Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual

The first few months of my now almost 4-year-old’s life was full of tears — from me and her. Each and every day she had colic and she cried, what seemed like non-stop. On the days when we both needed serious peace, I’d pack her up and we’d head out for a drive.

That drive guaranteed us at least 45 minutes of calm. The slow hum of the car and music made her quickly drift off to sleep, and I was able to unwind to gain my sanity.

I don’t miss those days.

I recall one stressful afternoon. I was going on the third day of no shower and only brief, uninterrupted moments of sleep. I was a walking, smelly, sweatpant-wearing, stressed out, first-time mom. I was about 30 minutes into my “sanity drive” when I remembered we were down to our last diaper.

This wouldn’t normally be such an issue, but I didn’t want to wake my baby. I knew the poor thing needed to finally rest her crying eyes, but I didn’t want to hear screams anymore. For the next 10 minutes, I began to plan my attack.

“Surely I can leave her in the car for just a few minutes while I run into the grocery store to buy those diapers,” I thought. I was convinced it would work. “It won’t take longer than five minutes. She won’t know I’m gone, and I’ll be back before she wakes up.”

Don’t worry, I didn’t do it — not because I didn’t want to, but because I was afraid of what the “world” would think of me. And once my sanity returned, I realized I wouldn’t receive an award for mom of the year if I left my baby alone in the car.

Instead, I carefully got her out of the car, walked into the grocery store and purchased the diapers — just in time for her to wake up and start screaming again.

It was hard.

Not long after my diaper episode, my mother told me I, too, had colic as a baby. Instead of recalling negative stories about my uncontrollable rage, she explained, with sincerity, how it hurt her heart to hear me cry and how she wanted to make me feel better.

Her words made me wonder what she really meant. Either she really cared for my well-being and didn’t let my screams stress her out, or she simply forgot what it was really like.

I’m going to go with the second option.

Regardless, I was happy to hear she didn’t contemplate leaving me in a running car for a few moments just to save her sanity.

There now are two baby girls in my life. I realize this mothering thing is going to bring more challenges than that of a colicky baby. Each day I struggle with the guilt of not spending enough time with them, stress that they watch too much TV, feel concern that they’re not getting the right nutrition and worse, worry that time is going by too fast and I’m missing it all.

I know there are much more difficult hurdles to come. Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual. The law and my pre-motherhood common sense told me I can’t leave my baby in the car to run in for diapers. However, no one told me there would be a time when I would want to do just that.

Whether I remember the stressful moments 30 years down the road is yet to be determined. I have a feeling this incredible love that grows stronger each day for my girls will make all the stressful moments fade.

Either that or I’ll simply forget.

Happy Mother’s Day week to my mom! 😉 

*Pics below ~ I’m giving each of my girls a big smooch. Ella is first, Gracie is the second pic.

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Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.