Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The other side of the coin. Those days your mother didn’t warn you about.

Some days I can be good at living in the moment. Noticing and appreciating the little things. Just being and being happy. I think those days are easier when I’ve had some sleep. When she is not teething. When the moons align correctly! Recently... I did not have one of those days.

My husband looked at me one Saturday afternoon and said – I think maybe we’re both just a little stressed. And I think I know the cause – while motioning in the physical equivalent of a stage whisper to the car seat in the back seat. Hmm. Yup.

I hate to admit it. I hate to admit that there are days like this. I HATE when parents go on and on complaining about their kids (kids they WANTED! Heck, why KEEP having them if they’re so hard?!) all the time. And because I wanted this baby so badly. Well – wait, I still do! I’m just tired.

We'd had a bad night that Friday. We were trying to do more sleep training as she was almost a year and I would soon stop nursing making night time feedings a lot harder. The problem is we’ve waited far too long for sleep training and she’s getting mobile (another reason to do this NOW! Before she starts getting out of bed when she wakes up). So we put her down and she cries and screams and stands in her crib. She gets more and more tired. But she’s standing. So she can’t fall asleep. So cries more and louder. So there’s no crying it out. We’re on modified Ferber – where one of us has to go in and “knock her over!” Ok, not knock. Not really. We don’t just go push the kid around! But we do have lie her down. Which pisses her off. And breaks our hearts. She’s standing there and sees us come in. She puts her arms up in the air to be picked up looking all sad and pathetic. And then we lay her down in the crib! The screaming that follows is… Oh man, how to describe it. I feel like I’m going to be brought up on war crimes.

Now usually, she goes to sleep within a couple minutes of that. She’s exhausted and really just needs to lie down to go to sleep. But not Friday. We had two hours of listening, going in and lying her down, even rocking and cuddling. Till finally we realized – oh man, she’s teething! Even after the motrin, she cried for a bit, but finally went to sleep.

But despite the two hour intermission on sleep till 2 am, she was still raring to go in the morning. Not just awake early, but wanting lots of attention and no plans of a nap in sight (in fact, she wound up napping later than normal). So when that baby alarm clock started going in Saturday morning, it was all we could do to drag ourselves out of bed. The day just loomed. Does this happen to anyone else? Your sanity has entirely left you and you wonder how you will make it through today? You start to think all the days look so much alike - an unending desert of days. I know that this period is fleeting. Soon she won’t be a baby. I will miss these days terribly and insist that they flew by. One day we’ll watch her graduate and maybe get married and all those adult things and we’ll wonder what happened to our little baby. But today. Oh today. Just let me make it through today.

But we did make it through. And she slept reasonably well on Saturday night. I thought Sunday would be very rough as my husband was working – and these sorts of moods should not be handled alone! But I wound up meeting some friends and hanging out with them. The munchkin napped in the car on the way to their house at 10 then another friend came with her 6 month old and we stayed through the early afternoon. She even napped on me again at their house. And I felt human again! I’d seen people! I’d been social! Sure, I spent a lot of the day chasing her around as she attempted to remove all the books and movies from the shelves – and show them where else they’re not baby proofed (they are expecting in a few months), but still.

Please, tell me I’m not the only one! Do you have those days where you question your sanity in motherhood? Where you wonder why this job doesn’t come with just a few days of vacation / paid time off each year? And what do you do to cope (especially if it’s not a day that you can take a vacation)?


  1. Oh boy, I definitely have days like this! I think the strategy of seeing other adults is key for me. I have to break out of my mama role for a little while to get some perspective. I also try to remind myself of any past success whatsoever. My guy is in the tantrum and testing phase, EVERY time he doesn't get his way. So I tell myself that he did learn not to stand on the couch, even if it did take weeks of consistently putting him down on the floor, enduring the ensuing meltdown, etc., so eventually he'll learn to follow other directions...right? Hang in there! Easier days are sure to follow, to build up your strength for the next tough ones!

  2. You are far braver than I was for letting her cry it out...I could never do that. And since mine is now four, I can tell you that it DOES get better. One of my favorite quotes regarding those first years, "The years are short, but the days are long..." Hang in there!


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