I am a new mom. A struggling new mom.
Typing that sentence gives me chills. What does it even mean to be a mom? If you asked me that when I was younger, I would have said loving her family. Oh, little bit, you were so WRONG.
To be honest, nothing can prepare you for motherhood. No matter how many times you hear it, you don’t understand it until you’re in the thick of it.
Every woman I grew up around made motherhood look effortless. They always had more love to give and they always knew what to say. I am not that woman and I so desperately wish I was.
At times, I feel guilty I was given the gift of motherhood because I am barely surviving it. God blessed me with this gift and I feel like I should be better at this, and that I should always be grateful for the sleepless nights. I’m thankful that I have less time for myself and am happy that my days are so full. I appreciate our long nights (don’t get me wrong, I am so very thankful for this little man that is slowly outgrowing my arms) but I am struggling to juggle it all.
First and foremost, I am a wife but now that I am a mom, I tend to forget about that title. Honestly, I’ve forgotten about most of my other titles too—like sister, daughter, niece, and granddaughter—and I am deeply sorry for that. I’ll learn to juggle or I’ll struggle better. I love my husband and I know he is currently getting the short end of the stick; I have postpartum depression. I have a rainbow of emotions all the time. I am sleep deprived. I am cheating on him with my job; it could also be argued that I am cheating on my job with my husband.
Nothing is ever right and things could always be better—and I tell myself I have to be the one to make them better.
I have no extra love to give him. I have no grace, I have no compassion or understanding. I just have frustration. I am frustrated that he left the seat up again or forgot to flush, that he drank another energy drink, and that he plays video games while holding our son. I get upset that he wants me to hold the baby less—“Let me hold my baby because he will soon outgrow my arms”—or because the dishes didn’t get done because he hates doing dishes. Or even that I spent time meal prepping, just for him to say, “No thank you.” That is on me. I should be thankful that my husband watches the baby on nights I have to work late or that he stays up late to ensure I get two hours of sleep.
Most importantly, he has grace for me during this challenging time. So thank you for currently seeing the good in me, because I can’t.
I don’t sleep. My 6-month-old is lying next to me and I am watching him breathe. I do this more than I would like to admit. I watch him sleep. I rock him to sleep. He sleeps with me, and I know what the books say. I know I am “creating bad habits” but I am a working mom. God knows I love being a mom. I thank Him every time that sweet boy smiles at me. The first time my son rolled over, I was walking out of a meeting and I made a beeline to the bathroom and I cried. I locked myself in a stall and I cried my heart out. I’ve cried a lot in that stall. I missed one of his firsts—the beginning of many firsts—and I’ve mourned in that stall. I wiped my face and I kept working. I am fortunate enough that my son is being watched by an amazing woman who documents all of these sweet moments for me, which does ease the blow. But still, I feel guilty that sometimes I take my work home with me or sometimes I wish he would nap so I can fix my chipped nail polish and shave my legs.
I know I need to find balance. My doctor tells me this all the time. Where do I find this balance and is he or she looking for new friends?
“What’s wrong?” I hear that a couple of times a month or a “You don’t seem OK”. I know.
I am OK—just defeated.
The person I was before the baby doesn’t exist anymore. I know that’s hard to understand, it’s harder for me to accept because I want to be that girl again—but I am not.
I wish I could still be that bubbly person who runs into the room to greet you with a “good morning” or do a happy dance every time I fixed a problem account, but the only running I do is to get my sweet boy when I pick him and the only time I do a happy dance is when my husband, the dogs, and my son are all napping. It is in these moments that I feel like I am winning because they are all at peace and I feel like I cannot fail in these moments.
Mom guilt: I know you too well and I would like to clarify that we are not friends. Time spent on myself feels selfish. So, I shop online or run to the store on my lunch break so I don’t impede on my time with my son or I don’t miss a first when I am with him. If by chance I am away from him, the sight of a child sends me back to my car on the way home.
I see things differently than I did a year ago.
I am constantly asking myself, is this a person I want to be around my child? How will this person influence him? Is this person dependable? Will this person understand that I cherish weekends because I get my husband and my son all to myself? Or that I would rather be at my nephew’s baseball game or Skyping my family?
Coffee, smoothies, or lunch dates Monday through Friday, I’m there. I am yours. Need to call or FaceTime because you had the worst day? Call me! I can be that person.
But I am no longer the girl who can drive over at 10:30 at night with ice cream or pizza. At 10:30 I will be cuddling with my sweet little man and my husband, enjoying them and thanking God that this is my life. Even though tomorrow will be Monday and the struggle to do it all will begin again, I will still welcome the chaos.
Though I struggle, my new title and my new addition—my sweet boy—are worth it all. I am thankful that I get to actively learn what motherhood is.
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