Well, six months into it, I understand. Not I-just-finished-watching-Chariots-of-Fire understand that running is a lot of work. More like I-just-ran-a-marathon understand running is a lot of work. Even on a good day, where the fussing has been minimal and she’s content to entertain herself and she’s slept through the night, ten hours of by-myself time with Tiny is draining. But the hard days (which this particular month has been a string of hard days), where she’s fussy for no apparent reason, refuses to be put down, nurses for 45 minutes, resists naps, and wakes several times during the night... Downright exhausting - mentally, emotionally, physically and psychologically.
I’ve reached my breaking point several times in the past few weeks. She has not been my happy baby for me for a while now. When I leave her line of sight, she is inconsolable. She fusses and whines when I set her down. She was even starting to wake and cry in the middle of the night. Sometimes she cries even when I’m holding her. However, NONE of this ever happens if someone else is around or if we’re out of the house. That’s all fine and good, but I can’t always be going out. I have things around here that I would like to accomplish, and it’s ridiculously difficult for me to get out without spending some sort of money. Around others, she’s a complete angel, and honestly, that only makes me more frustrated. I feel badly complaining about a baby that everyone else thinks is perfect and good tempered 24/7. It got so bad for a while there, Adelaide wouldn’t even smile at me, and I started buying into the idea that my baby hates me.
I was talking to a friend of mine who also has a baby, and she asked if I’ve ever wanted to throw my baby out the window. She was joking, but in all sincerity, I have often considered offering Adelaide to the next person who tells me how cute she is. This constantly needing to be on my toes for someone else who is always unhappy and cannot verbalize what she wants is freaking exhausting. I have sat there with her while she has cried and I’ve cried back at her: “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT! If I knew, TRUST ME, I’d give it to you!” I’ve screamed at my husband and my child at 2:30 in the morning after Adelaide’s been screaming for an hour. I’ve slammed doors, I’ve stomped off, I’ve locked myself in the shower, I’ve turned the dishwasher on so I can’t hear her screaming...
I have had some other personal issues going on recently that have only exacerbated the issues mentioned above, and I’m getting help. Also, about a week ago, a tooth poked through Tiny’s lower gums. And all last week we were at my aunt’s house. I don’t know if it was the emergence of the offending tooth or the fact that we were at someone else’s house, but Adelaide was an angel all last week. I’ve also adjusted her sleeping schedule during the day, and she’s back to sleeping through the night. Additionally, I’ve started taking people up on their offers to help watch her so I can get some time out by myself or with my husband. All of this has helped bring me back from the ledge. My baby is becoming a little more predictable and happy again, and I’m starting to get my sanity back.
This is a really difficult blog to post, partly because I don’t want people to think I’m a bad mother, and partly because it’s pretty embarrassing to admit that I’ve screamed right back at my screaming baby. I've actually been writing this post for over two weeks ago, and I just now mustered up the courage to post it. But I’m committed to being honest in this blog, and every other mom I’ve talked to about my struggles has admitted that she’s done the very same thing. So lest any of my readers think they are the only one - you’re not. If you think you’re a terrible mom because you’ve lost it at your child once, or twice, or... - you aren’t. Being a mother is a ridiculously difficult, thankless, unending job. Rewarding? Yes. Exhausting? Absolutely. Cut your baby some slack - it’s hard being brand new. And while you’re at it, cut some for yourself as well.