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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Amy
Amy
14 years ago

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!

Rebecca
Rebecca
14 years ago

“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.

mamma knows
14 years ago

“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 :)

Allie
Allie
14 years ago

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.

Nancy
Nancy
14 years ago

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!

Caitlin
Caitlin
14 years ago

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.

Marie Green
14 years ago

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

JMH
JMH
14 years ago

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 :)

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

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!

laura
laura
14 years ago

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!

rebecca
14 years ago

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…

McWriter
14 years ago

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!

Danell
Danell
14 years ago

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!

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

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

sooboo
sooboo
14 years ago

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

Jennifer
Jennifer
14 years ago

Sounds like somebody needs a Fuckit Bucket!

Seriously though, I think you are amazing.

Hugs and a Skinny Cow to you.

Karl
Karl
14 years ago

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.

Anna
14 years ago

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!!

Carol
14 years ago

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

one feisty mama
14 years ago

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.

Bunny
14 years ago

I have been right there before.

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

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.

Matt
14 years ago

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

Stephanie
Stephanie
14 years ago

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

Stephanie
Stephanie
14 years ago

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!!

Stephanie
Stephanie
14 years ago

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!!

Jenn D
14 years ago

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.

Tammy
Tammy
14 years ago

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.

andi
14 years ago

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”.

Alyson
Alyson
14 years ago

Amen Sistah!

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

willikat
14 years ago

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.

Ashley B
Ashley B
14 years ago

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.

Katie
Katie
14 years ago

that is EXACTLY how I feel TODAY.

Buckeye Mommy
Buckeye Mommy
14 years ago

Yes. Exactly.

Jess
14 years ago

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

Anna
Anna
14 years ago

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.

April
April
14 years ago

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.

Christina
14 years ago

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!

Lindy
14 years ago

hmmm and I’m seriously considering doing this again.

anna
anna
14 years ago

I get it.

mrs. chicken
14 years ago

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.

Brenda
Brenda
14 years ago

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 ;-)

Anne
Anne
14 years ago

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!

Becky
Becky
14 years ago

amen!

Kari
Kari
14 years ago

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.

Mnerva
Mnerva
14 years ago

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.

Brooke
Brooke
14 years ago

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!!!

FishyGirl
14 years ago

Indeed. You pegged it.

Childsplayx2
14 years ago

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!

Amie
14 years ago

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!)