Oh man, this blog post has been a long time in the making. My computer recently broke so I ordered a new one only to receive a total lemon that wouldn’t even turn on right out of the box. Needless to say I returned it. My mom was generous enough to loan me her laptop since she doesn’t use it anymore while I continue to ponder which new computer I’m going to buy. I think I’ll have my husband choose one since I seem to have such bad luck with technology.
Anyway, that is one of many reasons I’m just now getting around to writing this post. I’ve written about this before & I’m sure I’ll write about it again, but there are days when I just don’t feel like I’m cut out for this whole parenting gig. Lately Rachel has had SO many meltdowns. And the worst of them are always with me. I am fully aware this is because she is most comfortable with me & is actually kind of “flattering,” but trust me, that is hard to remember when you’re getting kicked & screamed at by your own child.
On these “bad mom days” where I feel like I’m just barely surviving I constantly wonder how other moms survive with toddlers AND newborns. Is there something wrong with me that I can’t even begin to picture how I would tackle such a scenario? Do I just take everything too seriously? Do I let the crying & screaming get to me more than I should? The truth is I just don’t know.
Then there is this whole other phenomenon that makes me feel like a bad- or at least weird – mom. Everywhere I go I feel like I’m constantly hearing moms say “Oh, my baby is growing up, I’m so sad. I want them to stay little forever.” Meanwhile I’m over here like “I cannot WAIT till my child is old enough to have REAL conversations with me & to go places without having total meltdowns, to be able to really explore the world together.” Trust me I am enjoying where I am now but I look forward to the future & know I may well enjoy that even more. Does that make me crazy? Maybe it does because I feel like I’m really alone in this way of thinking.
Trust me, I love Rachel with my whole being. Trust me, there are things I enjoy about this stage of parenthood. But trust me, I also can’t help but wonder when is MY time to shine as a mom? I feel like interacting with babies & young children just comes so naturally to most women, whereas for me I feel like I’m fumbling about trying to speak a foreign language. On the other hand I feel much more natural with older children & teens. Does that mean that in a few years I’ll actually feel like I’m a good mom & not just flying by the seat of my pants? Or am I destined to always feel three steps behind?
I don’t know why I’m writing about this in a public space because I’m sure I’m opening myself up for judgment. For people to say “Oh, she isn’t grateful for being a mom.” “She should just shut up & enjoy it because she’ll miss this someday.” But if there is one thing I’ve learned as a mom it’s that I really don’t give a damn what other people think. After all, what’s easy for one mom is hard for another & what’s hard for one mom is easy for another.
On that note, the newborn stage was really hard for me, for multiple reasons. I’ve often said I can survive ANYTHING life throws at me since I survived that, & I still believe that. The longer I’ve been a mom the more confidence I have in myself which makes all the new challenges that much easier to handle. However, I must confess here lately Rachel’s tantrums have caused me to have fleeting moments of nostalgia for the newborn stage. But then I remember how tired I was back then & I say “Hell, no, at least she sleeps through the night now.”
But still this toddler stage is rough sometimes (who am I kidding?- it’s rough MOST of the time). Especially because Rachel is usually such an angel for other people. It’s like she saves all her crabbiness just for me. Sometimes people even say to me “I can’t believe she has these tantrums you talk about. She’s so sweet.” And of course I immediately want to scream because these people have NO CLUE what they’re talking about & no clue how much it hurts to hear that. They are as unhelpful & insensitive as the people who said “Oh you’ll miss this someday” when I was struggling so much in the newborn stage. They usually mean well & I appreciate that, but I really do wish people would stop offering up so many unhelpful comments to moms.
My life motto right now is “This too shall pass.” I constantly have to remind myself of all the other difficult stages I have survived as a mother- each of which at the time felt like it would last forever but didn’t- & know that this is just another phase, like all the others have been. And yes, someday maybe I will miss some things about this stage. But I have never been one to live in the past so somehow I doubt I’ll spend too much time feeling nostalgic about it.
Anyway, I’ve said all that to say this: If you’re a toddler mom & you’re struggling, you’re not alone. If you’re a newborn mom & you’re struggling, you’re not alone. Take a deep breath, listen to your favorite music, write a whiny blog post like I just did if you’re so inclined, & know that you can handle whatever life throws your way. You already have- so just keep trucking.