Saturday, July 12, 2014

Enjoy it now

What is there to do, really, other than just accept that every day I will hold my child for a few hours while he naps and I will get up around 5:30 a.m. every day? It won't last forever, and as I'm being commanded, I ought to ENJOY THIS NOW, because these moments are fleeting.

Which I get. I've understood it from the first second I saw my boy's little alien eyeballs blinking back at me. When he was just a newborn, my mom gave me a 6-month outfit for him to wear later, when he would fit into it, and I was almost angry when I saw it. THIS IS SOMETHING A BOY WEARS, NOT A BABY. He mustn't grow, mustn't, mustn't, and then he just kept doing it and now he's 7 months and wears 9 month outfits because he's pretty much going to be an enormous human being.

So yes, I'm enjoying this now, even though I average five hours of broken up sleep a night and I've seen way more sunrises than I'd like. People talk about how they never understood how they could love something as much as they love their children, and my theory is: When you look at your kid, it's like looking at the best, most deserving, untainted part of yourself. It's pure narcissism, is what it is. It's all the chances you ever wanted to truly wipe the slate clean and begin anew. Pure love and trust pours off babies' little bodies, and it's pretty impossible to respond with anything other than utter adoration.

And I do adore this kid, so much. Sometimes I feel a physical need to just crack open my chest and store him in there for a while so I can REALLY HOLD HIM, every part of him, compress his little body with my righteous new mom love. I would bite him, hard, if it didn't hurt him, because sometimes you just want to bite something you love, hard.

So it's funny how sometimes this feels like a merry-go-round that's spinning around at 90 miles an hour. Get up, feed, dress, play, clean, nap, feed, nap, feed, nap, feed. I wonder at myself, my Groundhog Day-edness, and whether it's wise to just continue neglecting housework, exercise, this blog, my other writing, the sorry-ass state of my saggy-ass mom jeans. I read somewhere the reason 1950s housewives could do it all -- have kids and keep a house and feed their families -- was they just put their kids in playpens all day and got shit done. Is that what I should be doing?

It's easy for me to get stuck in ruts because I am, at heart, a surly hermit. I'd normally accept any excuse to stay in my home, alone, all day. But, you may be surprised to discover, even surly hermits have their limits, and their tiny little pink hearts sometimes even crave adult human interaction. When the CHOICE to be a hermit becomes more of a necessity, this particular hermit becomes somewhat more surly than usual.

It's extraordinarily difficult for me to ask for help. I just never got any good at it. And I'm a fairly terrible friend, as I have an aversion to talking on the phone and I will rarely be the one to suggest a girl's night out or anything fun, truthfully. (See above re: surly hermit status) But, I've realized I need help. Ooh, it hurts my tiny heart to admit it, but I do. And I will need to ask for it, as people so rarely are gifted with extra sensory perception. I will need to call people on that dad-blasted phone of mine, and beg them to come hold my child so that I can clean the bathroom or write or go buy some clothing from this decade. Or I will beg them to sit with me and converse as normal adult humans sometimes do. Maybe we will even eat a meal of food. It's a little overwhelming to think about.

I don't want to do it. I really don't, a whole lot. A big part of me keeps saying I should be able to do this. I'm perhaps the forty bajillionth woman to have a child on this planet, so it's hardly anything special to raise a child. And I wanted this boy so badly, it makes me feel guilty to sense anything but gratitude when it comes to the situation I'm in.

But this temporary, "fleeting" time, while flashing by at 90 miles an hour, has been really difficult. Isolating, frustrating, monotonous, crazy-making. I hesitate to admit it, but I believe many mothers feel this way at times. I believe it is normal, and I believe that because our villages have dissipated, it's up to us to rebuild them around ourselves in our times of need. I've never called upon my village until now, and now, I am calling.


  1. I have been you -- a young baby who will not sleep, feeling isolated and like I was not doing enough. When my son was nine months old, I had a whole room in my house that was simply junk because I could not find the time to clean everything. It did not get cleaned out until he was three.

    All I can say is don't be down on yourself. Having your first baby is kind of like having a bomb go off in your life; coping with that while chronically very sleep deprived is very very hard. I promise you, it does get easier. And much quicker than you think.

    If you think everyone else is coping better, remember that you only see 1/10 of their truth.

    Hang in there. He will sleep more, and so will you, and when you do, and as he gets more independent, things will just happen. You will realize the bathroom is clean, and you will sit down and write. This is totally normal and totally fine and it is NOT forever.

    (Note I'm not telling you to enjoy this. Sure, try and find some joy each day. But just telling yourself to enjoy it doesn't acknowledge how hard this can be. It IS hard. But it can also be happy. And it will not always be like this, for better or for worse!)