I know I’ve mentioned before that a few of my friends have tended to complain about their kids. Complain to the point where you wonder why they would choose to procreate – again. Because they complained about the first one – how hard it was, how there was no time, etc. and then went on to have a second and maybe a third.
Once I had the baby, I assumed I was allowed into the club. Except I guess I didn’t complain enough. Now if you’ve been reading here, you know I do my fair share of complaining! Really, seriously, I’m not the earth mother all blissed out on the wonders of baby and mommyhood. The truth is – it’s hard work! But I’ve worked really hard in the past on other “projects” – with varying degrees of respect and gratitude (or disrespect and ingratitude as the case may be) – but I’m pretty sure this is my favorite. It’s not my favorite every moment of every day for every potential second with no room for other thoughts (if anyone says it is, you should seriously ask them what anti-depressants they are taking and ask to get an appointment with their doctor – woo hoo!). But overall, it’s my favorite. So anyway, back to the point – while I have some moments of crazy tired I can’t remember my own name, I do sometimes try to remember that I got myself into this! (Or well, my husband did too and he will reap that havoc some days.) So I don’t spend every moment saying ‘it’s so hard’ to pay back those friends who spent hours telling me that – but that might just be because I don’t want to hear I told you so… (For reference - I do, on occasion, do a “oh my God, it’s so hard” – just not to them! I say it to you instead. Have I mentioned how hard it is yet today?) I’m not sure they know how to react. But the reactions are sort of fun to gauge –
A primary reaction is to say I haven’t hit the worst of it yet. I admit I’m a novice at this, but the worst of it really did seem to be those first 2-3 weeks to me. Now down the line, I bet I’ll disagree. I’ll say the terrible twos are worse because they last so long and those first weeks weren’t so bad because I was so excited and happy to have the baby. And that would be the time when ANY of you should feel free to direct me back to ANY of my blogs on the first few weeks and say ARE YOU KIDDING ME? And then for the truly sadistic among you – to this blog and say IN YOUR FACE! In any case, the general reaction to any complaint I make is – oh that’s nothing compared to… I’ve gotten off the phone with them to go take care of a meltdown apologizing that it needs my attention and they’ve said – oh, that’s nothing. You should see what 5 year olds meltdowns are like.
Now I’ve seen 5 year olds meltdown and it is NOT pretty. I know they are hard to reason with and can just get bratty when overtired, etc. But they are reasonably capable of expressing what it is that they want or what is wrong (or if they aren’t then you know it’s overtired brattiness). Of course it’s embarrassing to you as a parent and loud and frustrating, but you generally know what’s going on and know what caused it. Now when my munchkin (at any point in the 6 months to date) cries, I have to guess at what’s wrong or what’s causing it and the thing is – I sort of know it’s my fault. Ok, fault is wrong. Fault implies some sort of guilt which will have everyone reacting to say – no, it’s ok, babies cry. I know this. What I’m saying is – she incapable of fixing things herself and is crying because she’s hungry, dirty, overtired, hot, cold, sick, etc. – and most of these things could have gone by without a meltdown if I’d tended to them earlier. I don’t feel outrageous guilt about this when I’m at home dealing with it – but when she’s just miserable stuck in the car seat and screaming because she’s hungry and I can’t fix it and still get where we need to go, I do feel a bit guilty. And I wonder if I might be able to tune a 5 year old out better… Or at least hand her some cheerios!
All that said, I can’t believe that complaint wasn’t enough to get me in the club! Although I suppose getting into the club would mean they’d say – see, I told you so! Now you know what it’s like. So who wants to pay that membership fee?
My next favorite reaction came via email today. An old friend asked how mommyhood was going and if it was all still bliss (I’m not sure where she got that notion from) or was I pulling my hair out yet. She said she didn’t start to go truly crazy until her second was a few months old so my first few years may be good yet. Haha! So even though you suggested before your baby was born that having a baby (any baby) was incredibly hard and lonely the first year and that you were overwhelmed, now that I’ve had a baby and haven’t expressed all that (to you! I’m not saying I haven’t felt ALL those things!), you’re thinking maybe you were fine then too. It’s actually the next one that’ll kill me.
Support has been overwhelming.
As an aside - having a baby IS incredibly hard at times and staying home is very lonely and overwhelming! Anyone who says it's not can't remember doing it.