It’s easy to make myself look amazingly on-top-of-things and beautiful on the web. I can pick and choose the photos I use, and then I can edit them and write a nice little summary of all the fun things I did with my little bundle of joy this week. Ahhhh, the joys of Photoshop and draft mode.
But the reality is, it’s easy to make myself look good via my blog…when in reality, I usually look a little more like the above photo. (Bangs pinned straight back into a mess of dirty hair, oversized sweatshirt with random puke stains and god-knows-what-else, maternity sweatpants and an undone nursing bra.) Hey, at least my teeth have been brushed today.
Harper has about four little chompers ready to pop through her top gum, and it’s really doing a number on her (and mommy and daddy). For the most part, she’s still her happy little self. But, she doesn’t want to go to sleep at night, and she wants to be held 24-7. My little sleeps-through-the-night, easy baby has turned into (temporarily, I hope) a wakes-every-couple-hours-and-needs-comforting baby. I haven’t slept for longer than four hours in about four days. I even adjusted my sleep schedule so I’m going to bed a little earlier. But guess what?! Harper adjusted hers, too. Now she just wakes up as soon as I get the wah-wahs (my word for that weird feeling I get right before I pass out). IT’S GREAT FUN.
So yeah. That pixelated mess up there? That’s what this really looks like. I am tired, defeated, frustrated and just a joy to be around (sorry, Scott). Speaking of Scott, he has taken it like a trooper. He has somehow managed to give me a few breaks while holding down his responsibilities at work, the family business and his own sanity.
Well. Tonight I asked Scott, “Do you think I’m a good mom?”
He replied, “Yes, I do.” I sensed some hesitation in his voice. (I am good like that.)
So I said, “Actually? Do you REALLY think I’m a good mom?”
Now, I know that he is doing what I’ve been training him to do when he keeps reassuring me that “YES, absolutely, you are a good mom.” He’s telling me exactly what I want to hear, but I can see through it. I continue prodding…and he finally responds:
“I think you’re a good mom. But sometimes I think you get distracted. I think you make things harder on yourself and on Harper by going into PROJECT MODE and depriving her of what she needs which is your full attention.”
Unfortunately, I was already thinking exactly what he said. You see, PROJECT MODE (it’s in all caps because it really is a huge problem) has always been an issue for me. It’s that almost hypnotic state I go into when I have my mind set on finishing some project or figuring out an answer to some all-encompassing problem. When in said PROJECT MODE, I cannot be bothered by anything or anyone – not even chocolate or cat humor. It’s really that bad. Scott puts up with it most of the time, but it has definitely been a thorn in our side in the past.
But now, as I was already aware, Scott has pointed out to me that it’s coming between Harper and me.
I’ve always been a goal-oriented person. Growing up, I would lie in bed in the morning and think of whatever thing was motivating me to get out of bed and get on with things. It could be something as simple as finding out my grade on a report I’d written or getting photos taken for the yearbook. And when I was in the corporate world, I would imagine my success later that day in a big presentation or finishing a proposal.
But as a mommy, my victories
are should be much smaller. They are things like getting my baby to take a nap longer than 30 minutes (which, really, I have no control over, anyhow) or having her sit happily for 15 minutes in the baby swing while I fold clothes.
The problem is that I add other things on top of the normal mommy goals – I want to finish knitting a sweater, write a blog post, take Harper out for some photos, clean my house, bake bread and prepare an amazing meal for dinner. Oh, and I also want to keep up on my Words with Friends games and watch The Bachelor on Hulu. I revert into my pre-mommy self where I am number one and whatever I want to do, goes.
And Harper, she isn’t an idiot. She can totally sense when I’m not fully there. If I’m playing on my iPhone while she nurses, she knows. Lately, she’ll knock the thing out of my hands and cry until I look her in the eyes and talk to her or sing her a song. As a result, I get frustrated and think she just doesn’t like me or that I’m failing at life or something. I don’t think I FULLY got this until Scott pointed it out to me tonight.
The other thing we talked about is how Harper seems to have recently developed a preference for Scott. The thing is, I am with her all day and a good portion of the night. So, she gets mommy for a good 10-16 hours a day. Mommy gets worn out. And Mommy goes into PROJECT MODE. Daddy gets home and isn’t burned-out-on-Baby. Daddy gives her his full attention, and Daddy doesn’t do all the annoying things like change her clothes multiple times during the day and make her sit in her playpen while he takes a shower/does laundry/eats lunch/etc. So Daddy gets to be the good guy. Mommy gets to be that annoying chick with the boobs who gets noticeably sick of making faces and silly voices at Baby.
I gave up Facebook this month, and it’s been awesome. I don’t miss it one bit, and it’s helped me to be much more productive in the little free time that I do have. But, it’s time to pull out all the stops. When Harper is awake, she needs my absolute full attention. Emails, knitting, blogging, taking photos…those all can wait. Harper is only going to be little once, and every distracted moment I spend with her is a missed opportunity to grow her little brain and our relationship.
I LOVE THAT LITTLE GIRL MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD. And that is why she needs to be my ABSOLUTE first priority. Everything else can wait until she’s sleeping…or in college.
So yeah. That picture up there? That’s what mommyhood really looks like on most days. Thankfully, I am learning every day how to be a little bit better at it.
How do you deal with the frustrations of mommyhood? Am I alone here, or are these all normal feelings/realizations?