Yesterday was a daycare day for Riley (he’s still going part-time, which is nice because it doesn’t completely screw up his usual routine, he gets a couple days a week of fun activities and socialization [as opposed to home life, which involves plenty of loving ministrations but let's be honest, a complete absence of glitter glue and probably an overabundance of brain-rotting television], and it gives me some space to focus on the baby without drowning in guilt over the fact that I can’t give Riley all of my attention any more or even 50% of it) and all morning long I felt like I was getting my sea legs with this newborn business. I whipped through a bunch of chores with Dylan in the front carrier, then he took a catnap in his bouncy seat while I caught up on writing tasks and whatnot and I even managed to brush my teeth.

Then it was afternoon, the long dark tea-time of the stay-at-home-mom soul, and I felt like all I did was feed the baby, feed the baby, feed the baby, hey what am I doing at any given moment FEEDING THE BABY, and I’ll say this about bottle feeding, there is pretty much no way to free up one hand because one arm has the baby and one hand has the bottle and so which hand can bring the Diet Coke to the bottle-wielder’s mouth? WHICH?

I got bored of sitting and staring off into space while feeding Dylan so I flipped on the TV and watched a TiVo’d Intervention, and that left me feeling weird and filled with bad memories and basically sinking into a mire of woe, so I changed the channel to MTV Cribs and then I was just filled with hate for C-list rap stars and their tacky-ass houses and their stupid Godfather DVD collections. Plus, self-disgust for watching television during the middle of the damn day.

Eventually JB brought Riley home and when I came to the door with Dylan once again in the front carrier (I get sick of wearing it so much but it’s like an instant fusskill, as long as I keep moving) Riley took one look at me and wouldn’t give me a hug, wouldn’t even acknowledge me and in fact pushed me away and whined for his dad until I finally peeled off the carrier and stashed the baby elsewhere.

We did our evening routine of a harried dinner and playtime in the family room and Riley getting progressively more cranky and pre-emptively announcing that there is NO NIGHT NIGHT RIGHT NOW (a sure sign that bedtime has in fact become medically necessary to all involved parties) and we put him to bed accompanied by his usual screaming protests followed almost immediately by a full-body coma and since the baby had just been fed JB buckled him into the swing and left for the garage to do Man Things and I was going to have, like, twenty whole minutes to do some yoga or something and right about then Dylan barfed a geyser of pure horror all over himself, the fabric swing seat, and several inches of carpet.

I took him into the bathroom and gave him a quasi-bath and called JB back in to help me clean up the swing and the carpet and then of course Dylan was starving because hello, no more stomach contents, and I fed him for about the eleventy millionth time and it was around 9 PM and JB asked if I wanted to watch Survivor and I said you know what, I’m going to bed.

I went and took a bath and startled myself by sobbing sort of hysterically for a few minutes and finding myself thinking, I’m angry. I’m angry that there is so much drudgery to life right now, I’m angry that I can’t seem to consistently enjoy motherhood at the moment, I’m angry that my attention is constantly pulled away from Riley, I’m angry that JB gets to escape to work every day and I don’t, I’m angry that I spend so much time cleaning and picking up and cooking only to have to do it all over again the next day, I’m angry that I have to get up two or three times a night and it feels like that’s never going to end even though I know for a fact that it will, I’m angry that I have these selfish moments of despondence over the things I don’t have time to do, I’m angry with my body for being such a mess, I’m angry that I sometimes feel like such a shitty mom and a complete and utter failure at this whole parenthood thing, and I’m angry for feeling sorry for myself when my kids are healthy and our life is so good.

Then I blew my nose and crawled into bed and I read more pages of my book than I have in weeks and then I fell asleep with the luxurious knowledge that no one was going to wake me up in the next five minutes and by the time morning came I felt about a thousand times better. And this morning while I was holding Dylan and doing this thing where I gently bop my nose against his he smiled at me, big enough to pooch out his squirrel cheeks and show off his dimple, and even though he ripped a painful-sounding fart immediately afterwards which proves the old smile = gas adage it made me feel sort of punch-drunk with love and filled with excitement and wistfulness for the months ahead.

Things can feel so slow, the minutes crawl and linger and I wish them away one by one, only to think, wait! Oh god, I didn’t mean it! Come back, because it’s also going so fast.

Well. I have no pithy ending to this post. I have no idea how to wrap this up so it’s some kind of Meaningful Parenting Essay. I don’t want to clarify anything with declarations about how it may be hard but it’s so worth it, because I get sick of hearing that shit and I get tired of having to say it, too. The truth is so much more complicated than can be summed up in a bumper-sticker sentiment. And those of you who get it, you don’t need me to explain it.

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Comments

117 Responses to “Highs and lows, creamy middles”

  1. Swistle on February 29th, 2008 1:37 pm

    OMG, postpartum is a kick in the ass.

    Also. Crook your baby-holding arm around so the bottle is propped in THAT hand. You’ll get carpal tunnel but you’ll have a free hand.

  2. Swistle on February 29th, 2008 1:37 pm

    (Prop baby with pillows—don’t dangle him from his neck in that position.)

  3. Swistle on February 29th, 2008 1:38 pm

    (I mean, I probably didn’t need to clarify. But, you know.)

  4. mandy on February 29th, 2008 1:38 pm

    My life, in a nutshell. Good thing they’re so darn cute!

    You put my feelings into words so beautifully!

  5. workout mommy on February 29th, 2008 1:39 pm

    I love the picture. They are adorable.

    this post reminds me of why I love to read your blog everyday because you say everything that I feel. The paragraph where you describe how you are angry runs thru my head every single day (although not in such a perfectly written way as you have done!) I have no assvice for you, I’m just glad that I’m not the only one feeling it!

  6. Melissa on February 29th, 2008 1:44 pm

    Holy crap – I’m right there with ya.

  7. kim on February 29th, 2008 1:47 pm

    AMEN Linda. Thank you for summing it up for those of us who can’t express ourselves as beautifully as you can. If there WAS a bumper sticker to sum it all up I think it would read something like “nbnlaekrpgunsdlbnsdk”!!

  8. b. on February 29th, 2008 1:48 pm

    Yeah, what Swistle said.

    There is no hell quite like the hell of postpartum. You have all my sympathy.

  9. Pete on February 29th, 2008 1:48 pm

    Sounds like my life 10 years ago. This too shall pass. Good luck.

  10. Eric's Mommy on February 29th, 2008 1:51 pm

    No, you don’t need to explain it.

  11. Claire on February 29th, 2008 1:51 pm

    Exactly. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. Both about the speed of childhood and the fact that the things you can say about it get so old.

  12. Maura on February 29th, 2008 1:52 pm

    Hi Linda,

    I’m looking at the picture above of your two sons and I truly remember the drudgery and boredom of staying at home with my two sons when they were infants and toddlers. Even when I worked part time to gain some sanity in my life, returning home to the afternoons of naps, diapers and feedings felt so overwhelming and not as rewarding as I felt it would. I remember guilt and I still have guilt that I’m a shitty mother. I should love them more, play with the more, pay more one on one attention.

    I know it is easy for me to say to you it will pass but time does pass and it passes quickly. Tonight that little baby boy that never finished his bottle and was always underweight, who sobbed for days when the pacifier was taken away, who wrote on my newly painted walls in a red sharpie (God I was furious) is going to his Freshman Semi Formal. Yes my 5′0 15 year old will taking a 5′6 beautiful blond amazon (can you just see the smile on his face during the first slow dance). I know I will tear up when I see him in his pin stripe suit, dress shoes and tie. It is a series of “firsts” for him and I so want to freeze them and keep him from growing up now. I couldn’t wait when he was a baby to grow up and now I want to slow it down, to savor the moments, I truly want to stop time.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is it is alright to let yourself not be perfect and to savor the moments that are great and get through the not so good ones. I still have those days of guilt and that I’m not the greatest mom, they still cause me great highs and great lows but I wouldn’t change a thing, they were the very best decisions I ever made in my life.

    Hang in there…once Dylan is sleeping through the night it will get easier.

    Maura

  13. JennB on February 29th, 2008 1:54 pm

    I feel that way with just 1 kid – my house is a sty, the dogs need to be brushed, I haven’t showered yet today and it’s 4:00, and there’s laundry to be folded. What the hell will I do when there are 2??? Oy. I’ll try to remember that it doesn’t last forever. But it sure will feel that way, I’m sure. At least when Kid B gets here the weather will be nicer. If I had him now with the horrible long winter still stretching out ahead of us I think I might do a little bit of an “All Work and No Play Makes JENN GO CRAZY” routine.

  14. Super Sarah on February 29th, 2008 1:57 pm

    Yup, this is why I keep coming back to read. We are working on project baby soon and I too wonder how our lives will slot together when there already seems to be so much filling them what with Amy and our house and the ongoing stuggle I have to stay home vs. go to work.

  15. beach on February 29th, 2008 2:00 pm

    I remember feeling like I was exsisting in my own private universe…land of poopy diapers, flabby stomache,crying(me and the babies)….and I too had feelings of , hhmm hatred at times for my husband…..segway 17 years later….and I am up at night(not with baby feeding)but waiting for the teens to come home from their social lives…..feel your feeling, cry in the tub… give up the guilt trip….you’re doing great!!!!

  16. Jennifer on February 29th, 2008 2:00 pm

    Wow, I think this post sums up many months of my life when my kids were babies. Thanks for putting it into words. I think this will help many mothers who are feeling that way right now. I know I felt horribly alone and terribly guilty, like the feelings of anger, frustration, sadness meant I didn’t appreciate my kids enough, weren’t thankful enough for them being healthy. But it’s totally possible to love your kids, love being a mother and still have all those negative emotions at times.

  17. mixette on February 29th, 2008 2:04 pm

    “And those of you who get it, you don’t need me to explain it.”

    And for those of us who *don’t* (because we haven’t been there) get it, reading what you’re feeling so honestly will (hopefully) help us be better friends/partners/sibling to those in our lives who are in the middle of it all.

    Thank you so much for that.

  18. stephanie brown on February 29th, 2008 2:06 pm

    gosh, i love your writing so much. i’m not a mother, i’m not married..but they are both things that i want with every ounce of my being. i know some people say that horror stories scare them and make them not want to be a mom…but your horror stories give me hope…because i see how successful your life and family is and if you can make it through the horror and the bad days than it gives me hope that i can maybe possibly be a good mom and wife too.
    so thanks :)

  19. michael on February 29th, 2008 2:07 pm

    It’s just like all those ads and other social pressures that make women feel ugly and fat (compared to photoshopped waifs). You get this idea in your head that you should be some kind of Mary Poppins perfectly coiffed mom whose kids never cry because she’s just filled their bellies with a professional four-course meal (and of course they ate every vegetable and pronounced it better than cupcakes) and she still has plenty of energy left over for entertaining her husband’s friends and perhaps playing a few rounds of tennis.

    It’s just not realistic. Life with the teensy ones is paradoxically physically and mentally draining even though you’re getting no real exercise and bored out of your skull. It’s ok. We all go through it. And moms go through it worst of all, plus you have to wait for your hormonal wrecked body to recover from the trauma. It’s amazing really that anyone reproduces at all.

    You might try some alternative forms of entertainment. Like, a really good audio book. It’s not as much fun as reading, but still beats daytime TV. Or get a handsfree telephone headset, and talk with some of your friends (especially other moms, especially if they’re also handling a newborn).

    Or you could daydream about all the baby gear you wish existed, like a baby-mounted bottle-holder harness. Kind of like a tiny beer hat, ya know, but for formula?

  20. Ginitag44 on February 29th, 2008 2:08 pm

    I get you.

    Hugs.

    G

  21. Sarah Lena on February 29th, 2008 2:08 pm

    I love you for your honesty.

    I had that come apart when Tony was four weeks old. Exhaustion had become too routine and I was DONE WITH FEEDING THE DAMN BABY. Then Tony actually reacted to something. Honestly reacted.. not even gas inspired. It totally revived me.

    Hang in there, sis.

  22. Sara Moon on February 29th, 2008 2:13 pm

    Ditto what Ginitag44 said.
    We totally get it.
    Nuff said.
    ~Sara

  23. Kristen on February 29th, 2008 2:13 pm

    1. Thank you for your honesty. It is very refreshing.
    2. That picture? So cute.

  24. the goddess anna on February 29th, 2008 2:17 pm

    You’re so honest, and it’s so damn beautiful.

    (((hugs)))

  25. Sarah on February 29th, 2008 2:20 pm

    You totally nailed that in the head. This is a perfect summary of what it is like. Thanks.

    I want the baby beer hat…

  26. becky on February 29th, 2008 2:20 pm

    yes! exactly what you said! exactly!

  27. Claudia on February 29th, 2008 2:21 pm

    Oh yeah. I get it. And you will get why I sunk into a post-partum depression that lasted a year after child #2. And even WITH working full-time in an office. And working 40 hrs a week actually didn’t help the guilt but simply made me even angrier that I give my non-work time to my kids (some to my husband) and NONE to myself. I had a long, hard crawl out of that cave, my friend. So, what I have to say is: HANG IN THERE. THIS DOES NOT LAST FOREVER. SERIOUSLY. One day, not too long from now, both kids will be running around in the park hitting each other with sticks and you will close your eyes, sitting on a bench, and let the sun shine on your face and you won’t even open them to see who’s crying now. Because whatever it is, it can wait a couple of damn seconds. You will smile.

  28. ben on February 29th, 2008 2:28 pm

    Thank you for this, beautiful writing.

  29. MissAnna on February 29th, 2008 2:30 pm

    Echoing mixette…for those of us that haven’t been there, thanks for being so honest. What you wrote completely validates the concerns I have over having kids some day. And while I haven’t sworn off the idea yet, it certainly helps to know that when (if) I get there, it will be ok to not be the happy, perky stereotype of a mom everyday.

  30. Mary O on February 29th, 2008 2:35 pm

    I know. I SO know.

  31. helen on February 29th, 2008 2:39 pm

    you said it so beautifully, as I sit here feeling despondent feeding my 4 month old as the toddler upstairs wakes from her nap. here we go again… but i will say this is much better than it was 3 months ago when the toddler insisted “mummy put it down” every time I fed the little one, or just had a full on meltdown. and when the little ones start laughing, that helps so very much too.

  32. ShannonJ on February 29th, 2008 3:00 pm

    Totally get it. I love reading this blog because life is just not perfect, no matter what some of those P-dishers may say. I was kind of lucky that I loved the infant stage (although I might just be using selective memory at this point, as it’s been a couple of years!). It was about when they hit walking that I started to get a little more anxious and short-tempered. And I feel like I’m not entirely adequate at being a mom, because I don’t always feel like looking at the 30 millionth crayon scribble, having a tea party on the floor, or just laughing it off when my son pulls out all the covers from the electrical outlets. Some days it all just sucks; some days it doesn’t.

  33. Mandy on February 29th, 2008 3:02 pm

    Thank you so much for your honesty and candor. I don’t have kids yet, but reading your blogs has, I think, helped prepare me for the day that I do. I know so many parents who never want to talk about the negative aspects of parenting, who actually imply that doing so is being selfish. Thanks for reminding us that moms are human, too. And that’s ok.

  34. Jem on February 29th, 2008 3:05 pm

    You know what, I always feel bad posting that I can relate, because I don’t have kids. But I can. Depression and anxiety has knocked me on my ass this year and I have trouble leaving the house because I get so nervous. I dread it. But staying at home, doing the same old things day after day…eating, sleeping, feeling ugly and horrible but trying to stay at home as much as possible because I don’t belong in public, sleeping as much as I can…it doesn’t feel like theres any end in sight. I can only imagine how hard life is with two young kids however…at least what you’re doing is something amazing. And I know what you mean about wanting life to pass but also not wanting it to. I find myself counting the hours until I can go back to sleep and not exist for a while, but I find myself wishing I had the time back, to spend more time in each moment because you only get it once. Your honest entries are helpful to everyone, Sundry…I hope things start looking up for you.

  35. Carley on February 29th, 2008 3:13 pm

    Everyday you amaze me with your honesty and the way you can make me laugh and get teary-eyed all at the same time. Just … thank you.

  36. Christine on February 29th, 2008 3:22 pm

    I get it. Totally.

  37. Christina on February 29th, 2008 3:24 pm

    This is exactly why I enjoy your blog so much. Its the truth no matter what. Yes it sucks the life right out of us and we are sure we are messing them up anyway,, and then the skys part and OMG Im so in love I could explode. Its so complicated, so difficult, and yet so damn beautiful.

  38. Shelly on February 29th, 2008 3:28 pm

    You’re right, those of us who get it, get it. I’ve been there. hugs to you.

  39. Melissa on February 29th, 2008 3:35 pm

    I sit here reading this post with tears running down my face & Cooper attached to my boob again for 10,000th time today, typing with one finger and I am right there with you. Some days are going to suck out loud and these are those days. Hang on, it’s got to get better.

  40. Anya Paull on February 29th, 2008 3:42 pm

    Just another “I hear ‘ya” like everyone else and basically a shout out to know that you are not alone in any emotion you feel. As beautifully mentioned above, some days truly suck out loud and then others suck silently and then some days are sheer bliss ;-) I NEVER knew this is what it meant to be a mom, it is such a scary and amazing journey, one that hits me deeper than I ever thought, possible….if I knew then what I know now (which still isn’t much) I may not have signed up for this parenting thing or would have put it off longer and that would have been such a huge life mistake. Gotta go get kiddo, crawling like a maniac towards power outlets…rock on lady, as long as each day has at least a sliver of laughter or joy…you will be fine or so I tell myself!

  41. Rayne on February 29th, 2008 3:48 pm

    We have all been there! And I don’t say that to minimize how tough it is in the moment but to let you know you are not along and you are not crazy to be having these feelings. They are so true and the fact that you express them only makes you that much more real.

  42. Liz in Australia on February 29th, 2008 3:56 pm

    Yup.

    That is all.

  43. Violet on February 29th, 2008 3:58 pm

    I cannot offer much advice, but I can say this:

    Buy a beer helmet.

    Y’know, those plastic helmets with the long straws? They usually hold two ‘beers’ (or diet Cokes!) and hey, look, I just solved one of your problems!

    (HA!)

  44. Ashley on February 29th, 2008 4:06 pm

    Dude, I STILL sob at least once a month from utter frustration and I can’t blame it on postpartum body changes. It is a rough and not so glamorous job. Thankfully they have those smiles to woo us back in.

  45. clarabella on February 29th, 2008 4:08 pm

    I hear you. Thanks for sharing so honestly with all of us. You let me know I’m not alone, and I can say the same to you. I only have one child, but I still experienced the postpardum ups and downs.
    When my son was 8 weeks old, I had to put my most favoritest dog to sleep because her quality of life (she had cancer) bottomed out. I lost my shit. I would just sit there with my son swaddled in my arms and cry. For days. I think my boyfriend thought I wasn’t going to come back. I was tired of baby everything. Tired of smelling only spit up and dirty diapers, tired of pumping (we never worked out nursing) and washing bottles. But I loved my sweet-smelling son more than my own life. And then, on top of that, I had to miss my dog. Gosh, it makes me sad again typing this. But anyway–postpardum period=paradox. One day at a time.

  46. Amy on February 29th, 2008 4:14 pm

    God, it sounds so hard and amazing. Hats off and thanks to you.

  47. Sonia on February 29th, 2008 4:17 pm

    Exactly. I don’t know what it’s like with two kids, but I SO remember that minute to minute drudgery. The weeks postpartum SUUUUCK! For me, add to that guilt, more guilt for feeling like a crappy mother to my special needs kiddo. And then add guilt for feeling guilty, and not being able to tie up my hurt and anger with a pretty bow by saying “But it’s all worth it!”. For a looooong time, it wasn’t. I was mourning ‘normal’, when I had no idea what normal was.

    I get it. Thanks for your honesty and beautiful writing Linda!

  48. Liz on February 29th, 2008 4:19 pm

    My husband and I go back and forth a lot about having a 2nd child. Last night he said he just doesn’t want to go through the first two years again. I thought, “Come on, it wasn’t THAT bad.” And reading this entry reminds me that yes, yes it was, especially those first 2 or 3 months. I would be willing to pay extra for a newborn that comes out a few months old.

  49. mrsgryphon on February 29th, 2008 4:39 pm

    We’re debating #2 right now… I’m not sure I’m ready for it, but I keep reminding myself that other Moms all over the world have more than one child, so I should be able to do it too.

    You’ve described it so well, and I know what I’d be getting myself into… but I have to remember that there will be moments of pure joy mixed in there, and that in a couple of years we would have TWO kids who are as awesome as our toddler is now! And you, you are doing it and doing it well – both boys are happy and healthy and you are already exercising, you crazy woman. It’s all going to be okay. I agree with Liz above, though… a few extra $$’s to have #2 come out as a 6 month old instead of newborn, and I’d be all over that!

  50. Tracy on February 29th, 2008 4:39 pm

    Absolutely, 100% correct. The only thing that is not in there yet (or at least how I feel) is when Dylan is older and you then feel guilty because he doesn’t get as much one on one attention as Riley did at his age. It is a never ending guilt trip this mothering thing isn’t it?

  51. Amy on February 29th, 2008 4:58 pm

    Amen, sista! I still have moments like that. Have you seen Martian Child yet? I love John Cusack (my imaginary boyfriend) but it was a really neat movie about how kids impact your life!

  52. Rebecca on February 29th, 2008 5:06 pm

    “Things can feel so slow, the minutes crawl and linger and I wish them away one by one, only to think, wait! Oh god, I didn’t mean it! Come back, because it’s also going so fast.”

    I get it.

  53. mamma knows on February 29th, 2008 5:18 pm

    “Oh god, I didn’t mean it! Come back, because it’s also going so fast.”

    That sounds just like Adam Sandler in the movie Click…I loved that movie!!

    Hang in there it will get better, the boys are adorable :)

  54. Allie on February 29th, 2008 5:24 pm

    Aren’t you almost 5 weeks postpartum now? My midwives called the 4th and 5th weeks postpartum common weeks of hormonal distress (ha, fucking ha). I too found myself sobbing hysterically in my tub after the birth of my second, wondering if I was going to be able to keep on doing this day in day out. Dark times, my friend. Dark times. I do love that you can come here and be so honest. And I thank you for that.

    Hang in there and try to remember that Riley will eventually accept his brother. And you won’t always feel like you’ve betrayed him by going off and having another kid. I swear.

    Though I will say that it’s been a year and my eldest would still totally sell her sister to the wolves given the opportunity. Thank goodness we don’t have any wolves knocking on our door. :)

    Rock on, mamma.

  55. Nancy on February 29th, 2008 5:50 pm

    I totally know what you mean. It’s HARD. You know it’ll get better (or at least hope so) but man, right now, you sometimes wonder what the EFF did we do??

    That picture of Riley and Dylan is darling. Big brother looks disinterested and yet so cool. Little brother will totally look up to him one day soon.

    Give yourself a break mom. Eat some ice cream. It’s been 3 whole weeks – don’t rush into beating yourself up. The body will come back in time. Keep your eyes open for PPD and deal with it if you need to. But really, go get the ice cream container and a spoon. You’ll feel better!

  56. Caitlin on February 29th, 2008 6:04 pm

    I don’t have kids (other than my students) and I don’t want them at all right now. But I can still recognize excellent writing–damn fine entry.

  57. Marie Green on February 29th, 2008 6:09 pm

    I get it. Hoo boy, do I get it.

  58. JMH on February 29th, 2008 6:51 pm

    I get it. You are allowed to cry. That always helped me.

    I would lay my kids in a Boppy pillow (head propped up) and feed them the bottle with my left hand and ate or drank (Diet Coke!!) with my right hand. Good luck :)

  59. Lesley on February 29th, 2008 7:23 pm

    Regular crying jags in the tub sound like a fine idea actually. Most of us probably don’t cry as much as we should to release the stress we’re constantly carrying. Also, soaking in a nice hot bubble-filled tub with a good book sounds like something you deserve at the end of a hard day.

    Recruit a babysitter one of these days and get your ass to a spa for a few hours.

    P.S. I bet that was a smile! Love the pic!

  60. laura on February 29th, 2008 7:27 pm

    absolutely wonderful writing. you captured my own sentiments in a way that I could have never articulated. so lovely.

    Regarding feeding positions, I used to do this thing with my daughter where I’d sit on the couch with my feet on the coffee table, creating a mountain out of my knees. I’d then sit her in my lap, propped up on my thighs and bottle feed her that way–thus requiring only one hand for feeding baby, and freeing up the other hand for feeding myself!

  61. rebecca on February 29th, 2008 7:53 pm

    So, so true… I’m right there with you. Currently typing this comment one-handed while holding fussy 3-week old and listening to almost 3-year-old throwing a tantrum in the other room. It will get better, it will get better…

  62. McWriter on February 29th, 2008 8:48 pm

    Your honesty is amazing. I feel like that at 7pm on a Tuesday and I have no kids and no husband and no spontaneous puking machines in my house. You are doing a phenomenal job, Linda, and your writing inspires me to be a better writer myself. Rock the F on!

  63. Danell on February 29th, 2008 9:01 pm

    I don’t think it matters how lucky you are and how awesome everything is…it’s still totally possible to feel absolutely pitiful sometimes. I just wish we (well, me anyway, loyal reader that I am) could do something to make you smile as often as your writing makes us smile. Chin up, girlfriend…we’re cheering for you!

  64. Christine on February 29th, 2008 9:02 pm

    I’ve been there, I hated most of it, and all I can do is assure you that it gets better. Hang in there.

  65. sooboo on February 29th, 2008 9:05 pm

    Dang! You moms are brave women! I fear I don’t have the internal fortitude to join you.

  66. Jennifer on February 29th, 2008 11:01 pm

    Sounds like somebody needs a Fuckit Bucket!

    Seriously though, I think you are amazing.

    Hugs and a Skinny Cow to you.

  67. Karl on February 29th, 2008 11:20 pm

    I read this post going “yup, ok, yup, …”.

    I dunno, maybe this will help??: We had four. (Not what it sounds like. Relatively complicated story. Two are “of my loins”.) The baby is 22. About 3 years ago, the wife said to me, “If you had to do it over again, would you have kids?” and time passed. The clock ticked. I tried to say brightly “Of Course, Dear! The More, The Merrier” or some such shite.

    After about 5 minutes, we looked at each other and fell over laughing.

    Angry is OK. (within reasonable limits, which I assure you, you are within.) Crying is OK. Helpless is OK, because that is how it is.

    I can tell you that eventually you will look back and say that it’s OK, *not not not* because it was “worth it to raise such little darlings” or some such reproductively-correct BS. But because you will embrace the (I hope!) fact that JB is not a dick, and the kids did not bury you in the back yard. or vice versa. I didn’t and the wife didn’t, and I regard that as a Big Win.

    Would I do it again? Uh. mmmm. uh, sure, I suppose….yup.

  68. Anna on February 29th, 2008 11:22 pm

    I so remember all those feelings. Only now do I realise that so much of it was pressure I was putting on myself. -Yet I am still considering the whole option of number two because I know that even though I will be aware of all those things I know it won’t make it any easier – and in fact could be harder. But if Sundry can do it surely I can!!

  69. Carol on March 1st, 2008 12:59 am

    I felt EXACTLY that way just yesterday. Your words resonated completely.

    I could swear it was yesterday. MAYBE last week.

    But it was 18 years ago when I had two 6-month olds, a two-year-old and a four-year-old. And I don’t understand how those days that seemed to never end somehow turned into 18 years. I know how hard it is to hear this, and I hated my MIL every time she said it to me back then… but this too shall pass — more quickly than you can even fathom.

    Hugs,

    Carol

  70. one feisty mama on March 1st, 2008 2:45 am

    perfectly said, i can’t think of a post i’ve connected with more than this. the anger, the guilt, the slowness of time – so precisely captured and yet i LOVE the absence of a neat ending. because there isn’t one and there we are, all flailing around in similar boats. thanks for these words which restored a little of my sanity this morning.

  71. Bunny on March 1st, 2008 5:05 am

    I have been right there before.

  72. Christine on March 1st, 2008 6:50 am

    My God. You said it EXACTLY as I have felt it.

    And no, you didn’t need to explain it but I am so glad you did.

    Those GD hormones are a bitch. Thank you.

  73. Matt on March 1st, 2008 7:09 am

    You’re gonna make it after all! Dum ba da da ba da bum!

  74. Stephanie on March 1st, 2008 7:27 am

    You could alway get the trusty beer hat out and use it for soda. Or milkshakes. Whatever.

  75. Stephanie on March 1st, 2008 7:50 am

    I started to get tears. I understand the anger, and have hid in in the bathroom crying. It sucks. Definately put beer in the hat. Big hugs!!

  76. Stephanie on March 1st, 2008 7:50 am

    I started to get tears. I understand the anger, and have hid in in the bathroom crying. It sucks. Definately put beer in the hat. Big hugs!!

  77. Jenn D on March 1st, 2008 8:07 am

    Again, not reading the dozens of earlier posts, so what I say here has likely been said.

    I was in your exact position (except I have girls) 7 months ago, with a 2.5ish year old and a newish baby, and the sobbing hysterically in the bathtub. I resented the baby for the fact that she took so much of my time, time that I used to lavish upon my older daughter. I hated feeding a billion times a day, I was exhausted, jealous of my husband for getting out, and I felt guilty for feeling the way I was feeling. It’s slowly getting better though. I only occasionally have days where running off to join the circus in Guatemala seems like the right thing to do.

    As for the spare hand for drinking of diet coke or vodka or whatever….I have learned (like the first poster) to both cradle the head and hold the bottle with one arm. It doesn’t always work, and requires some co-operation from the wee one, but I do occasionally get to read my book AND feed the baby all at once.

  78. Tammy on March 1st, 2008 9:10 am

    I know that every word you wrote up there was perhaps a way of vomiting all the crappy things you feel, to just get it gone. But I wonder if you realize how many mothers reading that realize now that they are perfectly normal and it made them smile and it made it easier for them to feed the baby for the sixteenth time that HOUR!
    I could tell you it will get easier but you already know that and it doesn’t make the now any easier. Even though the gassy grin gave you a glimpse of things to come.
    Yeah it’s worth it.
    I have two teenage girls and I felt all of that and more. Now I still feel it..but differently. My eldest is a headstrong, independent know it all and sometimes I imagine seeing her graduate from college and being so completely overwhelmed with emotion. Not because I’m proud, but because I am so goddamned relieved that I got her to where she needed to be without beating the living shit out of her.
    We all feel like crappy mothers. Anyone who says they don’t are big fat liars.
    Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You are doing an awesome job.

  79. andi on March 1st, 2008 10:00 am

    The last paragraph of this was so perfect and true. There is no way to romanticize parenthood when all you can think about is “feed the baby, feed the baby, feed the baby”.

  80. Alyson on March 1st, 2008 10:36 am

    Amen Sistah!

    This too shall pass (and the good bits, far too quickly!)

  81. willikat on March 1st, 2008 10:38 am

    everyone has already said it here, but thanks for your honesty. so few people have the courage to say the things you say…but look at how many support you! we are not there to take a turn feeding the baby or entertain riley so you can take a bath in peace, but we are all pulling for you from the internets! i have not had children, and the older i get the more i realize how it’s so NOT like what you think it is. and i’m glad i can read you and get a preview, because i won’t feel bad if and when i decide to have my own. i had to laugh at some of the comments left here about the beer hat. please do get one–diet coke will make you feel better about life and you can take a picture of this whole contraption for us. hang in there.

  82. Ashley B on March 1st, 2008 11:43 am

    Did you know that having a baby is considered to be one of life’s big crises? I remember that from a Sociology class I was required to take. If I remember it correctly it ranked highly on the list along with death and divorce. SO in saying that I think you’re taking it rather well. It’s not easy, and there’s definitely not always a cherry on top.
    I say forget the qualifying statements, like “but it’s all SO worth it.” Cause well, of course it is, but by god you can feel shitty about it, and that’s it. You rock and you’re wonderful and you’re doing a FAN-f’in-tastic job, bottom line.

  83. Katie on March 1st, 2008 11:53 am

    that is EXACTLY how I feel TODAY.

  84. Buckeye Mommy on March 1st, 2008 12:07 pm

    Yes. Exactly.

  85. Jess on March 1st, 2008 12:27 pm

    Perfectly written. Damn girl. And can I get a big AMEN?!

  86. Anna on March 1st, 2008 12:38 pm

    Not only do I get it, but I’m still feeling like that frequently, at almost nine months post-partum. I don’t need you to explain it, but THANK YOU for articulating it.

  87. April on March 1st, 2008 12:45 pm

    I am due to have my first baby pretty much any minute (ANY minute, you hear me in there, kid?) and I really appreciate your honesty. I have a feeling I am going to sound/feel just like you do. It makes me feel so guilty that I don’t look forward to meeting my precious little angel knowing that I have weeks of sleepless drudgery in front of me. So, thanks.

  88. Christina on March 1st, 2008 1:08 pm

    Ditto to this. I remember feeling this way and sort of hating myself and feeling sorry for myself and yet I loved it too. Also, another mom I knew who had a baby around the same time seemed SO blissful about it all like there was nothing about her life with this new baby was remoting dull and I was all “Are you fuckin’ June Cleaver, or what?” (to myself of course!)

    The worst part is when you are in it it is hard to see your way out of it. As another person said this too shall pass. Hang in there!

  89. Lindy on March 1st, 2008 2:12 pm

    hmmm and I’m seriously considering doing this again.

  90. anna on March 1st, 2008 2:44 pm

    I get it.

  91. mrs. chicken on March 1st, 2008 5:05 pm

    I think I’m the last person in the world to find your blog, but I’ve been reading religiously since just before you gave birth.

    I’m expecting my second child in August and reading about your experiences with two is bracing. It helps so much to hear your honesty, to hear what it will really be like.

    I’m so glad I stumbled on you. And I hope each day gets a little better for you.

  92. Brenda on March 1st, 2008 5:47 pm

    Wow! Almost 7 years ago I could have written this post. Lots of hugs and understanding!
    By the way, to free your feeding arm prop the bottle under your chin. You can’t drink that way but you can type ;-)

  93. Anne on March 1st, 2008 6:11 pm

    I get it and have been where you are. Thanks for your honesty. My kids are 5 and 8 now, and I still sometimes feel guilty for not “enjoying every minute” like some others seem to do. Reading your entry reminded me that I am/was normal. And, p.s., it does get easier!

  94. Becky on March 1st, 2008 8:02 pm

    amen!

  95. Kari on March 1st, 2008 8:35 pm

    I don’t have the slightest idea what you are going through (no kids), but can still feel empathy and sympathy. The sense that you really never have a moment off. Even when you have a window of alone time, you are still on call. Permanently on call when you are not actively on duty.

    You are what is good, decent and awesome about the internet. I know you can’t go check out in an office for prolonged periods of time, but I hope that you come to realize that there is this whole other side of you that comes through in your writing. As a loyal reader, I see Linda the woman and writer first, and mother and wife second, and I admire all of your roles.

    I just wanted you to know that even if you feel one dimensional right now, I suspect most of your readers see all of your amazing dimensions and respect the hell out of you for them.

    Be well.

  96. Mnerva on March 1st, 2008 8:59 pm

    I also have to echo Mixette’s response. Thanks for giving us outsiders an insight. I HAVE given birth, but since I gave my baby up to adoption, I do not know the parenting woes. But I DO know the post-partum blues. I feel your pain, Linda, it must be hard. But even as only a birth parent I know the fierce love and devotion that one feels for their child(ren). It consumes you, and you’ve captured that well in your post.

  97. Brooke on March 1st, 2008 9:01 pm

    a friend mentioned your blog with unabashed admiration, so i decided to take a gander… & now, in my pj’s after what can only be described as a day like yours, i am drenched with tears (& mooshed toodler food) & entirely grateful for the honestly that you dish out to strangers. i feel a million times more normal & encouraged for the continuation of this grimy, freakin fabulousness called motherhood!!!

  98. FishyGirl on March 1st, 2008 9:31 pm

    Indeed. You pegged it.

  99. Childsplayx2 on March 1st, 2008 10:44 pm

    I have twins and the baby bottle holder saved my life.

    Go here: http://babydoodads.com/ and order yourself one. It will change your life!

  100. Amie on March 2nd, 2008 12:41 am

    Plain and simple, you are awesome. You put out there what every mother feels at some point in time. The ones who say they don’t? Are lying through the skin of their gritted teeth. It isn’t easy, there’s always tears involved, but it always seems to end up being okay somehow.

    I was lucky in that when I had my second child, my daughter was six-years-old, and out of the needy toddler stage. Now we’re trying for number 3, and there’s a part of me that’s dreading what this will do to my relationship with Gabe. But, past the dread, I know it’ll work out. If I could just get pregnant, that is. (Ten months of trying and counting. C’mon eggs…GO TEAM OVARIES!)

  101. Clueless But Hopeful Mama on March 2nd, 2008 1:36 pm

    I have to add my voice to chorus: Bless you for this post.

    I just had a mini breakdown last night and told my husband that I didn’t think I could have another kid. I feel like I’m failing at the whole toddler thing and I just don’t know HOW it can possibly work with TWO kids. The anger and resentment and guilt and struggle of it all made me feel so lonely and he just couldn’t get it.

    Then I woke up and got to read this post.

    You get it. We all seem to get it. Thank you.

  102. Grandmother Dearest on March 2nd, 2008 5:50 pm

    You can bottle feed one-handed by leveraging the bottle in between the buttons on your blouse. This leave one hand free to sip the Diet Coke, manipulate the remote or turn the page. Just keep the angle correct for more milk, less air.

  103. Rachael (NZ) on March 3rd, 2008 12:06 am

    Now you’ve done it. A fight with my boyfriend and a possible ending to our relationship then, while sulking upstairs, I read your blog. I’m angry for totally different reasons but your total honesty punched me in the heart. Tell these tears to stop it right now damn it!

  104. Lisa on March 3rd, 2008 6:40 am

    I feel for you – so here’s a little hug from me to let you know that the internet understands cuz we’ve been there too. And 2 more hugs for those beautiful babies of yours!

    Hang in there! You know it gets better and easier, you just have to get through the tough times first in order to enjoy the good times.

  105. Sara L. on March 3rd, 2008 7:29 am

    Amen. No explanations necessary. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  106. Andrea on March 3rd, 2008 7:45 am

    My daughter was born January 3rd and you just described so well so many things I felt in those first couple weeks. Sometimes I still feel them, especially because my husband is absent nearly every night for a situation that is temporary and will help our family in the long run, but HELLO! Parenting two kids by myself for the first time ever! So no bitching at me that the laundry isn’t done yet!

    I know you know this already, but it does get better. Even before the baby starts to wake up more during the day and interact with you a little bit more, you’ll find your sea legs more and more often until one day, you realize you’ve had them for a couple days straight and you don’t even really know when that started.

    I know that guilt. Recovering Catholic, here, so guilt is part of my gene pool. Anyway, I felt guilty about not being able to give my son so much attention, and I was afraid he’d start resenting his sister because of the many times I had to say, “I can’t get your milk right now because I’m feeding Anna,” and “After I’ve fed your sister.” The worst is the plaintive requests for me to play with him and sometimes I just have to say I can’t. The guilt sign is flashing over my house constantly with a giant neon sign pointing for all the world to see. Then yesterday, he hugged her and said, “I love my sister.”

    Kids are resilient and our first borns will adapt to the new schedule, and the second borns won’t know that they didn’t get as much attention as babies as the first borns did. Then they grow up together and your heart will explode. The end.

    Sorry for the novel. You’ve touched on some of my most raw nerve endings with this post. But I’m right here with you, going through the exact same things.

  107. Jennifer on March 3rd, 2008 8:32 am

    Raising my hand – I understand. XO

  108. breckgirl on March 3rd, 2008 9:46 am

    I get it, totally. We are planning to “try” for number two here shortly and ugh – I dread the thought of all this shit.

    My son is two right now and driving us batshit (we know all about NO NIGHT NIGHT RIGHT NOW) and I fully relate to resenting the man for “escaping.” This weekend my husband wanted to do some work from home and I “got to” take Wyatt to the mall – oh, whee! How fun – dragging him around after my sister-in-law, stuffing chicken tenders into his maw while he screamed about MY BA BOB (that’s “my Sponge Bob” for those not quite in the know). A woman offered me her 20% off coupons so I could “shop” and I fully realized right then that there is no such thing as “shopping” with a 2 year old – the mall really just serves as a big habi-trail for him to run around and expend some energy (it is still snowing here so outside is pretty nasty). Add another one? Not right now, sucka – it’s a good thing it take 9 months for the wee thing to bake in there – I’ll have more time to prepare myself (and stockpile a 2 year supply of Xanax). Anyway – I hear ya – hang in there.

    And hey – if you think your crying thing was weird, get this – I cried the other day when I finished a Turbo Jam DVD and Chalene was telling me how great I did. Man, I am a total nut job…not even premenstrual, just a sap.

    Hope your day today is wonderful and that you order that bottle holding apparatus suggested above.

  109. Kristin H on March 3rd, 2008 11:43 am

    Word, sister.

    My dark moments stand out clearly in my mind. With child #1, I was sitting on the couch, crying hysterically because my husband was leaving. To take a load of crap to the dump. TO THE DUMP. And I was stuck at home with a baby my my boob.

    With child #2, as she struggled and shrieked while to get away from me when I was trying to change a poopy diaper, I totally lost it. I started crying and screaming and thwapping the diaper on the floor, yelling, I JUST! (thwap) WANT! (thwap) TO CHANGE! (thwap) YOUR DIAPER! IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?!?!??? (thwapthwapthwapthwapthwap)

    Word.

  110. Daren on March 3rd, 2008 8:54 pm

    I love your honesty.

    And, Amen. Right there with you, baby.

    Also, the one arm for baby AND bottle does work. Just takes some practice.

  111. Where there’s a Willer… on March 4th, 2008 8:20 am

    [...] Anyway, thisis perfect. Except for the bit where she crawls into bed and reads a book. I don’t feel like I have the luxury of doing that. Plus I should really buy some new books. Or even join the library. [...]

  112. Chicken And Cheese Back In The Saddle on March 5th, 2008 10:20 am

    [...] It sounds like an easy assignment, but I’ve got this whole second-kid thing going on. I’m already tired, and I know from reading this and this and holy shit this that I’m in for some fresh hell when Shaggy is born. [...]

  113. amanda on March 5th, 2008 3:04 pm

    mrs. c led me to you – wish “my truth” could have been written as beautifully as yours. thanks for writing. thanks for sharing. thanks for understanding.

  114. Jessamyn on March 5th, 2008 3:38 pm

    This made me cry. My second kid’s not even born yet, and already parenting two (at this point, having the hormones of housing the second one in my body is counting, that’s how bad) is kicking my ASS, and I can’t tell you how many times I have just laid down my head and sobbed and felt like such a craptastic parent, and even worse, because I’m not appreciating what I’ve got, which is an AWESOME kid and a long-for pregnancy. I hope you have more of the highs, and that time goes faster on the crap and slower on the wonder.

  115. Jen on May 12th, 2008 7:15 pm

    I read this when it first went up, pregnant with my first. Now that he’s been here four weeks and I’m losing my shit, I came back for a little inspiration and encouragement. Thanks for showing me that I’m not alone. Seeing where you are today compared to where you were when you wrote this lets me know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

  116. More thoughts on staying home, etc. « incognitus scriptor on April 27th, 2010 11:57 am

    [...] yet, I am doing laundry and washing dogs and, obviously, blogging. We’re about to enter what Sundry referred to as the “the long dark tea-time of the stay-at-home-mom soul”. God is she [...]

  117. Devya Agarwal on March 23rd, 2014 11:59 pm

    HI,

    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    I am also a mother of 2 year old naughty daughter…….Almost in similar situation

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