The never-ending pacing and rocking: “Rock-a-bye baby, just close your eyes and sleep!” She responds with a scream that pierces right through me. Just when I want to sit down at last... to read, to watch TV,
to live the normal life of a grown-up who just wants to have a quiet evening and unwind.
“I love you, honey,” I think to myself an hour later when she is finally fast asleep, and I am gently rubbing her back, “but I don’t like you very much right now.”
Do you sometimes feel that way? Do you ever wonder whether this whole parenthood thing was really a good idea?
It’s scary, right? You might think you’re a terrible mother to have such thoughts. That terrible mother who wants things to be the same way they were before.
No dark circles under your eyes...
I feel you. It scares me too… I have days like that.
It happens the most when I want to have a minute to myself, but these needy little hands are everywhere I turn.
When we finally get over the sniffles just to start another round of teething
– a never-ending story!
Or when I daydream about going to the movies, an art exhibit or a romantic dinner for two, but then realize we have a 10-month-old baby, and the only fairy tales happening now are right before bedtime.
I was naive enough to think things would be different. Everyone around me has kids, and they seem to handle things just fine.
They happily chat about baby’s first foods and gassy tummies, they visit their friends, and post happy family selfies on Facebook. This is not me. Making mashed carrots, wiping mouths and being all smiles just doesn’t come naturally to me. Neither does that feeling of fulfillment everyone says comes with motherhood. That never did make its arrival somehow.
Now I finally understand that I’m different. Now, when it’s too late.
“Relish every single minute! They grow up so fast! This is the most rewarding part of your life!” – I keep hearing from sentimental mothers of grown-up children. It makes me think: “What’s wrong with me?”
Am I the only one who doesn’t find changing diapers and sleeping three hours a day the most rewarding time of their lives? Or might these moms have forgotten what it was really like?
I love my baby... But I also love to sleep, spend evenings drinking wine, and wear spotless, snow-white shirts.
Some people might call me selfish when I daydream about those sweet, carefree days from before.
Well, now I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. I’m one of many. We’re at playgrounds, moms’ groups, friends' houses and grocery store lines. You’ll find us in books, on blogs, in Facebook groups or just chatting with friends over a cup of coffee.
Stories of women who think differently, yet still alike. Mamas who, just like me and maybe even you, miss the person they used to be. Before.
Not someone’s wife, not someone's mom... Just themselves.
And that’s why I want to tell you...
sometimes I’m so exhausted that I could fall asleep standing up. I cry over a burnt dinner while no one around me understands why.
I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back at me. I can’t button up my favorite pair of jeans and refuse to buy a new pair.
I yell and scold and then regret the possible consequences of my irreversible parenting mistakes.
I sometimes have no idea how to go on. I stare off into space, trying to remember who I am.
I think about what on earth has become of my life and whether this whole thing is actually worth it.
I find myself tempted to tear this little human to pieces... Only to forgive her everything a minute later when she smiles at me.
I keep wondering if I’ll ever have those romantic and intimate nights back. And I worry my husband will have enough one day and start cheating on me.
I try so hard, and still fail all too often.
I sometimes feel like nothing goes the way it should, and I am the worst mama in the entire universe.
And I still worry sometimes that no one feels the way I do.
Full of fear and doubt. Going through the daily trials of accepting my darkest sides. Sides I feel I shouldn’t even have.
But I do have them.
So on days like these, when I really can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I think of my mom. I remember the story she told me about how, as a baby, I would spend my days crying. She was so desperate that once she thought about leaving me on someone’s doorstep and running away. The same mom who years later would spend hours by the window wondering where I was and if something had happened to me. My very own affectionate and loving mom!
That freaked me out at first. But when I think about it now, I actually feel relieved. When my mom told me her secret, I realized that even the best moms can sometimes feel lost. And instead of being mad at my mom, I started to appreciate and respect her even more. For not being scared. For opening up to me with a story like this.
My Zora is still little, but maybe I could confide in her as well. Maybe the next time I have a hard time getting her to sleep. When I am pacing the room, trying desperately to calm her down and rock her to sleep. Or when she finally falls asleep and the battlefield temporarily falls silent. I’ll sit next to her, stroke her hair and whisper:
“I love you, honey… I just don’t know how to handle this right now. I’m really exhausted... And also angry. No, not at you, but at myself. Because I don’t know what to do. Because I don’t understand what you need.
And I’m really worried this will somehow harm you. I’m worried I’m a terrible mom who has no idea how to do this right.
So please forgive me.
I’m really doing my best, you know? And although you might not see it, the only thing I want is for both of us to be happy.
I truly am sorry. We can both learn together, what do you say? Just please be patient with me – it might take a while. And I’ll try to be patient, too. I promise!”
– Eva, mom to 10-month-old Zora
So you made it all the way here and feel a bit sad because you recognize something of yourself? Do you also struggle to be a partner to your child? Are you dead tired, and your little one just won’t fall asleep and give you some well-deserved down time? If you want, you might try the same thing Eva did. Just SAY it. Whisper everything that troubles you. Even if they are sleeping.
No matter how little they are, they can hear you. When you open up and tell them what’s weighing you down, maybe they’ll feel better too.