Monday, July 11, 2005

Hierarchy of Needs

The strangest thing happened this weekend. Matt wore the sling.(!) I swore to him I would not take a picture or tell anyone we know. I don't consider telling the whole blogging community to be contrary to that promise. Go figure.

My husband is the picture of the blue collar guy. His job is to work high on the power poles (he cringes if I call them telephone poles), working on the wire. He loves to climb the poles rather than use a sissy bucket truck. His uniform is worn jeans, long-sleeve button-up shirts, and work boots. His hands are calloused, some kind of tough guy thing, too cool for gloves.

(When Jack was in the NICU, Matt didn't work for 3 weeks and had to constantly scrub his hands and arms to go in. While my hands got red and dry, his hands got softer. All the tiny cuts healed and his nails looked almost manicured. I fussed over his hands and repeated how much they reminded me of his college hands. So much softer for holding and a turn-on for a woman who just wanted to be held. Of course eventually he went back to work and those hands were history again.)

I digress. Sorry.

Anyway, he was wearing his jeans and a Berkeley t-shirt, and then the sling. I think he finally got what I was saying about Jack loving the sling and decided to try it. He put it on and realized how quickly Jack became quiet and happy. His hands were free, the sling was comfortable, and I couldn't stop smiling. Aaaah, help has arrived. Thank you. Really. Thank you.

Saturday morning Matt took the baby and Janie and let me sleep a little while. I still have to feed him so it wasn't any large uninterrupted period, but it was extra sleep. Glorious sleep. I woke feeling stronger. Not at my full strength, but no longer hearing Scotty yelling from the engine room that "We're giving it all we've got Captain. There's no more power." Or in more realistic terms, the shadows have relented for now. They'll be back. They're very patient.

Matt wore the sling many times over the weekend. On Sunday his cousin watched Janie for a few hours so we went to Costco and then I went went to the grocery store ALONE. (Oh what an adventurous and exciting life I lead.) I think it's hilarious that what cheers me up is a solo trip to buy food when that used to be such a chore.

I think of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This is a pyramid with Physiological at the bottom and Self Actualization at the top. The idea is that you can't get to the next highest level until you have fulfilled the needs at first the bottom steps; i.e. someone who is starving could care less about their self-esteem. In this case, when get so low on sleep, I fall down to the bottom of the pyramid, unable to get a basic physiological need taken care of. Nothing else matters until I can get that covered.

I thought about this pyramid and rewrote it for myself. It's upside down...

Physiological – Sleep, Glorious Sleep
Safety Needs – Money
Social Needs – Isolation from being home with baby
Esteem needs – Post-partum body completely prevents this
Self Actualization – Ability to have incredible sex again - Just forget it.

So when I got to go grocery shopping alone this weekend, it was temporarily reaching the social needs level on the pyramid (as however pathetic that is to reach it at Safeway), and made me happy. What a sap I am.

Jack is crying. Hungry and tired, poor little guy. Must run. No time to think at any higher level because my biggest job now is to take care of his most basic needs.


Blogger Rani said...

How cool that your dh started using the sling. My dh did with my daughter. It made him realize just how much more he could get done in a day. Or at the very least keep up with our, at the time, toddler. WTG on getting out of the house alone, too!

6:39 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Kudos on being able to blog coherently about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs while juggling work, a medically-challenged infant, a toddler, and the lack of sleep that all that brings!

Glad a few of your higher-order needs are getting met occasionally, too!

11:58 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Oh, Pazel, your words and needs could be my very own at this point. The high point for me is--like you--getting out of the house alone to the grocery store or Wal-Mart...really.

My isolation at being home alone with the wee girl all day long...combined with my lack of sleep for any length of time and my lack of confidence as a first-time parent...holy hell batman, I'm a walking train wreck. It's a wonder I can even function to meet her basic needs at this point.

So it sounds to me like you're a pro--and I strive to emulate you yet again. In time, it will get easier for us both, won't it? Yes, it will but in the meantime, I think you're doing a kick ass job of it all :-)

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! Your husband stepped up and you got some sleep. You have an older one so you know -- you'll get out to more than just the grocery store. Enjoy Jack's baby days as much as you can without going insane.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! Your husband stepped up and you got some sleep. You have an older one so you know -- you'll get out to more than just the grocery store. Enjoy Jack's baby days as much as you can without going insane.

9:40 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home