mamamonday: ups and downs

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some days, I love being a mom and feel like I'm doing a good job. I love every second I get to spend with my little guy, even the gross things like getting spit up on and experiencing the joy of guacamole diaper blowouts. I love cuddling him, playing with him, reading to him, feeding him, and getting him ready for bed, and I wish he'd stay this tiny forever.

Then there are days where every minute feels like an hour. I feel like I'm trapped in a cage. There are days where I just want to get in the car and go somewhere, anywhere. When I cry because a trip to the Superstore is the exciting highlight of my day. When I feel like I've forgotten how to have an adult conversation or like I'm completely out of touch with everything outside my little bubble. I wish time would go by faster. I can't wait for Eli to be bigger, for him to be able to actually entertain himself for hours at a time. I can't wait to go back to work or be able to have a glass of wine without watching the clock to see how much time I have until I need to feed him again. These are the days when I question my ability to be a good mother. Shouldn't I be enjoying this more?

One of the things they never tell you: being a mom is one of the most tedious, boring things ever. Do you know how many times you can shake a rattle at a baby in a 10-hour period without feeling like you're going insane? Add the fact that the baby just screams back at you in response and it's even more fun.

This week on Facebook some mom friends of mine shared a link to this Huffington Post article, Don't Carpe Diem. The whole premise is that not every moment as a mom is a magical one. It's not all unicorns and moonbeams. There are days that suck. Your entire day could be monotonous, difficult, downright horrible, but if there are even a couple moments that bring a smile to your face, you're doing good. Realistically, that's what being a parent is. It's not all baby giggles and coos and sweet dreams. It's the hardest job in the world and once in a while something wonderful happens, like a big gummy grin at 3 in the morning, and that's what propels you along.

I was beginning to worry there was something wrong with me for not loving and exalting over Every. Single. Moment. with Eli, for wishing time away some days. Realizing that what's not normal is enjoying being a mother 24/7/365 is reassuring. In the time it took to type this last paragraph, Eli has gone from smiling and cooing to crying to smiling to crying again. And now he's staring at me and being quiet. Ups and downs. Get used to them.

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  1. I am a mum of two girls (7 and 4) who I adore and cant stand (sorry, yes I DID write that) at times, and its always been that way. I love them so much and I felt like you so often too - trapped, crazy, hysterical, wanting to go back to work.
    The reason I DONT say this to those expecting their first child is because its hard to explain in such a way that its understood for what it is. Often expectant mums feel that you are trying to freak them out or ruin it for them, or it wont be like that for them anyway, as they just wont allow that to happen to them. So I just dont bother, as its too convoluted to explain to someone who has yet to experience motherhood in its raw state. And also its different for everyone, I really believe that.

    Keep smiling, I am sure you are doing a great job

  2. i understand completely.

    i felt pretty much miserable for the first five months of ellie's life (so you're already doing better than me). when i was pregnant i kind of expected it would be that way, though. not sure how i knew -- no one told me it would be the hardest few months of my life -- but i was never in any rush for her to arrive. and what d'ya know, she was a month early. greeeeeat ;)

    the first time i got out of the apartment and away from the bottles and the diapers and the baby herself, i rolled the windows down, turned the radio up and sobbed. i had never been so happy! awful, huh?

    but i always missed her and always looked forward to being back with her, and once she started eating better and sleeping well and not crying for hours at a time every night, life turned around. there were more good days than bad and now there are hardly ever any bad.

    i read it best in one of my many postpartum books: "parenthood is well worth the price of admission." somehow that line kept me going. probably because it's true :)

  3. Welcome to my life. I feel the same way, I love c so much but I'm not loving every moment with him. He drives me nuts most of the time but it's those rare gummy smiles that make me forget about everything else and keep moving along. I love the article you posted, going to share as well if you don't mind :)

  4. Ups and downs. Totally. Since my husband has been gone on a trip for the past 10 days, I've been a solo parent, and the struggles of mommyhood was even more magnified. The toughest moments were at night, because she hasn't been sleeping very well lately. She'd start hollering after sleeping only 2 hours and I'd be like, "REALLY?" And then after she ate, she'd be in my arms, smiling in her sleep, and all my negative emotions would rush out of my chest and all I'd feel is this immense joy.

    Those moments are what keep me holding on.

    I think that you're right, though—that things will get easier when our little ones don't require us to be with them constantly when they're awake. Eisley is starting to have playtime on her own in the morning, for at least 20-30 minutes, but it feels even longer because I can run around and do SO MUCH in that 20 minutes. (And when I don't want to run around, sometimes I'll just lay on the couch and catch up on tweets. No need to be an overachiever.)

    Anyway, it feels good to find other people who make us feel less alone in all these thoughts and feelings. Although I run the risk of quoting High School Musical, we're all in this together. ;)