Thursday, May 1, 2014

Struggling with Motherhood

To say that motherhood has been an easy transition for me would be a complete lie. But I did think it would be easier, or at least less hard, than it has been. Of course the first 2 months or so were really rough with Felicity's eating issues, refusal of nursing, and medical stuff we were dealing with. But even when pumping and feeding every 2-2.5 hours began to feel like the norm, I've still been struggling to basically do anything but care for her. And I know lots of people say "that's all you SHOULD be doing!", and I get that. But I guess I had this idea in my head that by the time my baby was a few months old, I would have it more together. I didn't picture the house not getting cleaned for weeks on end. I can keep it tidy, but not actually CLEAN which drives me insane. I didn't imagine the same clean laundry sitting there 4 days later waiting to be folded. I didn't picture her idyllic nursery looking more like a storage unit. And I didn't think in my wildest of dreams that I still wouldn't have it together enough to cook dinner. But there you have it; that's my life right now. And no one else seems to be bothered by it but me. But I'm really bothered by it. I like order and routines and schedules. I'm used to feeling like I have everything under control. The norm for me is having a to do list and knocking it out in one afternoon. So having 8 million things to get done and accomplishing approximately none of them as the baby cries while I'm pumping for the 6th time that day feels very out of control and disconcerting. I know that I need to accept this as my new normal, at least for a while. I know this is what people are referring to when they talk about their life in "seasons". But it's going to take me a while to get to a place of acceptance, of not beating myself up for the house looking like a mess, of not feeling guilty for being on the 10th week of eating freezer food. This is a part of motherhood that people seem to not talk about until you're in it, and then they're all telling you how normal it is. And I get that we don't want to scare people off who are considering having kids, but I think it would have been much more helpful to expect more of this in advance. I sort of imagined life just falling into place somewhere around the 6 week time frame and I'm seeing that it will probably be many more months before I can even clean the house to my standard. I know in the end I'll remember cuddling my baby and not that the floors are dirty. I know that. I'm working to embrace that and luckily my husband is nothing but supportive. He constantly responds to my distressed texts with "Take care of you and baby girl. Don't worry about the rest". Oh and "drink water". :) Because he just knows me that well. He is gone up to 12 hours a day and doesn't bat an eye at having to come home to another microwaved meal, laundry that isn't done, or to me handing him the baby for basically the rest of the evening.

I love Felicity more than life itself and I'm so happy to have her. I have way more fun and good times with her than I do bad, so please don't think I'm sitting here depressed day in and day out because that's not at all accurate. I just don't want to only post happy posts and pictures, and pretend that I'm floating through this. I also want to share with others who might be struggling but only see the prettied up posts of people who appear to have it all together. I'm over all generally happy; I'm just still working on getting used to this challenging, yet rewarding, phase of life!


9 comments:

  1. I think most of the time people aren't withholding the chaos of the first few months from you, but they truly, honestly forget. I remember dealing with similar things when my first was 3-4 mos old, and I called a friend who had a 1.5-2yo. When I was complaining about it, she said, "oh, yeah, my son did that, too. It got better, maybe around 4-6 mos, but I can't really remember." The face that she couldn't really remember even a year or so later was really reassuring to me that it really does get a lot better. And here we are, expecting #3 later this month, so clearly it must work out if we're doing it for a third time . . .

    Also, it took about 3 mos for any semblance of "a new normal" after our 1st, about 3 days after the second, and not sure yet after the third.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true! The insanity of her first few weeks is already sort of a distant memory for me, so I can see how all of this will be forgotten in a few months/years.

      Delete
  2. I don’t think it is so much that mothers don’t want to scare others off so much that, not only is it not the part you want to remember, it isn’t the part that sticks out in my mind. I mean, I’m in my 6th pregnancy now, and I hardly remember any of my 9th months because, while I’m always completely miserable in my 9th month, once I get through labor and hold that baby, I forget most of it.

    I remember it taking me about 6 months to feel like I had my footing with my first. I vaguely remember getting a lot of take out, being embaressed to nurse in front of a priest, and nothing being very clean. I mainly remember feeling awkward and frustrated and even irritated at my husband who was doing so many things I felt I should be doing. I don’t think it is a secret, but it isn’t the part we prefer to remember. I like the pictures of her sleeping on me best, or smiling on all fours in her crib.

    I will say, take it as you will, I also don’t remember it as my most difficult “season”. Now mind you I’m pregnant with baby #6 and my oldest is only 8, so it probably wouldn’t apply to everyone. But it was baby 2-3 where I had to learn not to get so stressed out, not to lose my patience so easily and to look at things in perspective. I wasn’t going to win every battle and I had to learn how to adjust to that, especially when I was so outnumbered. I remember that time as more difficult because I don’t remember me learning it in *only* 6 months and because now it didn’t just effect me but these little people who needed me so much and deserved so much better than I gave them. A friend of mine told me then that I was “in the trenches”… I just wish she’d told me there are different kinds of trenches. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember you saying on another of my posts that it took you about 6 months and I do try to remind myself of that often. I know she's still really, really young and I'm still a very new mom. It's just hard to think of that when the house looks like a cyclone came through ;). I love that... different kinds of trenches.

      Delete
    2. I love order and cleanliness too. It is hard for me to see the house a disaster, but it is even more frustrating to keep cleaning the same things that become a mess 15 minutes later. I’ve actually had to compromise where I will pick up the living room to make sure I have some space that keeps me sane, but the playroom I won’t clean up - that is their responsibility. I know it is a bit different for me now than for you now, but maybe just focus on having one room, maybe the room you spend the most time in, clean so you can have some peace when you are in it even if the whole house isn’t up to snuff? :)

      Delete
  3. Oh my, I feel like I could've written this! Especially when Aaron was refusing to nurse, every day felt like such an uphill battle--it still does sometimes, 6 1/2 months in, and I also find myself wondering when I'll ever shower again and things like that. But, God is good. I can completely identify with your feelings of complete love mixed with being completely overwhelmed, and I love your posts, Stacy, because you're so honest. I've been praying for you; enjoy the weekend =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speaking of nursing, I have a blog update coming very soon! :) Thank you; I try to be honest so I don't just have this record of a pretty life that didn't really happen that way, you know?

      Delete
  4. OK - at the risk of upsetting you and all your younger readers, my generation felt that as long as baby was fed and dry and not being stuck by a diaper pin, that it wouldn't kill them to cry so I could get some things accomplished. I'm not saying it's easy - I'm not saying it's ideal -- but I did that w/all 3 of you and I think you've all turned out great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I don't feel comfortable letting her cry it out, but it's not even crying that's an issue. It's general taking care of her mixed with the pumping/feeding/nursing routine and normal (though it doesn't feel like it to me) adjustment to having an infant and trying to run a house. I don't think she cries any more than any other baby at this point, which is nice!

      Delete