I wrote this post about a month ago when I was going through a bit of a rough patch with Blake not sleeping through the night and not taking naps and I was really feeling like I was at the end of my rope. I’m happy to share that things have completely turned around since I first wrote this – more sleep for baby (and mom) does wonders for quality of life - mostly sanity! I still want to share this post though, because I think it’s very honest in showing that motherhood is not always butterflies and rainbows over here – as I know it may appear that way sometimes on this blog, other blogs or on social media.
I write a lot about the joys of being a first time mom, because honestly, 99.9% of the time – it’s all joy – of course trying at times, but still all joy. Some days, I even feel like I’m ON FIRE – juggling all of life’s pieces with a baby in tow as if it aint-no-thang. Those are glory days! Then, there are the doomsdays – the 0.1% of the time where things just fall apart and you realize, this is hard. Today, I’m getting a little more personal than I usually do and sharing one of those days because – honestly – it wouldn’t be fair to always only show the bright side of being a first time mom. Plus, I think it’s therapeutic to say it out loud and share.
How are we going to make it through today?
This morning I just stared at myself in the mirror: dark bags under my eyes, a dazed look on my face and lifeless eyes staring back at me. How are we going to make it through today?
Blake woke up three times last night, once to eat and twice just to remind me that she was still there and that she knows how to roll over. I swear the second she learned how to roll from tummy to back to tummy – the child will not stop rolling. This includes rolling in her sleep, which means she’s waking herself up several times per night, which means I’m waking up several times per night helping her get back into a sleeping position. This has been going on for 8 weeks now and, to put it simply, I’m tired. Really.Freaking.Tired.
So after Blake woke up nice and early after a horrible night sleep, we all (Tucker, Blake and I) go downstairs and I let Tucker out in the backyard to go to the bathroom. Tucker, still being the pup at heart that he is, decides to dig a hole around some of our plants in our backyard and then proceeds to re-enter the house and prance around in triumph – tracking mud everywhere. I finally chase Tucker back outside, shut the door and try to put Blake down in her bouncer so I can go clean the mud off of Tucker’s feet. But Blake begins wailing because she doesn’t like when I put her down during the day. You see, she’s going through a “stage 5 clinger” stage where she only wants Mama right now. I leave Tucker outside so I can pick Blake back up, but Tucker is barking and barking and jumping on our glass door, smearing mud everywhere. I just sit there baffled because I’m not sure what to do at this point. There is a puzzle game in front of me: muddy dog, muddy house, crying baby – and at this moment, I don’t know how to make the pieces fit back together so we can go about our life.
I feel the urge to flee the scene and when I realize that Blake and I need to head to the grocery store because there’s no food (or coffee – yikes!) in the house and I’m starting to get hungry, I give myself a mental high-five, “Brilliant! Let’s get the hell out of here so we can deal with this mud fiasco later.” I’m also kicking myself for not going to the grocery store over the weekend when Mike was home to watch Blake. I need to remember to do that next Sunday so I don’t run into these “no coffee in the house” predicaments anymore!
Blake and I complete our grocery store trip and on the way out of the parking lot, I sideswiped a parked car. A PARKED car. Are you kidding me? I get out and assess the damage which was quite minimal since we were going 2 mph, but still – ughh, why today? As I’m leaving a note for the owner of the car with my insurance information, she appears in a frenetic state and I immediately understand that this conversation is going to be much more dramatic than I had anticipated. I was right. Over the woman yelling at me and carrying on over her scratched bumper that was all my fault (she reminded me several times), I hear Blake crying from her car seat and I quickly end our conversation and tend to my daughter.
As we get back in the car to leave, I feel myself wanting to go anywhere but home because I know Tucker is waiting for me with muddy paws and our house is a disaster zone from his stunt this morning. I try to think to myself how I’m going to unload all of these groceries, while keeping Blake happy and having to listen to Tucker bark at me from the backyard. I shake my head at myself because these are all such simple tasks: unloaded the groceries, clean Tucker’s feet, vaccuume the house – but at this moment you might as well tell me that I need to find a way to fix this country’s current debt catastrophe – it just seems impossible.
Hi, it’s Kristin…I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment
Blake is in a mood when we get home because she’s about 20 minutes past her usual nap time, thanks to the incident in the parking lot. I put her down in her crib and then run to the car to grab the groceries. She begins screaming bloody murder as Tucker is barking and jumping on the back window. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. I count in my head really slowly to calm myself. After running up the stairs and putting Blake’s pacifier in her mouth several times, she continues to scream bloody murder even though her eyes look so tired, poor thing. I decide to let her cry it out for 5 minutes. I never let her cry, but I’m feeling desperate. I lay down on my bed, watching the baby monitor and note the time so I know when the 5 minutes is up. 2 minutes pass and you would think the child is getting tortured in there with her high-pitched screaming. I also hear Tucker barking downstairs and realize that I NEED to go and put at least the cold groceries in the fridge before food starts to go bad. I feel tears starting to flood. Why is this so hard? I’d like to “dial a friend” and ask for help – “Hi, it’s Kristin – can you come unload my groceries? I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment. Thanks.” or “Hi, it’s Kristin – are you looking to adopt a 70 lb. golden retriever dog? I have just the one for you.”
Don’t Call it a Comeback
After some deep yoga breaths (oh yea, that fun relaxing thing I use to have time to do), I somehow collect my thoughts and “return” from my frantic mental state. I walk into Blake’s room, rock her for a minute or two and give her the pacifier. She goes right to sleep! I feel like I just scored the winning goal in the World Cup. GOOOAAAAALLLLL! A small victory dance ensues in my head.
I run down stairs, unload all of my groceries in record time (seriously, Guinness Book of World Records: Hi, I have a new one for you) and head outside to clean Tucker up. I finish my whirlwind of accomplishments with vacuuming the downstairs dirt and scrubbing the mud out of the carpets. BOOM. Success!
Sometimes You Just Need a Minute
Bottom line, motherhood is hard, and sometimes you just need a minute (or several). Simple tasks become a matter of moving mountains, and if one thing goes wrong, you feel incapacitated. I find myself questioning my old life, pre-baby: did I really juggle all those work projects at once and then come home and cook dinner like it was no big deal? Am I that same person? Where is that gal when I need her?
Raising Tiny Humans
Sometimes I underestimate what goes into raising a human. Just think about that for 5 seconds though… we’re raising tiny humans aren’t we? It’s kinda crazy when you think about it. This is the hardest job – especially on the 0.1% days where all seems lost and you have no idea how to get it together.
But don’t fret, I remind myself – 99.9% of the time, you’re doing OK, mama – you have it together, even if you’re just barely hanging on to sanity and any sort of “life order” – you’re rasing your daughter, a tiny human, and that’s impressive.