I might be writing this post for selfish reasons – to give myself a pep talk. To remind myself that every day won’t be so hard. That I won’t spend every day crying. That this won’t last forever. But I also know there are plenty of other moms out there right now that are probably feeling the same way I am. So I have decided to put it all out there for the universe to read. Again. Because I guess that is kind of my thing now.
My second son, Simon, was born exactly four weeks ago. I am currently on maternity leave from my full-time job. I also have a three year old little boy, Henry.
To be 100% honest, maternity leave was going pretty well for me. Yes, I was exhausted. I was hormonal. I was slightly irritated by the fact my toddler was whining so much. But I had a great support system. My husband, a teacher, was on summer break. My mom, also a teacher, was on summer break. So when I needed a nap or a breath of fresh air, it was only a phone call away. I had friends visiting to meet the baby and people bringing food over and everyone helped make it much easier.
Then last week, my husband and mom both went back to work. The baby wasn’t so new anymore and the visitors stopped coming so much.
Monday went well. Normal day. Then Tuesday rolled around. It was my birthday. Thirty-three years old. It was also Henry’s first day of three year old preschool. And of course I had a newborn on top of it all.
I should have been excited right? A birthday and a milestone for my little man?? Nope. The hormones were on high alert.
Henry cried when I dropped him off at preschool. I had to pull the car over after I got out of the parking lot so I could cry. I picked him up later to find out he had an accident on his first day, which broke my heart.
I sobbed almost all day long. It don’t know if it was because the baby was restless and didn’t want to sleep. Or maybe because I felt guilty that Henry had an accident on his first day of school. Or that I was just plain exhausted. Coffee wasn’t cutting it. So I just sat on the couch and let the tears flow.
I know, it sounds absolutely ridiculous. But I guess I needed to let it all out. I let myself sit on the couch and cry into my third cup of coffee for probably four straight hours. I texted my mother-in-law and she offered to come get the baby. I said no at first. I needed to pull it together. But then I realized I needed a break. I needed rest. I needed to worry about me for a couple hours.
So as a birthday present to myself, I took a nap. And then I took a shower. Crazy how something that small made a huge difference. I still didn’t feel like me. That will take a few more weeks. But I was no longer a hot sobbing mess.
After I got some rest and washed my hair for the first time in who knows how long, I had to remind myself that this stage won’t last forever. I had a bad day. And I will have more bad days. But there will be good days too. Hormones and babies and toddlers and birthdays that make you feel old will do crazy things to you.
So if you are reading this on the couch on your cell phone at 3 am while feeding your newborn and you are absolutely exhausted, just remember, it won’t be like this forever. If you are reading this hiding in the bathroom from your toddler because he or she hasn’t let you be alone for the last week and a half, just remember, it won’t be like this forever.
I know they say to treasure these times. That the days are long but the years are short. And you know what, sometimes the days are long. Really freaking long. Because you haven’t gotten more than two hours of sleep. Because you don’t remember the last time you took an uninterrupted shower. Because parenting is exhausting and so much harder than I personally ever imagined.
It’s okay if you don’t treasure every single day with your little ones. Because being a parent isn’t easy. And sometimes your kids can drive you absolutely bat shit crazy. So walk away. Lock yourself in the bathroom. Let the baby cry for ten minutes so you can go in another room and take a breather. Go for a walk. Let your mom or neighbor or whoever offers watch the kiddo for a couple hours.
We devote our entire lives to our children. It’s okay to take a break. You deserve it. And just remember, it won’t be like this forever.
Until Next Time,
I read a post of yours on motherly that Facebook linked me to and it was so spot on that I had to check out your blog. I have a three year old and a 4 month old and yes to all of this. I read on motherly your post about having a two week old and a three year old and I was right there. It is still very hard, but I have to say after about 6-8 weeks it did get remarkably easier for us :). It is so nice to not feel alone :).
Thank you so much! That gives me hope!! It is nice not to feel alone. That’s why I do this!!
Thank you for writing this! I have a 2 month old and 18 month old and that sums up life right now. Nice to know it is nothing we are doing wrong and others feel the same.
Not doing anything wrong!! I’m glad I could help!!
This is beautiful, Jamie and packed with truth. I used to lie outside my children’s door and cry about losing my patience that day. It was like a bad movie of mom fails that were hard to pause. Turns out I had PPD but didn’t realize it because it showed up more like anger and anxiety than actual depression.
Now that my big boys are 15, 13 and 11 (and we got brave enough to even add a fourth to the mix), the challenges of those early years are dimming. (but not enough to have a fifth!)
You are so right about needing to care for ourselves. It is the most selfLESS, lifegiving thing we can do. And we all know how a Mom’s happiness has ripple effects to the whole family.
And suddently you will have big kids and be writing articles like this….https://www.lightlyfrayed.com/parenting-teenagers-can-be-lonely/ or if you would like a lighter read….https://www.lightlyfrayed.com/confessions-warped-sense-of-humour/ Solidarity to Moms!
Hmmm…a nap does sound lovely right now!
haha, yes! You hit it on the head. Man is motherhood hard, esp. in the beginning. That’s where my blog comes from, my early motherhood thoughts and frustrations! It just doesn’t end up how you think it might but yes it’s not always like that. Walks always help. I remember when I was 33 I had my 2 little ones and it was tough. But now they actually help me a bit (being 8 and 6) and I have a third and it’s not as bad. I know exactly what to expect. That’s why I share things that I hope will help other moms. Hope to follow more of your posts.