I can't really get into all the ways I am screwing up motherhood. Just know that for someone who has read an absurd number of parenting books, you would think I'd taken a holy vow to do exactly the opposite of what was written in each one. I'm not, like, shooting heroin while the baby plays unsupervised in a bucket of water or anything, but it is fair to say I do not have the best handle on a number of parenting aspects.
So I spend a fair amount of time wandering in public in my saggy mom jeans, wilting under the scathing gazes of superior mommies. Or the scathing gazes I perceive from these women. These beautiful, thin, stylish women who seem to have avoided the amazing hair loss I am still experiencing and definitely do not have a deeply, deeply disturbing relationship with milky way candy bars.
I do not know why these women, who have children the same age or younger than my kid, have it so together. Why their thighs are so skinny. How they have time to apply their makeup so expertly.
I assume their children sleep angelically for multiple naps every day and snooze without a peep for 12 hours every night. Nary a shadow can be seen beneath their eyes, which it goes without saying are definitely not bloodshot.
Yesterday I decided to visit a blog I hadn't seen in several months. I knew the blogger had had a child and was curious about how it was going. I really, really should have known better. The woman already leads a sort of charmed life. For starters, she makes a living off her food blog and is a willowy blonde yoga instructor. Her pregnancy had gone off without a hitch and she spent most of it hiking, doing yoga, eating extraordinarily nutritious food and generally looking like the most gorgeous pregnant woman alive. (I, on the other hand, looked like I'd been injected with chemo drugs and got a bad nose job)
So naturally, this woman's baby is enormously fat and at five months weighs more than my 11 month old. And yeah, I'm jealous her baby is fat. She's never had a doctor peer down at her and interrogate her about her breast feeding techniques and never had to wonder if her kid is getting enough calories.
And naturally, she is thin and sporting a lustrous head of hair and talking about all the dates she and her husband go on. At this point I began to feel a slight hint of murderous rage.
And then, naturally, her baby has slept 12 hours a night since he was 15 weeks old. And he takes "two good naps every day." This is the part when my left eyelid began to twitch uncontrollably. I turned to my husband and said -- If there is a God, this woman's next child will be straight from Hell.
And then I admitted: I am not a very nice person.
And my husband said: No, you are not.
That is not to say I feel my child was sent to me by The Devil. He is actually a very charming, hilarious, adorable boy in every way except for one -- sleep! And it happens that lack of sleep affects every other aspect of my life. I might -- might! -- be able to give superior mommies a run for their money if my little chunk of love was a champion sleeper.
And I feel that, given enough time -- say, 12 years -- I can probably get him to sleep through the night, and probably to sleep past 7 a.m.
Stop that talk right now. Those women are all silently screaming inside just like you are. They are all filled with self loathing, but cover it with concealer, primer and mascara. Everybody's got their shit and every parent thinks they're fucking up. It's natural. Also, as I'm sure you've noticed, in the instant you conceived G-man, you were entered into this stupid eternal Mommy competition. It started with pregnancy weight and who is showing first. Then it progresses to who pushed forth a bigger baby from their loins with the least amount of medical intervention or medication. Then nursing, sleeping, crawling, sitting up, eating, walking, talking and peeing in the potty. But guess what - here's the kicker - THERE'S NO FUCKING PRIZE AT THE END. You don't get a gold star for being the most put together mom on the block or for being on time for Baby and Me yoga (which is a waste of time, if you ask me. Babies are flexible as shit - they don't need yoga). The only "prize" at the end is coming out of this with a child you actually like who becomes an adult you actually like AND to still have a spouse you actually like in 18 years. That's all. So, focus on that and you'll be golden.ReplyDelete
If I could only know for CERTAIN that they were screaming on the inside! ;) It totally is a mommy war, isn't it? How weird. And I did try mommy and me yoga and hated it, ahaha!!Delete
Dude. You're preaching to the choir. The mommy wars thing is ridiculous and its real and so is jealousy. I'm jealous of the stay at home moms. Some of them are jealous of the working moms. Everyone works harder than everyone else, yadda, yadda, yadda. Parenthood is the toughest thing ever and everyone is convinced that they're doing it wrong at one point or another. If it makes you feel any better, I'm sitting on my couch in shirt that's older than my son and yoga pants right now. And my kids are 5 and 3. And still the yoga pants. Sans makeup. Hair in a ponytail. My kitchen is a disaster zone, I seriously need to vacuum, and I've got laundry piled everywhere. I haven't slept well in a week because the 3-year-old is having a major eczema flare and the dermatologist gave us antibiotic ointment because her skin is infected and hurts like a mofo. And there are no awards or gold stars. Just demands from tiny dictators who desperately need to nap. I feel you. I really do. Hugs.ReplyDelete
You're allowed to wear whatever you want in the comfort of your own home! And we are laundry twins.:) Poor kiddo, I hope she feels better. :(Delete
You know what they say: don't compare someone else's highlight reel to your every day. For all you know, those ladies with all the make up have really, really dirty houses.ReplyDelete
My kids are now 4.5 and 8, and fact is, no one has a clue what they are doing, not even the ones who look like they do. And once people get out of the crazy new baby phase, they start admitting it or at least letting the cracks show. Hang in there. You are going to be fine, I promise. I had a kid who never slept either and I wore old clothes and ponytails in a blur and fog for too long and he's 8 and sleeps all night long now. It will get better and you will be ok.
But how does the 4.5 y/o sleep? ;) I kid, I kid, I do expect it to get better, I really do!Delete
Here's the thing. I have a good sleeper, or at least relatively so. I could talk about how I was a drill sergeant about naps and it worked great. Here's some other stuff: my son is exceptionally friendly and compassionate. He is a re-plugger of pacifiers and a profferer of tissues and "bless you"s. He is gentle and sweet with babies and so social that he's earned the nickname "the mayor" among the neighbors.ReplyDelete
The reason giving only that information would be misleading is because it would seem, by omission of everything else, like I had my shit under control. Ha. HA. My son is part of what I've come to call the "Y Tribe", characterized by barbarism, recklessness, flying tackles as a means of greeting, complete disregard for his own corporeal safety and that of anyone his size or larger, penis grabbing/penis fixation, propensity for destruction, and psycho daredevil behavior. The number of times I have nearly had a brain hemorrhage from losing my grip on him in a parking lot or listened to him cackle as he destroyed something in the house (like, oh, my Bluetooth headset) is very high.
No one has all their crap together or has a perfect child. If there is something going mostly right in my life, especially if I know others are struggling in that area, I often just keep my mouth shut and enjoy it. I love my son crazily and he is so much fun, but the first paragraph without the second is a borderline lie. I have also not lost most of my baby weight five years later, still don't recognize my own boobs, and I don't remember the last time I put on makeup of any kind.
Anyone who portrays their life in this manner is leaving something out, and crowing about all that crap makes them, as Anne LaMott would say, "a very aggressive person".
Favorite comment ever! And oh god I didn't even get into the boob problem! Argh! Anne Lamott is my spirit animal.Delete