Peddling Hard and Going Nowhere

October 14, 2008? It seems that maybe October 2008 was the last time I was alive, according to this blog. It's been an absolutely amazing year, with both ups and downs, and I have not once blogged about any of it. Nothing. Not a word. Like it never existed.

With the birth of my first child (September 2009), I've realized that these days will fly by quickly and I better get them documented before they shrivel into the earth.

Let's back it up here - with my pregnancy this past year, I realized that as much as we wish time to go by faster, it will eventually go by and we look back and say "Why didn't I slow down a bit?" I'm thinking that about my pregnancy. It's been over for three months and I can't tell you everything about it anymore. I don't remember a great deal about it, actually. I only very vaguely remember JJ moving around inside me like it was some kind of dream - the very thing that was the most exciting about being pregnant in the first place. It's like your brain resets into nothing having to ever do with being pregnant. Strange but true, this may be nature's way of swindling women into having more children. If it weren't this way, the human race would quickly die out and we would never have the kind of entertainment that we have from shows like "Jon and Kate plus Eight" or "18 Kids and Counting." Heated debates over phenomenon such as "Octomom" would never exist. What a tragedy that would be.

So let's talk about JJ. He's an awesome kid. He's growing faster than I ever thought possible. I'm thinking that all of those childbirth classes were a waste of my time, because the things I need to know most were never offered. "Photographing Your Baby" or "Functioning on Two Hours of Sleep a Week" were convienently left off the list of must-take baby prep courses. What a jip.

On a more serious note, during the time that I was searching for classes to take on baby birthing/rearing/bathing/carrying, I never once saw a class on a few very important topics, such as Postpartum Depression or The Effects of A Baby on Your Marriage. I think that someone should step up to the plate and put these real world scenarios out there so that moms-to-be can be prepared. I wish I was more prepared. Since I'm not much of a reader (surprised?), baby books haven't been much help to me. I want to go to a class where I can ask questions, listen to people talk, and see examples. I'm a much more visual learner, and that can be detrimental when you have a child and are trying to learning everything about it.

Yep. I'm struggling a bit.

It's hard for moms to admit that they struggle. New moms even have a hard time calling themselves "Mom." It's such an adjustment to a new life that some days, I'm pretty sure that I don't know my own phone number. But I still try to do it all, which is another detrimental factor.

Why do moms try to hard to do everything themselves? It seems to me that every mom I talk to does the same thing. What on earth is wrong with us and why do we think this way? It's like getting on a bike in the middle of the ocean - the harder you work, the more you realize that you're not going anywhere. Pretty soon... you're going to get exhausted. Then what?

1 comment:

Kate said...

What wonderful honesty! I imagine that if you're able to admit that you're "struggling a bit" that maybe you're struggling a lot. But you know what? That's normal and to be expected.

I struggled immensely when little Clyde was born. I had never spent much time with babies until I had my own. I had never been so angry at or resented my husband before little Clyde came along. I literally wanted to throw plates at him and had to physically stop myself from doing so on several occasions. When little Clyde was 6 months old, I finally hit bottom enough to go see a counselor about how to cope better. I was working half-time and doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and other household chores. And you know what she told me? Just the same things everyone else had been saying: it doesn't all have to get done. Leave the dirty dishes in the sink and have a cup of tea. It's okay if every night you have to fish the clothes you want for tomorrow from the hamper and wash them just so you have something to wear. If the floor is covered in toys, just pick your way around them to the couch and sit down to watch TV. Sometimes you have to hear it from a stranger to really believe it.

It was really hard for me, but I worked on letting go of perfection. I also took an hour after work several times a week while Clyde was at daycare (which seemed like high mommy-treason at the time) to work out. As time passed, things got easier, and I was able to keep things more like I wanted them to be. This season of your life will pass, so my advice is just to focus on what absolutely must get done each day. You and the baby must be fed; you and the baby must get as much sleep as possible; you must go to work; you must have clean bottles to send with JJ to daycare, but that doesn't mean you also have to clean the pan you cooked the hamburger helper in. Don't criticize yourself if the house isn't clean or if your husband has to recycle his underwear one day :) or the dishes aren't done. And most of all, when you feel you just can't handle it, call a girlfriend who's been there so she can assure you that it's okay to let it go. I'm always available ;)

I hope that sharing some of this with you will make you feel normal (and not just pissed that I left a really, really long comment!) I promise you that coping gets easier as you go along and that there are so many fun and rewarding times ahead!


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