It’s hard. Having a child. Not just the birthing part, but the part where…umm…everything else happens.
I give complete and total Kuddos to single parents. I don’t know how they do it. I have a wonderful partner and 18 year old daughter and we all still struggle to get through the day without bawling our eyes out. And sometimes we even bawl our eyes out because having a baby is super challenging.
Not only do we have to make sure he does not die each day, but we have to make sure we don’t kill each other on a nightly basis.
Little things bother us…pet peeves multiply. Frustrations stew. Memories resurface.
Memories of our past, our present…and the forshadowing of a future we can’t even promise.
The memories remind us of what not to do, say, or think. But they also help us remember what was done to us that made us smile.
So we try to repeat what made us smile only to find that what made us smile was not the actual event, it was the way we were loved.
And sometimes, there is no love. Sometimes the memories involve someone who hurt us…and we still smiled.
Frustrations can turn into all out blowouts with name calling and hurled objects…not at anyone…except for one’s self. Because raising a baby who needs us at THEIR beck and call is difficult.
So difficult in fact, it is at times impossible to properly satisfy. And life has to go on, and we have to work, and we have to rest, and we have to eat, and we have to rest, and we have to work, rest, eat….and while doing all this eating, working and resting, we have to keep this baby alive.
We have not even touched on the smiles the baby does not shower us with until about week 8. So all the effort, time, money, exhaustion due to lack of sleep, pained backs due to constant carrying and lightly rocking, feel as though it is all being done in vain.
And then there it is….one day, out of the blue, he smiles at you…stares right at you….this time he is not trying to poop, and is not about to fall asleep….he is just there…looking lovingly into your eyes (or whatever he can see at week 8.5) and he smiles….and it is a big smile…it is a wide one…from ear to ear..lasting about 4 seconds…
so don’t miss it. It will come. There is hope. There is something to give for all the time and effort we mothers put out into the universe.
But it is hard.
Many nights I cry myself to sleep because….HE WON’T SLEEP. So when he finally does, my pillow is damp with the watered down ocean taste of tears that are drying up only on one side…because things dry after a few hours of being out in the open air.
And did I forget to mention how the room smells like pee….not just the baby’s pee but yours…mine…the musty smell is overwhelming at times so you turn on the fan, and crack the window…just to forget that you opened it hours later as you walk into a freezing cold partially damp room you can’t in good conscious, bring your baby to.
So as you feel and hear him breath and lightly snore on your shoulder, you lay him down in either a makeshift bed or the pack n play that took you way too long to put together. As you lay him down, hoping the too cold room will dry and warm up soon, you notice a stain on the mattress.
Yep, you forgot to put that mattress out to dry during the 1 day of beautiful sun. So you lay him on a corner, an area that is not wet, or smelly, or stinky…you smell it…but does the baby? You hope they don’t.
And the under-your-breath swearing ceases that moment and becomes audible. Because you feel you failed…again and again and again.
As you lay your little one down, you crack a tiny smile, “now you can maybe get some work done.”
But low and behold, the baby is a liar and a thief. For the 2 hours he cried and fussed, you would make a deal with him…”please sleep at least 50% of that time. He unknowingly nods his head and you, because you are overly optimistic and ridiculously tired, believe them.
As their tiny head lightly hits the mattress, and their breathing becomes more even, you breathe a sigh of relief. But not too loud for fear of waking him.
Finally, they sleep. Eyes closed, body moving in a vertical manner in a fair and measured motion.
So you tiptoe backwards as quietly as possible to make sure you don’t wake this sleeping soul. But you do. The dogs toy, or the baby’s binky finds the heel of your foot and either it squeaks or you swear…or both happens. Just the way you saw in the movies.
And his cry pierces the silence that was sustained for less than 30 seconds. Because now….now his nap is over.
And most is lost…the time you may have had to shower, to grab a bite to eat, to slip in a nap, use your vibrator or your partner, a quick wash of the face….ok, so more than most is lost. It is time to start again.
Rinse and Repeat?
Nah, no rinsing, just repeating.
Step one, Feed him, Play with him, put him down for a nap. Wait….is it in that same order?
Step two, He wakes up, take him for a walk while also practically breaking your back because the Ergo, Ego, Eego carriers are not meant really to help your back but to give your hands freedom. But they can’t really be 100% free because when you get up from a seated position, you must support his neck…and make sure not to bend at the waist…..support his back if you need to bend. Yes…going on a stroll with that contraption on….don’t get me started on the assembly process. But once it is on….you now get your two hands for a full 2.5 minutes because after the first 75 seconds, he decides he does not want to be in it…AT ALL.
So then the kicking, punching and screaming starts.
Remember how I spared you the assembly process? Well, it is hard to remove him from this trap without unbuckling ALL the buckles that come with this non helpful device.