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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Realities of Motherhood

Yes I breastfeed and cloth diaper and I'm super into the environment and babies. With this said, being a Mom is more than a job. You're on call 24/7 and that means it's not your job, it's your life. And people who work hard might almost be able to be perfect at their job. But you can never be perfect at life. When it's 24/7 you HAVE to mess up. On mistake and on purpose. We all have, and need, our vices, whether they are TV or wine or spilling our soul on the internet--or even more frequently, as in my case, all of these and more.

I think because I have this blog, had a home birth, am really into breastfeeding, etc, people think of me (sometimes) as some kind of "Mother Earth" (a friend recently actually called me this in person) . . . but let's get serious here. I think the vast majority of differences between people, parents, mothers, is superficial. Show me an "attachment parent" who has NEVER had to leave the baby to cry while he/she took a minute, took a walk, deep breaths . . . Meanwhile, show me the average CIO parent and I think you'll see someone who loves to hold their baby, would NOT leave a baby to cry hysterically without consolation, but has realized that their baby falls asleep faster if left alone to fuss for a minute. I think most of us are somewhere in the middle--I could be described as EITHER of the above parents. So it's all just labels to me, little degrees of differences.

I am FAR FAR FAR from perfect. Like all of us I don't advertise my flaws. Though if you think my obsession with organizing, cleaning, and list-making is out of no where you would be mistaken--it's true I am very messy. But I can pull my life together when I have guests so it's fine, haha. But that's the least of them.

The truth is that we HAVE to give ourselves a break. Otherwise the Mommy guilt will drive us crazy!

I'm giving myself a break right now in fact. James just came and asked me to take the baby so he could take a shower, and I was basically like HELL NO. I was really tired and fell asleep nursing him last night, so I feel like I haven't had a minute of "me" time since . . . like Wednesday.

I've been out to eat with friends and with James a few times lately but since it's ALSO with the baby, I feel like I never relax during the meal between having to wrestle him into a high chair, bringing all his utensils and bib, keeping him from grabbing everything, finding foods he can eat so he doesn't go insane, monitoring him during the meal to make sure he doesn't choke, retrieving the utensils repeatedly from the floor, having also to nurse him at least once during the meal, having to wipe his hands, arms, face, head, and probably change his clothes after, having also to wipe the table because the poor waitress didn't sign up for that, and then having to pack up baby and gear . . .

Damn, I'm lucky if I eat 5 bites and have one meaningful interaction with another adult during the whole meal!

I'm just going to come out and say it: "Hell yes I sometimes resent my baby for sucking huge amounts of my time, resources, and energy." But, geez, I hope I am normal. I always love james and usually I have a lot of fun with him, but damn being a Mom is a lot of work and it never ends and it is hard, not only physically but mentally, emotionally, psychologically. You are doing the best job you can, coming to grips with your own limits, and having to accept that you will NOT do a perfect job raising this child--all simultaneously.

It helps when you look at them and they are still perfect anyway despite all the mistakes you are going over in your head. It's the amazing thing about kids--they forgive, forget, and grow strong and healthy even if their Mom takes a Saturday morning to shut herself in the library . . .

Dammit except for the fullness of my breasts . . .

"Hey James," I yell down, "maybe you should just give him a bottle . . . " ;-)


Alyssa said...

I hear ya. In some ways, things get easier as they get older - and in other ways it doesn't! Like having to entertain them when going out is WAY harder these days. I feel like I'm hauling 50 pounds of stuff with me all the time.

Marilyn said...

I obviously can't relate because I don't have a child. But I think one of the things that scares me about having a child, what scares me the most I guess, is what you just described. The complete selflessness. Giving up, essentially, your entire life (until they get to be older). That scares me more than ANYTHING. Even with a pet, if you get really fed up with a dog or cat, if you feel very overwhelmed, you can usually find it another home, and not feel too guilty with your decision. We can't really do that with our children (and we wouldn't want to!).

But I just wanted to say, that I honestly don't mind babysitting. And I don't need to be paid or anything. I love being around James, and even if just for a couple of hours one day a week, sometimes even that is enough time for a person to just have alone time. To take a shower, make yourself a delicious meal, go out and take a walk, or go out for drinks with friends. Anything at all.

No one should feel guilty about needing to ask for help. And no one should feel guilty about the fact that they need complete alone time. It's part of being human!

love you big sis

Ella said...

"Damn, I'm lucky if I eat 5 bites and have one meaningful interaction with another adult during the whole meal!

I'm just going to come out and say it: "Hell yes I sometimes resent my baby for sucking huge amounts of my time, resources, and energy."

Yep and YEP! :) It's the honest truth, and it's not something we need to be ashamed of, we love our babes even when we feel like we need to leave the room and take a breath!!!

april said...

I feel you. Because of my fractured tailbone I am home bound for over five weeks now and do not leave the house except for our morning walks, Dr. Appointments, and the occasional outing to the grocery store (with husband and baby in tow since I cannot drive). We have limited friends and no family in our area. The other day my husband granted me 5-10 minutes to go to the pool for some exercise along with a guilt trip that Dylan may cry (though I had just nursed him for the past two hours. To defend my husband, he doesn’t always think about how I may be affected by his lack of confidence in soothing our son. I am getting to the point where I do not ask him to give me a break, I tell him I need it.

justadrienne said...

Good for you, April! I agree sometimes the Dad's just need to be told that No, we're about to snap, and you really do need to watch the baby now and honestly it's fine if he fusses because you will be here to soothe him!

But YEAH I don't think ANYONE accurately realizes the extent to which Moms will guilt-trip themselves, so it is definitely important to tread lightly . . .

Jessica said...

I am with Alyssa, when Gabby was younger it was a TON easier to bring her out...and now although it's easier in the regard that she can eat off my plate, I still have to entertain her and such!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! When I get to go to the grocery store by myself I find myself skipping down the isles and smiling at other people's babies. Sometimes I just want to shout "I HAVE A BABY, AND SHE'S NOT HERE!" Break into hysterical happy giggles here.

Ed worked 50 hours in 4 days last week. It was intense and I can honestly say I have to desire to ever be a single parent. Saturday night he stayed home with the baby so I could go out with friends and it was amazing. Darting through the crowds, drinking a wine slushy guilt free. Amazing. I never truly appreciated being with adults until I became a mom.

I had an attachment child until she was 5-6 months old. Suddenly, she switched to a CIO baby. I felt guilty leaving her in her room, but when we tried to snuggle her she'd get so upset. Even now, she waves at us after we put her in her crib.

justadrienne said...

"I never truly appreciated being with adults until I became a mom." HAHA seriously!!

"when we tried to snuggle her she'd get so upset. Even now, she waves at us after we put her in her crib."

Yep, same here! James will just play with us if we try hang out with him when he falls asleep. Once he's relaxed, it's easier/faster to leave him to fall asleep alone. I never planned to be a CIO parent but I guess I basically am. Oh well, don't care, LOL.

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