Ride the Wave

I am sitting here nursing my new baby. Lately it seems I am always sitting here nursing my new baby. She is two days shy of two months old, her name is Mira Elizabeth, and she is wonderful. But she is also exhausting. Or rather, the combination of her + Dylan + cooking + cleaning + running a house is exhausting. I need to cut myself some slack but I don’t even know where to begin. My expectations of myself are high, what can I let slide when everything seems important? I have a constant searing pain in the back of my left shoulder, my body feels like it has no middle, and I’m hungry. Everyone says I’m in the hard part. No shit! Everyone says it will get easier. When?

Being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Partially because it is hard and partially because I make it harder than it needs to be. I recently realized that my to do list needs to be cut down by about 90% unless I want to walk around all the time feeling stressed and unproductive. I wonder, though, if that would even help, since I think I might have the personality type where you constantly feel overwhelmed no matter what. This is not a good fit for being a stay at home mom.

Lately I’ve been snappish and short-tempered with Dylan and I feel horrible about it. He is testing boundaries a lot, having tantrums, and is super emotional, all perfectly normal for his age but so frustrating for me, especially when I am trying to meet his needs and Mira’s needs simultaneously. Brian reminded me last night that we should protect and comfort our kids above all else. We are the people they’ll rely on to be their safe harbor, so when we are short-tempered or snappish or just straight-up mean, it’s the worst possible kind of transgression. I’ll admit I threatened to take Dylan’s stuffed animals away from him at naptime the other day. What was I thinking? To my credit I did say he could keep his favorite one, but seriously. Taking away the stuffed animals he sleeps with falls squarely into mean territory; that sort of behavior is off-limits for sure. I realized it right away and let him keep all his animals but I felt like a total jerk about it and still do.

At preschool drop-off this morning a mom who had her second child about five months ago asked me how it was going. I said, hard. She said, I know. She also said that one thing that helps her through the rough spots and long days is to focus on three things she is thankful for or that are making her happy at that moment. It’s kind of a no-brainer but that idea never occurred to me! So I’ll choose for now to think about how grateful I am that Mira is a pretty easy baby, that Dylan is communicative and potty-trained, and that Brian goes above and beyond to help me out and take care of me as much as he does our children. Something else that’s comforting is the knowledge that nothing, good or bad, lasts forever. Things are always changing, getting harder, getting easier, more fun or less fun, and I am going to try a little harder to ride the wave rather than fighting against it.

3 Comments

  • It is a hard time…..balancing a newborn with other responsibilities is HARD. For everybody. I am in no position to advise you on this (since I regularly have “mommy meltdowns”…..last night’s was in front of my kids eep!) but I would suggest you not be too hard on yourself and definitely, definitely cut down on your to-do list. In a year, when she seems more like a toddler and less like a baby, you will be pining for that babe in arms feeling and you can tackle your to-do list then. :)

    • I try to remember that I’ll long for these days when they’re gone, but it is hard to silence my inner taskmaster. Pining for that babe in arms feeling, huh? Maybe you are ready for #4??

  • Oh Jessica. I’ve always suspected that nature tricks you into forgetting how hard newborns are. And to have a toddler’s needs to worry about to…I cannot imagine.

    I used to read a blog (it has since become private) written by a mom of three little girls who seemed to have it all together. She is gorgeous and an accomplished runner and her children genuinely seemed kind and wonderful and her home is so beautiful. It didn’t look perfect in a creepy way, it just seemed like such a nice existence. Then one day she wrote something like “when I break down and they see me cry they stop fighting for a few minutes.” It wasn’t til I read that that I realized how HARD motherhood must be.

    As for thinking about what you’re thankful for, at least you haven’t been bum rushed by a large dog recently that’s something, right?

    PS I owe you an email and I have absolutely no excuse! But I *did* go buy a sample can of pale pale pink paint for my dressing room.

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