Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Motherhood: Perception vs Reality

I once thought that every night I would bathe my sweet little baby, get him ready for bed, read him a book, feed him a bottle, and rock him gently to sleep. Breathing in his sweet freshly bathed smell. Listening to him breathe.  Thinking of all of our blessings.  And some days it's like that. Some nights the stars align and everything is timed perfectly and we all float through bedtime like a dream. Other nights...those real nights that really give you your Mama card...he loses his shit the second the soap touches his body, but he's thrown up on himself ALL day so he has to have a bath. He screams bloody murder the entire time, I rush through it, forgetting to wash most parts and attempt to wrestle him into his pjs while he attempts to dive bomb off the changing table.
 
I can never figure out what kind of night it is going to be, so it is hard to prepare for the chaos. The reality is that I never know what each day, night, and overnight are going to be.
 
Will he be happy today? Will he eat? Will he nap well? Will the bath be a struggle? Will he go right to sleep or will it be a battle ending more in my tears than his?
 
There have been many times where I have taken my sweet baby, kissed his soft chubby cheeks, handed him to my husband, and walked away to go have a good cry. There definitely are those time where I have my shit together, but there are also those moments when I feel like the ultimate failure. Oh, the joys of motherhood. I never thought I would experience those ultimate highs and those terrible, crushing lows.
 
And I have a good baby.
 
Honestly.
 
This kid is really good compared to most of the babies I have come into contact with in my various years of child care.
 
I don't know how people do it with babies with colic, who don't sleep, who don't eat, who are just generally fussy babies. I keep reminding Alex that we need to keep it together because this is nothing. I'm secretly petrified that if we act too exasperated now, we will be reminded how good we had it with our next child. Which honestly makes me questions whether or not we should have a next child... but that's a whole other post.
 
I guess I didn't expect it to all be sunshine and roses, but I also didn't expect it to be so absolutely  gut-wrenchingly exhausting. It gets easier, sure. I started writing this post I don't know how many months ago, but now things are already different than that first paragraph.
 
We got past the bath battle. Now he loves it. Unless he has reached his last straw of the day, bath time has become quiet enjoyable. He plays, and splashes, and knows exactly where to find his rubber duck every single time. It's part of the day that I cherish. The same baby who acted like that the Johnson & Johnson "no tears" soap was really some sort of flesh melting acid, actually enjoys it now. Things change.
 
I try to remind myself that this is a season. Just when I think I have my mommy shit together something changes. Always. I get his naps down, and he changes them. I start counting on them, and he drops one. The baby that slept through the night, now wakes up and wants to play for two hours. He's already grown out of that one. Everything is a season. That's what helps me get through the days.
 
Except... after his sweet eyes have closed for the night, and his breathing had slowed, his little hand still holding tightly to my thumb... I think... it's only a season. These days are fleeting.
 
I remember those nights where the only way to get him to sleep was to sleep with him on my chest while lying on the couch. I would have paid big money to be able to sleep in my own bed. He doesn't do that anymore. And I would pay big money for him to sleep on me like that. Now that we worked so hard to get him to sleep on his own, teach him to fall asleep by himself, like the books tell you to do, those snuggle times are so few and far between.
 
This kid is on the go. If he's sitting still, he's exhausted. That's the only time. And it's usually only for a second until his gets his twelfth wind and then he's off crawling to try and flip the dog's food bowl.
 
Now I treasure those moments that he falls asleep during his last bottle. It happens more often then not, but I know if he is still awake after I need to put him in his crib, or else he thinks it is play time. But those times when he falls asleep. Snuggled right into me like he used to. Easily three times the size that he was when we first brought him home from the hospital. But still my baby boy. I look at his little face. I brush his hair with my hand. I kiss those chubby cheeks. And breathe in the smell of him. For this is only just a season.
 
And that's the crazy part about motherhood. A post you started months ago because you were so absolutely exasperated. That you continued one night because you found yourself feeling the same thing. You sit and write your heart out, talking about how hard it is, how it is always changing, exhausting. And just like that, you are remembering those crazy nights holding your brand new baby, and those nights holding your not-so-new baby, and the tears are already flowing because you can't even begin to feel a tiny thimble amount of the love that you have for that little guy.
 
That's motherhood. It's a season. Always changing. Exhausting. Stressful. Exasperating. Raw. Emotional. All-consuming. Amazing. Exhilarating. Loving. Magical. All in one. All in a moment. All in a season.

4 comments:

  1. Amen to all of that! Before having a baby you think of all the good. Some people mention the no sleep thing but no one mentions a 6 month old can have a temper tantrum! Most times I just remember the good days but there are some dandy tough days too! xo

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  2. Ps- What happened to your fitness blog? It wouldnt let me access it yesterday.

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  3. aww this is making me miss my little baby. There really is no better feeling than a sleeping baby laying on you chest or head resting on your shoulder.

    Do you give him a bath every night?!

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  4. I have a feeling I'll be relating to this very, very soon. I think it's symptomatic of the "grass is greener" syndrome where you want all these things when he's not doing them, and then he does them and you miss them and want them back. It's hard when you're bleary-eyed and bogged down with overtiredness to appreciate those moments for what they are, but just always always remember that you are doing the absolute best job you can. You have a happy, thriving baby and sometimes you just need to hear that you're a good mom and you're doing a good job - and you are :)

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