I have gotten into the habit lately of looking back through all the photos of Pigment after he’s snuggled in for bed. This is ridiculous because I spend the majority of my day eager for the glorious 3 hours of freedom that come after his bedtime and before ours– but I do it just the same.
Scrolling through Instagram I’m reminded of the highlights. I’m reminded of why it’s a good life. And to be honest, I’m reminded that I’m happy.
I am. For the most part. Can I tell you something else though? Sometimes I’m miserable. Sometimes, I feel like I ruined our lives.
I can still remember. I think that’s the real problem. I can still VIVIDLY recall how easy my life was before parenthood. I seldom did anything I didn’t want to do. With the exception of mundane tasks that I had to make fun with podcasts in the background or a phone call to a friend… I rarely committed to arduous tasks that weren’t in some way fun for me. My life was completely my own. I liked my job, I had endless free time, a marriage that was bursting at the seams with love, joy, good conversation and even more money than we needed.
I remember, and that is so hard.
Last weekend Pen had just one day off. We spent it at home with no real agenda. Pigment however, is going through some big developmental leaps and was inconsolably fussy. All. Day. Long. His disgruntled murmurs and angry coos became the soundtrack to our day.
We passed him back and forth, from when he woke up until he went to bed. Shushing and swaying, singing and snuggling. As challenging as days like that are; they’re nothing compared to weekdays.
Weekdays, like last Friday when I called Pen to come home from work early because the baby would not stop crying.
In those moments it’s hard, but what really gets me is that there is no reprieve. Literally, ever. Sure, I can get some air or leave him with Pen but what he wants most is his mama so for the duration of time that Pigment spends his waking moments screaming I will be the one hearing him scream. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. That’s the job. That’s what I signed up for. Heaven help me, that’s motherhood.
I’m not going to sugar coat my words here. If you can’t ascertain that I can love my son even while struggling through this transition you can see yourself out. I refuse to be one of those moms who is honest about her struggles and in the same breath says, “oh but it’s so worth it.”
Why do we do that? I’ll tell you why… It’s because we’ve been shamed into believing that GOOD moms never feel how I’m feeling. Society tells us that if we’re not enjoying every moment we are doing it wrong.
Know what I am? I am a really good mom. I love that little boy more than anyone else I’ve ever met except the guy who helped me create him. And most of the time, I really love motherhood.
But when I don’t, that’s okay. When I hate it, that’s okay too. And when I fear I’ve ruined my life because I can distinctly recall all the trappings from my old life that are dead and gone and will never be again? Good grief, that’s just logical. And okay. It’s okay because we HAVE TO SAY THESE WORDS SOMETIMES.
It helps. It helps because nothing ever feels as bad as it does when you feel it in secret. Left unspoken these feelings eat away at me and chase me into dark corners. They scream that I don’t deserve such a perfect little boy because I don’t appreciate him. But that is a lie. It’s a mean and ugly thing and isn’t even a little true.
I am a whole person. I am a human, a woman, a wife and a mom. I am all of those things simultaneously but I am also each of them separately. The human part of me misses when my life was all about me. When my tank never hovered below half full.
I’m no less a mom when I’m a human.
I hesitated to put these words down. But I think it’s important. It’s important that I crawl out of the dark corners and take ownership of my experience. It’s important that other moms see it’s an okay thing to do. Most of all though, it’s important that my son have a mom who doesn’t allow herself to be shamed for her humanity. I want him to always know that it’s okay to struggle through hard things.
We’re all in process. I’ve never done a hard thing in my life that didn’t make me want to run for the hills somewhere along the way. Running isn’t my style though. Instead I’ll probably take a walk with my perfect little boy and feel sad and happy and miserable and filled with joy all at the same time. And all of those things will be okay.