Before I even begin this post, let’s just make this one thing clear: I love my daughter and I love being a mom, but sometimes I’ve had my fill of motherhood for the day and today was one of those days.
Sometimes, I’ve had all I can take of being elbow deep in crap-filled diapers. Sometimes, I’ve had all I can take of wiping spit up off my left shoulder and the floor. Sometimes, I can’t handle one more second of her incessant fussing and fighting at bedtime, the constant scratching, touching, & hair-pulling, or her never ending need to be fed or entertained. Sometimes, I just want to be me again and it feels like that’s never going to happen, at least not for several years.
Today was one of those days where nothing truly terrible happened, but everything from the last several weeks just kind of piled up and by 8 o’clock -which is generally when our bedtime fight begins- I just didn’t really want to be a mom anymore for the night. She has been by my side, or propped up on my hip, since 6:30 this morning. I had been looking forward to having some time with my husband tonight downtown because the city has been putting on some fall festivities. That didn’t happen. Instead, he worked on the bathroom that we’ve now been 2 years trying to get in working order (don’t worry, we have two) with my dad and by that time it was getting close to bedtime for Ellie, so we decided to make a run to Lowe’s for the last couple of things he’ll need to finish up and to grab a bite to eat. That didn’t happen either. Ellie threw a hellacious fit because she was hungry, so I nursed her and went to change her into weather appropriate clothes. She screamed even louder, red face, sweat, tears, and all. It was clear that I was not going anywhere and instead Phillip & I got into our nightly this-kid-is-driving-us-both-bat-shit-crazy-at-bed-time argument where I tell him for the umpteenth time that he’s lucky he gets to leave the house and I need a break. Fun stuff.
He squealed out of the driveway to go to Lowe’s while I took my place on the couch to watch Netflix while I gave Ellie her bedtime bottle, not because he didn’t offer to take over wrestling her to sleep. In fact, he offered to take her with him to Lowe’s (not happily, but it was an offer nonetheless) but I reminded him that it was 7:45 and taking her would only make her even more unbearably crabby. I realized while feeding her that I now spend more time on that stupid couch with her and Netflix than I ever spend with my husband or long lost friends these days. It’s to the point that the cushions on the couch are breaking down from all the time I spend confined on it, nursing or consoling her, and my nerves tonight are in similar shape.
She finished her bottle and I took her to her nursery to begin the routine: swaddle her as tightly as I can get her, turn out the light and turn on the sound machine, begin pacing the floor while simultaneously bouncing at the knees, rock her back and forth on my forearms, and pat her diapered butt until she appears to be completely knocked out, put her down. Repeat in 30 minutes when she wakes up again for 4 or 5 hours. Except tonight, there was uncontrollable sobbing on my part and I couldn’t help but think:
I want my life back.
There is nothing spontaneous about my life anymore. Everything is routine or revolves around her and her needs. I am needed every second of every day because she is entirely dependent on me. I work from home, which truly is a blessing, but it’s also incredibly difficult. She has been refusing naps during the day, so not only is she in a terrible mood, I don’t have the opportunity to get a ton of work done and instead I find myself entering notes at 11PM when I should be taking time for myself. Facebook has become an all out addiction because it’s my main interaction with the world outside our house. I miss my crafts, I miss not taking two weeks to write one blog post, hell, I even miss going to work. I miss being me.
I miss when I had things to talk about other than whatever Ellie did that day. The most time I ever get to myself now is when I have to go out of town to a meeting and I leave Ellie with a friend or family member, but even then it’s a challenge to find someone to keep her so I can work. And that’s another thing! What happened to all of the people who said, “Aww! I’ll babysit when she gets here!”?! Huh? WHERE Y’ALL AT? Thank God for the handful of people who made good on that promise.
I especially miss being able to spend time with my husband. If we continue our trend of having one night a month to ourselves (which usually beings at about 6PM and ends around 8 or 9 the next morning), I’ll get a whopping 12 nights with him where we get to be us again. 12. And we wonder why we’re both so on edge, except like I said before, he’s lucky enough to leave the house.
My entire life changed when I had her and most of the time this isn’t the case, but tonight, I miss my life before. The one where I was only responsible for myself, well-rested, and shaving my legs wasn’t a freaking treat. My child is not one of those babies who is entertained by staring at the ceiling fan. She requires constant stimulation which almost always includes being held, and if I do manage to put her down, she instantly screams. She hates her swing, her bouncy seat, and all of her rattles. The only bright side is that I occasionally get a 20 minute break when she is busy kicking her $1 balloon I bought her.
Tonight, I can’t for the life of me remember what it feels like to want a house full of kids like I did before Ellie arrived. She’s not a terrible baby, but she is a difficult baby and as sentimental as I am, tonight I can’t wait for her to be self-sufficient so I can at least pee without her on my lap, even if it means she’s still in the bathroom with me. Tonight, I’m not looking for reassurance in things like, “This too shall pass,” or “It gets better!” or my favorite guilt-inducing, “You’ll miss these days!” Instead, I just want to vent or have someone else say, “YES! This is me today!”
Either I’m the worst mother on the planet or there are others out there who refuse to take off their social media mask long enough to admit it. What is this bull that society has made us believe as mothers that if we have even one thought about self-care (the real kind, not a 10 minute shower while the baby screams in the next room) that we’re somehow selfish? It’s ridiculous!
So tonight, I’m done being a mom. My husband is home and it won’t kill him to parent for more than an hour today. This mama needs a break or she’s going to break. Tonight, I’m going to have my life back… even if it’s only for the 30 minutes it takes him to run across town to get supper, ’cause it’s 10PM and I’ve managed to eat once today. And in case you were wondering, yeah, Ellie’s back up even though she was sound asleep by 9. *Sigh*