My house is quiet for the first time since 7 am.
My 9-month old daughter is sleeping (finally), and hubby just went to bed. Super Bowl is over (Go Hawks!), and the SB requisite snacks have been packed up and the chili put in the fridge. We had an awesome family day: did some running around in order to get my girl used to sleeping and having bottles in the new stroller (travelling in 3 weeks…now or never!), and to shop for a new end table to replace my tippy, cloth-covered pedestal table that attracts my daughter like ants to honey. Dishes are done, dishwasher is running, and I am enjoying my –th glass of wine.
So why do I feel so defeated, so drained?
My baby is what all of us involved in the equine world would call an ‘easy keeper’. She never colicked, slept more or less well in her crib at about 3 months (through the night at about 2 months), is never really cranky (enough to complain about, anyway – I am aware of how shitty some new moms have it), is a good eater; all of her signs are obvious: tired, hungry, gassy, teething, etc., so I can pretty much guess what’s going on if she is a little off.
So why do I feel like a failure sometimes?
No matter if they are easy or difficult, being a mom is HARD. It’s chief cook and bottle washer, laundress, janitor, nursemaid, housewife, organizer, chief financial officer, scheduler, president of remembering everything always. There is never enough time, enough hands, or enough glasses of wine (trust me on that one) to make ANY of that a breeze.
I try really hard to keep my own negativity about how I am doing in check; I have kept her alive 9 months, how bad could I be doing?? But….on those relatively rare nights that she just won’t sleep/eat/burp/stop crying, I feel like the worst mother in the world. I KNOW I am not….but as a problem-solver by nature, it is really hard to walk away from the problem, once solved, without feeling like I just skated through by the skin of my teeth because I really had no idea what I was doing.
But that’s ok!!!! They literally do not come with manuals, so how are we to know that it’s the right time to sleep/burp/stop crying/rock/bring downstairs to Daddy/talk for a walk/walk away from?? We do get to know the cues, of course; if only they didn’t change the game plan as soon as we learned the plays.
So we just keep chugging along being Mommymachines, and wait patiently for the awesome rewards that come in the smiles, laughs, hugs, silences, and little milestones. It’s hard, but it’s totally worth it.