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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Swistle
14 years ago

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.

Swistle
14 years ago

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

Swistle
14 years ago

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

mandy
14 years ago

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

You put my feelings into words so beautifully!

workout mommy
14 years ago

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!

Melissa
Melissa
14 years ago

Holy crap – I’m right there with ya.

kim
kim
14 years ago

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”!!

b.
b.
14 years ago

Yeah, what Swistle said.

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

Pete
Pete
14 years ago

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

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
14 years ago

No, you don’t need to explain it.

Claire
14 years ago

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.

Maura
Maura
14 years ago

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

JennB
14 years ago

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.

Super Sarah
14 years ago

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.

beach
beach
14 years ago

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!!!!

Jennifer
14 years ago

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.

mixette
mixette
14 years ago

“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.

stephanie brown
stephanie brown
14 years ago

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 :)

michael
14 years ago

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?

Ginitag44
14 years ago

I get you.

Hugs.

G

Sarah Lena
14 years ago

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.

Sara Moon
14 years ago

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

Kristen
Kristen
14 years ago

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

the goddess anna
the goddess anna
14 years ago

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

(((hugs)))

Sarah
Sarah
14 years ago

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

I want the baby beer hat…

becky
14 years ago

yes! exactly what you said! exactly!

Claudia
14 years ago

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.

ben
ben
14 years ago

Thank you for this, beautiful writing.

MissAnna
MissAnna
14 years ago

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.

Mary O
Mary O
14 years ago

I know. I SO know.

helen
14 years ago

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.

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
14 years ago

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.

Mandy
Mandy
14 years ago

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.

Jem
Jem
14 years ago

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.

Carley
Carley
14 years ago

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.

Christine
14 years ago

I get it. Totally.

Christina
14 years ago

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.

Shelly
14 years ago

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

Melissa
Melissa
14 years ago

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.

Anya  Paull
14 years ago

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!

Rayne
14 years ago

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.

Liz in Australia
Liz in Australia
14 years ago

Yup.

That is all.

Violet
14 years ago

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!)

Ashley
14 years ago

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.

clarabella
14 years ago

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.

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

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

Sonia
Sonia
14 years ago

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!

Liz
Liz
14 years ago

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.

mrsgryphon
mrsgryphon
14 years ago

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!

Tracy
14 years ago

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?

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