I was awake for over an hour last night…I woke up because my baby was crying and then once she was settled, I couldn’t fall asleep because of my snoring husband and all the thoughts that were going on in my head.
Sometimes I don’t think I’m cut out to be a mom. Sometimes I don’t think I’m a good mom.
There have been a few times in my life when the advice I got was not the advice that I really needed. Would I have actually listened anyways? Well, that’s beside the point. Now that I’ve gone through some major life events I find myself sharing the advice I wish I’d heard.
For example, if I could go back to my wedding day and change one thing, I would have walked down the hallway to see my groom before the ceremony. I would have gone before I got in my dress so that would still be a surprise, but I REALLY wish that I had gone to see him. I wanted to. I was so nervous and anxious and all I needed was a few minutes with him to calm my nerves and get me excited again.
My advice to brides: give yourself permission to go and see your groom if you need to. Yes there is the whole tradition about not seeing the bride before the wedding, but since that is a tradition from the time when a bride and groom didn’t meet each other until the wedding date and it was to keep the groom from deciding that he didn’t want to marry her because she wasn’t pretty enough…I think we are passed that in this day and age. A friend of mine who recently got married told me that she was so happy that I had given her this advice. She didn’t go and see him, but she did call him so they could talk and she said it helped calm her nerves and helped her be excited instead of stressed.
Now I’m a mom. And wow, was I not prepared for it! I guess part of it is because I was living in a state of disillusionment when I was pregnant. Yes, I knew that my life was going to change, but I didn’t realize how much!
I remember running into a colleague shortly before I was due. We had been pregnant together. She had her baby a couple months before I did. She was dealing with a new baby and I was anxiously waiting for my baby to arrive. I remember being a little put off by her attitude towards motherhood. She seemed like she wasn’t enjoying herself. I can’t even remember what she said, but now I realize that her feelings were legitimate and if I had listened to her I might have been a bit more prepared.
Prepared for what? Here are some things that have caught me by surprise. Things I was not expecting.
1. I didn’t realize how much time babies take! They consume almost every moment. I don’t have much time to myself any more and I find myself grieving for that. I find it hard to find the time to recharge my energy and mood. Naps are great, but they don’t last forever, and before you know it, baby is awake and requiring attention again! I’m constantly changing diapers, feeding her, putting her down for a nap, doing laundry, and all the other things that need to be done around the house.
2. I didn’t realize how resentful I’d be towards my baby. I love my baby, and maybe resentful is too strong a word, but in the middle of the night, after I’ve struggled to fall asleep, when the baby wakes up crying I find it hard to not be annoyed, frustrated, mad that I can no longer sleep when I want to sleep and for however long I want to sleep! Even during the day, when she is clingy or fussy, it is hard to not get annoyed at her.
3. I didn’t realize how resentful I’d be towards my husband. There’s that word again: resentful. I am so jealous when he stays up late because it is his turn to sleep in in the morning. Even if I was going to sleep in the next morning, I know that I’m going to be the one to wake up to the baby’s cries and then need to wake him up, and that it will be hard to stay asleep when I hear them making noise downstairs. If the baby does wake up in the middle of the night, I get annoyed that I am the one who always gets up to soothe her back to sleep. (My husband has a really hard time falling asleep at night and if he gets out of bed it can take him over an hour to fall back asleep. It doesn’t seem fair to ask him to get up when it takes less than 10 minutes to get the baby asleep again. But it can be hard to remember that at 2 in the morning.) When I was pregnant I would read in horror that some women would “accidentally on purpose” wake up their husbands when they were getting back into bed after dealing with the baby. Now I completely understand! And it isn’t just the sleeping that I can get annoyed at…sometimes something as him staring into space while I’m struggling with feeding the baby can be all it takes to set my thinking in the wrong direction.
4. I didn’t realize there would be “mom guilt”. I feel guilty for wanting time away from my baby. I feel guilty when I’m away from my baby because I’m enjoying myself. I feel guilty when I ask someone to watch my baby – even if I ask my husband – because I know how tiring it can be being around a baby. I feel guilty for getting frustrated with my daughter when she is fussy or won’t sleep when I want her to. The list could go on and on.
So why on earth am I writing this? It certainly sounds depressing. Or maybe it just makes me seem like an impatient person who doesn’t love her baby.
You know what, though? I do love my baby. I love her so much that I will put my own needs in front of hers, again and again, and again. That’s why these things I just wrote about have caught me off guard. I am slowly figuring out how to meet my needs so that I can be a better mom and wife.
I’m writing this because sometimes it seems like there are certain things that just aren’t talked about. We talk about labour and delivery. We talk about breastfeeding. We talk about diaper changes. We talk about night wakings. We talk about how much we love our babies.
But we don’t talk about the negative feelings.
And you might not have these feelings. You might absolutely LOVE every minute of being a mom. But if you are struggling, know that you aren’t alone. Know that other moms feel the exact same way.