I am a stay at home mother of two. Joshua is 2 1/2 and is the sweetest, most loving and hilarious boy I know, and Ethan is my handsome, smiley 3 month old.
I adore my boys. I thank God for these wonderful treasures. But, we’re all human in this house, so our days, even the really good ones, are never perfect.
None of this makes me special or even gives me a reason to blog (does the world really need another mommy blog?), but my thoughts over this past week were enough reason to get this all out in writing.
Let me start with this: I am tired. Over the weekend, I suddenly got mastitis, and while I’m on antibiotics for it, I couldn’t quite get all of the prescribed rest I needed. While Ethan is an overall happy baby, he isn’t the easiest to put to sleep, and his waking schedule overnight is off the wall. A few weeks ago, he was getting into 6-7 hour stretches, and I sang my praises to the Lord. And then, without any notice, he went back to waking every 3 hours (though the other night, when I was the most exhausted, he chose to wake up every 2 hours, like clockwork). Maybe this is normal, I don’t know. To be honest, these things didn’t affect me so much when Joshua was a baby. It was just me and him all day, and if the dishes or laundry didn’t get done one day, it didn’t really matter. But now, I have a toddler whose life also depends on me and my doing things around the house. While he is very good and usually independent, it’s exhausting to have to keep up with him and a demanding baby who doesn’t have the whole “sleep” thing nailed down yet.
Everything became too much for me to handle the other day and I lost it. It was so bad that I, someone who finds it extremely difficult to ask for help, asked my mom to come from work. I left Joshua playing by himself and Ethan
crying screaming on my bed while I sat in the hallway and wept. I had a dozen things that had to get done and he had not taken one decent nap all day. I knew he was well fed and clean and plain tired, and I would rock him to sleep, but every time I would put him down, he’d wake up crying and unable to be soothed. I felt like a horrible mother for not being tender and loving to my precious boy and holding him for as long as he needed and instead simply listened to his screams from the next room.
All the articles on Pinterest that I’ve ever read while nursing him flooded back to me – the ones about why you shouldn’t let a baby cry it out, about how to get your 6 week old to sleep through the night, and other ones like it. While he eventually fell asleep for a couple of hours, I couldn’t shake the guilt. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that it hit me that I’m sure that my mom didn’t pick me up with my first whimper and wasn’t holding me all the time, considering she had a toddler and pre-schooler to tend to. I might be biased, but I think I turned out OK. I’ve always felt secure next to my mom, don’t think I suffered any brain damage from crying as an infant, and have no recollection on if she left me in the crib alone for twenty minutes because my brothers needed some lunch.
It was in that moment that I realized that it’s OK to not always be holding my baby (and my back knows it!) or to leave him crying in a safe place for a bit if I cannot tend to him in the moment, whether emotionally or physically. He’s going to be OK. And in a little while, I’ll be OK too.
This is why I write. For that mom who maybe needs to know that another mom has been there. To be raw and honest in a world where it’s so easy to put on a mask of perfection. To show that it is OK to not always have it all together.