(Note: I wrote this post a few weeks back while on maternity leave. It hadn’t been posted yet because I struggle with posting the “bad”; however, I think it’s worth a share because I am sure there are others out there who can relate. Everything is fine now, and it was fine when I wrote the post, in case you are wondering.)
It is not a hidden fact that I enjoy being a mom, I really, truly do. Being a mom means that sometimes you have to give things up for your kids. Been there, done that, and glad I did [and I know it’s not going to stop anytime soon, either]. But, I am the kind of mom who also enjoys keeping myself busy through work and hobbies. Those moms and dads (hey hubby!) who are stay at home parents are heroes to me. While I’ve been on leave, I just haven’t been able to fathom staying at home all the time. Going stir crazy happens at least once a day, and thank goodness Greg is here with me to keep me from going completely over the edge.
Needless to say, when it is time for me to go back to work, I am going to be happy (but yet sad to leave my hubby and kids, hey, it’s only 8-10 hours a day). I’ll be happy because I know my kids are getting the love and care they deserve and yet mommy is getting what she needs.
Speaking of what mommies need, I think that one of the things every new mommy needs is to crash emotionally. It may sound harsh, but I really think hitting the bottom and feeling like you are losing all control is essential in becoming a good mom (and this thought was verified by one of my Twitter friends—her sister claims the same thing).
With A, it happened at about 5 weeks, and luckily my good friend Pam was there to take A for the weekend and let me figure all that out. With E, same thing. I felt like I was not a good mom and that I never would be. Was it because during night feedings I read other mommy blogs and tweets about how they are all so successful at being a good mom? Was it because I was missing having a steady schedule/working? Or was it because I just didn’t want to fail E when I have [so far] been successful with A?
Whatever it was, there I was, nursling on one side, pump on the other, tears streaming down my face. My mommy crisis happened. My mind was racing—will I ever pump enough to go back to work and him still eat? Will he have an amazing personality like A? Will he be smart? Is he going to meet the developmental milestones (or beat them like A)? It was all too much for me to handle and there was my precious ‘lil man eating away without a care in the world. He had no idea what I was feeling, he just knew that mommy was feeding him and all was right for him. The poor thing.
So this breakdown I was having made me doubt my strengths as a mom. It made me wonder if I made the right choices to be a mom. I send up a tweet to the Twitterati that I was having a crisis. It is the middle of the night, and I am sure no one is going to respond, right? Well, God is always looking out for us—two people quickly reassure me that all is ok and my healing begins. I remember that I did this with A and I was going to climb back up (but knew it had to be quicker because I did, in fact, have two kids and a husband to do it for this time). I take the advice and put E down and try to sleep it off. The climb began.
On my way back to dreamland, Greg realized I needed to talk and the climb continued. I was healing, and it took some tears, but that’s ok. Sometimes, there are storms in our lives that we have to overcome. The climb continued.
Then my phone starts beeping. I had no clue, but apparently I was signed into Facebook chat and a really close friend was sending me messages. We talked for a few minutes and she certified that I am a good mom. The climb continued.
E somehow had plenty to eat and I got a solid 5 hours of sleep. The climb continued.
And finally, the next morning, I reach the top of my mountain. A looks to me, and out of nowhere and says, “Mommy, you the greatest”. I can see the peak.
We go to watch her shows (NickJr) and the episode of Olivia is about Olivia wanting to be a mom because it’s great. The tears come again, but this time, they are happy tears. Peak reached. Mommy crisis over, and it only took 10 hours instead of a whole weekend. I have climbed up my mountain, and realized even if I don’t feel like “the best” Mommy, I am THE BEST to the people who mean the most—my two kids and husband.