actually are.
And I guess, my tendency to help me release those feelings and be able to move forward is to write them down - get them out of my head so my head is less crowded and can focus on the next right thing. And that means that a lot of my entries are not particularly positive or upbeat, funny or fun.
Back when I started the project, I decided I’d share them with people - to help keep me accountable - and I was going to start a new list to send my reflections out in a sort of weekly digest kind of deal. But the further I got into it, the less comfortable I was sharing it.
It was one thing to reflect but another to share what I was still actively going through. Like, I’m bleeding! WANNA SEE!?
I’m on the other side now and have had time to process and work through all those feelings - and many therapy sessions since September 2021, and I’m feeling better about sharing them now, though still quite nervous. That sentence is so benign for the way I ACTUALLY feel very on-fire and hands-shaking anxious to share this, but I’m doing it because, in a way, I need to.
I’ll be publishing all - or most - or as many as I can stand - of the 62 days. And if I get too nervous, I might make them for paid subscribers only but for now I really want to be brave. Keep reading to encourage me (lol I’m so good at guilt!).
Here’s the start.
Starting this feels fun. 155 days - supposedly - until this second baby arrives. And it occurred to me the other day, that puts an end to Charlie’s short lived only-child-hood. Even though we’re pretty much having this second kid for his benefit, his solo special days are numbered and I need something to focus energy on, to keep myself positive, or just a thing to put my brain on, on the days when the anxiety spins get difficult.
Today he’s sick - AGAIN - and home from preschool with me. I was awake all night listening to him wheeze-breathe all night and struggled in the first couple hours of the day with resentment. Towards basically everyone. Like why does it always have to be ME who’s the most flexible to drop all my other shit to take care of him on these days? But also like, I love being flexible and part of why I run my business how I do is so that I CAN easily be off at the drop of a hat when this happens. So just reminding myself that like hi this is how I designed it, and it’s working like I want it to, and kids get sick, and it’s all going to be fine. Eventually. And in the meantime, we’re watching all of the Disney singalongs we can find on YouTube, snuggling with muffin, and thinking of stuff outside we can do without infecting other people 💙
Did not sleep well last night even tho Charlie slept so much better and didn’t make a peep until 4:45am with some baby coughs. Still slept until 7. I got whatever he had or something close to a cold and my anxiety about “handling” him today while still sleep deprived and sick is what ironically kept me awake.
Anyway, as usual, it’s always worse in my head than in reality. We ran errands, saw some airplanes and excavators at the airport, and gave him his first ever popsicle in the bathtub. Overall fine. I just keep feeling so overwhelmed with how frequently he’s getting sick now that he’s in preschool and it’s like an unexpected slap to the face every time. I guess all I can do is keep going to therapy and hope that by the end of this (year? Phase?) I’ll be a person who can adapt - mentally - quicker. Definitely feels like that’s a thing I lost with motherhood.
Woof. I can feel - and maybe you can too, my desire to be positive and focus on something positive to get me through a tough pregnancy and phase, while also really struggling and wanting to *not* sugar coat the days as they happened. More next week! So happy you’re here and sharing this with me.
Let’s chat in the comments: a dichotomy of parenting or life that you love or hate or hate to love or love to hate? Is that a question that even makes sense?? Bye!