Quick backstory: My pregnancy was rough. I threw up violently for 17 weeks, and developed kidney stones at 20 weeks. Luckily I could pass them, ten in all, on my own. Nonetheless, they were extraordinarily painful. I'll gladly take childbirth any day. I mean, at least you get a good prize at the end.
Then I had my precious Jena. Jena, who has yet to sleep through the night. NOT. EVEN. ONE. TIME. Jena, who doesn’t take more than one hour-long nap a day, and that's if I am lucky. She's 16-months-old, so let's calculate, shall we?
I've not slept much since I was 20 weeks pregnant plus. Also, Jena is still not completely weaned from breastfeeding, so not only am I tired, but beginning to feel malnourished as well, as she takes every piece of nourishment I ingest. This equals one frustrated, exhausted, and borderline psychotic woman.
It’s 9:30p.m. and my 16-month-old daughter is usually in bed by 8:30p.m., but alas, here we are. She's in rare form today. Tantrums, not eating, crying when I put her down – actual sobs, not just whiney – and has resorted to spitting out her Tylenol all over me. Great. My hair hasn’t been washed since last Friday (it’s Thursday now) and my entire goal for the day was to go home, pick up the house, find something that she eats, and wash my hair. They say God laughs when he hears our plans. I bet he was hysterical when he saw my day.
Some days, I’m convinced that I’m losing my mind. When I look at my life, it's completely unrecognizable. I'm not sure who I am anymore. I don’t look like me, and I most certainly don’t feel like me. I try to explain this to my husband, and he tried to understand, but he doesn’t have these hormones raging through his body, so he really can’t understand.
No one can prepare you for how you feel when you become a mother. My own mom explained it to me – accurately actually – unlike the other women who seem to live in la-la-land, and I still was not prepared for how I'd feel.
I knew I'd love her. I knew I'd be tired. I knew I'd have to sacrifice. Good Lord, I had no clue how much. And the guilt. God almighty, the guilt I feel. Because even on the bad days, I know how blessed I am to have a perfectly healthy little girl. I know having a destroyed house means she is making good memories. I know many women could only hope to be in my situation. This makes my day so much more emotional.
Then there are the mommies who always look cute in real outfits, not the same shirt you’ve been wearing forever. The ones whose hair is not only washed, but curled and styled. You know? The ones who have professional photographers track every moment of their kid’s life.
Don’t get me wrong, I aspire to be one of these moms. I really want to have the cute background for every photo with my smiling baby. I want my complaint to be that my kid sleeps too much. I want to brag that my husband doesn’t let me lift a finger when he gets home.
Understand, tired mommies, that this is not the norm. And you know what? That’s okay. It's okay to be tired. It's okay to get frustrated. It's okay to want to run away. It's okay to break down. Just don’t park there. Have your meltdown, look at your angel, and move on to the next moment, because it will bring its own set of problems.
Please don’t misunderstand, I would not give this up for anything. There is nothing in this world more precious than my family. My daughter can be the sweetest little angel when she wants to be. Every time I hear her say “Mama," my heart explodes. Even at 2:30a.m. Waking up every morning to her kissing my face is my own personal nirvana.
Some days, I think having another baby wouldn’t be a big deal because there'll just be more to love, right? I feel complete when I think of my family. I can’t wait to hold my baby for the first time again. I really want to smell that newborn smell. The sight of them poking their little butt out when you pick them up is the sweetest thing ever. I know not every woman believes raising a family is her life’s mission, but it is mine. I'm literally smack-dab in the middle of living out my dream.
So, why do I feel the way I do sometimes?
It's after 9 p.m. and no one has eaten dinner. My daughter and are getting into the bath. I begin to cry while in the tub, it's just been that kind of day. Her little perfect hands cup my face and she kisses me, all is right with the world again.
Some days I am exhausted. Some days I am so happy I don’t even believe this is real. Some days I want to run away or, at the very least, drink hard liquor. Every day, though, I know that I have the love of my fantastic husband and my sweet baby girl. That knowledge will get me through this time of raising a toddler, because I know that, soon enough, I'll soon long for these days.
But sometimes? I really, really, really just want to wash my hair.