Some random thoughts spilled onto the page.

Reality: Every time I see this picture, I wish I could go back in time and watch him hold her like this again.  He loved to hold her.  He was so good with her.  I melt when I see this picture.  I fall in love with them both again and again.  Who gets lucky enough to marry a guy like him and have a baby like her?  Me, that’s who.

Violet_Newborn_141

But this is reality, too: When she was at that age, I was really struggling.  Suddenly the affection I was accustomed to receiving from him seemed to all funnel toward her.  I felt a little jealous.  Who am I kidding, a lot jealous.  He had more confidence with that baby than I did, and I was her mother.  Me.  I was supposed to be able to get her to stop crying.  I was supposed to have more compassion when she fussed.  I was supposed to be the one with all of the intuition.  Yet somehow he started off on a much better and more confident foot than I did.  I’ll never forget snatching her from his arms in our front yard one evening and hissing something absurd and disrespectful.  I don’t even remember what we were arguing about anymore, all I remember was that feeling of insecurity.  I am so glad those days are behind us, yet I long for them all the same.

Reality:  Today I felt bliss, pure bliss, at least a dozen times.  It just the best, best, BEST day at home with Poppyseed.  We cuddled in bed, read books, cooked “ezz” (eggs) together, played with the puppies in the back yard, took a 3 hour nap (!!!), and then took a long walk around the neighborhood with Oatmeal after dinner.  There were so many times today where she would look at me and give me a huge smile and a kiss or offer a big hug.   I’d smile when she said “mama, mama, mama!” because it made me feel so special and important, and the way she says it can just be so darn cute.

But this is a reality, too:  There are some days where I feel like all I do is damage control.  There is so much whining that goes on with a 19 month old.  Nothing is easy.  She wants help, she doesn’t want help.  She wants me to hold her, she doesn’t want me to hold her.  She wants milk, she doesn’t want milk.  I hear “mama, mama, mama” so many times I want to scream.  Sometimes I walk into my closet and shut the door and just take a moment.  Truth.

Reality: When I was getting ready to leave the gym today, the gym babysitter told me that my child is the “sweetest little girl ever.”  She told me that she is always well behaved, is so sweet to the other kids, and that my baby melts her heart by walking over and sitting in her lap and reading books with her.  I was so, so, SO proud of her!  My baby IS a sweetheart!  She LOVES other kids!  She IS so loving!

But this is a reality, too:  I have a hitter.  Of course several months ago when she slapped for the first time, I tried to take it in stride.  I would simply grab her hand and say “No no, we don’t hit!”  But when it continued, I started to feel like I gave birth to a total bruiser.  And last weekend was the worst, worst, WORST day.  Poppyseed would not stop hitting her cousins, and truth be told, I was embarrassed.  Unfortunately embarrassed took a turn toward infuriated when my toddler pushed her grandmother away and hit her several times as well.  I lost my cool completely.  I spanked her several times.  I snapped at anyone and everyone in my presence.  I tossed her into her crib as punishment and went outside so I didn’t have to hear her cries.  It’s bad enough when your child acts out, but for me it makes it so much worse when it happens in front of family.  I remember a conversation I had once with a caregiver who stated that usually when a child hits, it’s indicative that the child witnesses hitting at home.  Oatmeal and I have never, ever, ever been even remotely physical with one another.  So why does my child keep hitting!?

(Ha, that was the longest paragraph yet in this blog entry, so as you can see I’m losing my mind over this hitting business.)

Reality: I have much more physical confidence now than before I had a baby.  I can walk into a gym full of other women, many of whom are stronger/faster/fitter than I am, and still feel confident and strong.  I can walk by a mirror in my underwear and see the good things instead of the bad.  I feel good when I eat healthy food and feel confident that my clothes fit well.  I haven’t counted a calorie in at least two years.  I actually started wearing shorts for the first time in public this year.  I don’t mind that my boobs are completely stretched out after all of that nursing.

But this is reality, too: Okay, sometimes I do see a picture of my 19 year old self and wish I looked that, well, young again.  19 year olds look so…. rested!  I wish skirts would still fit like that.  I wish I had more fun outfits in my closet.  I wish I didn’t spend 5 minutes each morning trying to part my hair in such a way that the short gray hairs that appeared after childbirth didn’t protrude straight up into the air.  (I mean, is there a product for that?!)  Sometimes I opt for pants instead of shorts so that I don’t have to see the spider veins on my inner thighs.  And okay, maybe I do miss the way my boobs looked pre-baby.

Reality: Being a mother is the best, best, best, best, BEST thing I’ve ever done.

But this is a reality, too:  Just because I love being a mom doesn’t mean that I’m always good at it.

In summary: No one ever said that being a parent is the easiest job.  But everyone does say it’s one of the best.  I’m hoping to take more deep breaths, think before acting more, spank less, and appreciate every single kiss and giggle.  So what if it’s hard sometimes?  I LOVE being a mother and I LOVE that kid so much it hurts.

Sorry for the brutal honesty, and for the lack of proofreading.  It is what it is.

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