Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sometimes You Have To Let Yourself Cry...And Breathe

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was full of grandiose ideas about what I was going to let him or her do, eat, play with etc. No pacifiers, no TV, no co-sleeping, not bottles/formula. My head had been filled with all these ideals from my mother telling me what she did and didn't do, to Johnson and Johnson's commercials with happy, gurgling babies drifting off to a peaceful slumber after a bath in lavender baby wash.

After my daughter was born I stuck by some of the things I had decided not to let happen, such as not using a pacifier, not letting people stick their fingers in her mouth, not letting her sleep in bed with me (apart from those times I fell asleep nursing her in bed in the middle of the night because I was too tired to drag my ass to her nursery and sit in the rocker.) Don't get me wrong, when she was in the midst of a screaming fit I contemplated taping a paci to her for five minutes of peace, but didn't. Things definitely changed after the birth of my son.

I let my son have a pacifier from the moment he popped out until he was 3 years old. I don't know if that is too old to have a pacifier, some say yes, some say no, but I don't care. When I had to get his sister to bed - she was 14 1/2 months when he was born - that pacifier came in mighty handy. I still didn't let anyone stick their fingers in his mouth, but I did let him sleep with me. Not all the time, but often. Sleep seemed so much more necessary with 2 babies in the house - I could just about get by on no sleep with 1, but not with 2. I remember one particularly bad day when I almost lost it, whatever "it" is. 

After my son was born my ex and I sold his car in an effort to save money by getting rid of the monthly payment. We were trying to make it work with me staying home as long as possible. This was a good idea in theory, but it meant I was house-bound with two young children. One bad day at home I wished I could have gotten into a car, or on a bicycle, or a rocket ship and gotten the hell out of there. My 6-month-old son was teething and cranky. My 20-month-old daughter was extremely clingy and whiny. I hadn't showered in at least 2 days and was surviving mainly on coffee and my daughter's leftovers. I was stressed about how we were going to pay rent, and the electric bill and for groceries. And Finding Nemo wasn't entertaining anyone anymore.

After finally managing to get both children down for a nap I sat in the middle of the living room and cried. I'm not talking about a little sniffle, I'm talking body shaking, free flowing tears and snot, hardly able to catch my breath crying. If I hadn't been so utterly exhausted I would have run away. Far, far away. I couldn't take it anymore. I was broken, I was alone. Eventually I cried myself to sleep, right there in the middle of the living room on the hard, cheap, itchy carpet.


After 2 hours something jolted me out of my slumber. I listed for the children but all was still quiet. I picked myself up, went in to the bathroom and turned on the shower. I peeled off my dirty pajamas, stepped in and let the hot water rush all over me. I washed away the snot and tears from my face and the 2 days-worth of grime from the rest of my aching body. Once I was clean I stood there, until the water went cold, before getting out and drying off. I had just managed to get myself dressed when I heard my daughter making noises through the monitor. When I walked into her room I was met with her big, beautiful smile and shining eyes. I sat with her for a few minutes before taking her into the kitchen and putting her in her highchair with a drink and a snack. Right at that moment my son woke up and I could hear him babbling and cooing. I picked him up out of his crib and sat in the rocker with him, hugging and kissing him and breathing in his delicious baby smell.

As I sat with my baby boy, I realized all the rules I had set for myself about what I was going to let my children do, eat, play with etc, was doing nothing but hurt me. So what if I had to put Finding Nemo on for gazillionth time just so I could switch out a load of laundry? So what if I had to give my son a pacifier so he would sit quietly in his bouncy chair in the bathroom so I could shower? So what if I had to nap with both children in bed with me just to get some sleep? My sanity was more important for raising two healthy, happy children than not allowing them to watch TV from time-to-time.

It was at that moment that I decided I would let myself breath, relax and enjoy my growing family instead of stifling us with inane rules and regulations. I was going to let my kids be kids and let myself breathe.

MoreThanCheeseandBeer

Make sure to stop by More Than Cheese and Beer to check out some other Sunday Confessions.

7 comments:

  1. Oh girly, you went through some stuff, didn't you? I admire all the mommas who have two babies under one roof and manage not to go insane! ;)

    xoxo

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    1. Yes, I guess I did. I didn't realize it at the time, I was just going through the motions. I am just glad I have a voice now so that I can "break the silence of the mom", so to speak. Hopefully others will identify and know they're not alone!

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  2. I have definitely been there! I have broken most of my rules and realize my 20-something judging-all-parents self and 'when i have kids...' statements were full of it.

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    1. Amazing how things change once you're in that situation, isn't it?! Thanks for reading!

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  3. I think one of the most underestimated things (especially for moms who are at home) is those first few years. It's like everything you knew or thought you knew flew right out the window. I'm still just trying to survive each day and if I screw it up, then I screw it up. I can always try to do better tomorrow.

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    1. Agreed. It is such a blessing to be able to be home, if that's what you choose to do, but damn it is hard work too!

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  4. I enjoyed reading this. It's been a while, but before giving birth I also thought I could manage without those things. Pacifier, formula, letting the baby sleep in our bed. Fortunately I gave in way earlier than you. Gave me peace of mind and a nap here and there. Why are we so demanding on ourselves as Moms?

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