There are moments when I really don’t understand how moms can be home with their kids all day without developing a criminal record…How single parents make it all work…What other tricks I can pull out of my sleeve as entertainment. When we’ve made forts and fingerpainted and played outside and had a play date and there are four more hours til bedtime. I question if this is easier for others; if having another baby is actually a reality one day.
But still I love it. All of it.
Before you arrived, I was used to struggles I could beat and get past, ones with clear it solutions. This new normal is wholly unique. It’s endless new challenges. It drives me crazy while simultaneously forming a wild and wonderful journey like no other.
Now that I’m free of the post-partum awfulness, which for me surpassed baby blues or anything deserving of a cutesy name, I’m able to identify why some parts of new motherhood were the hardest.
I can reflect back and see the way I yearned for things to be black and white. I desperately sought clear-cut parameters for things where no such clarity exists. And I wanted these things so I could ascertain if I was doing things right. If I was a good enough mom. I wanted the validation that I was good enough for you.
Oh how I wish I knew then to just hunker down. To embrace the challenges and the fatigue and the insane learning curve rather than googling and crying in search of answers. I wish I knew to accept that there are things like colic, and baby sleep, that no book can solve. That you sometimes have to take one mind-numbing minute at a time and that patience will be redefined daily.
There is no rush to a finish line.
A recent NYT article so perfectly defines this: “One of the most problematic aspects of modern parenthood, I think, is that we believe — falsely — that we have more control than we do. But what if the answer is simply time? Patience? The child who worried you 10 seconds ago will dazzle you 20 minutes later. Imagine that logic applied to the whole arc of a life.”
Today, as you insatiably battled teething and a forbidden quest to eat dog food, I struggled. But I was able to really enjoy the struggle. That will only make sense to other parents, I think; it’s not a point of pride so much as being fully engaged in the chaos.
And just as it always does, bedtime arrived. And when you finished your bottle and snuggled into me with a sigh, beautiful brown eyes blinking at me slower and slower as you drift into dreams, I know joy.
There’s no greater satisfaction than tending to your needs and enjoying each moment with you. Your shrieks, your hugs, the way you dive head first into life — often literally — forces me into the present and is a fascinating privilege.
I still worry sometimes, or my mind will start to wander…is our play structured the right way? Are your probiotics the best brand? What else should I be doing to make sure you’re perfectly supported?
But mostly, there is no room for worries, and that in itself leaves so much space for joy.