It’s 10:30pm and you’ve been trying desperately for the past 2 hours to calm your feverish little one, who doesn’t want a bottle, or his nuk, or to be rocked. You had to call in sick to work because he was burning up and you couldn’t bear the thought of dropping him at daycare (and you didn’t want to put your sweet daycare teachers through that either). You’ve taken his temperature more times in the past 12 hours than you have in the past 4 months but it’s worrisome, because he’s just not himself. After bouncing and coddling and soothing for what seems like hours, you hand him over to his dad with tears in your eyes because you feel defeated…because you couldn’t calm him… because sometimes you’re not who he needs. You’re exhausted from a full day of bending to pick him up over and over again because he could NOT be put down, but in the end – he just needs his dad’s big strong embrace to slow his breathing and stop the tears.
There are many hard things that go into being a mom – but the ones I just talked about are some of the very hardest for me…the moments when you realize that you can’t always be the one to “make it better”, or to solve the issues at hand. The truth is, I have always been independent, and I’ve always taken care of myself and am darn proud of it. Before Dane was born, my husband and I both contributed to our life and relationship in every way – by working, cooking, cleaning and sharing responsibilities equally. Nothing has changed in that regard since D came into the world, but for some reason I always thought that I would always be the person to calm him. I’m his mom, I carried him inside me and I felt all of those labors of love (literally) for 10 months before he even took a breath. Maybe I’m just being a tiny bit selfish for thinking I would have the answers, and maybe I’m a wee-bit emotional because life has been hectic and honestly pretty overwhelming lately. Either way, I know that this is just a phase and that my sweet little boy loves me even though I may not always be who he “needs”.
One thing that I’ve learned about these hard moments is that it makes me a better mom. It forces me to realize that I can’t do it all (I know this sounds like a bad thing but let me explain.) It’s one thing to have confidence and high expectations for yourself. That’s healthy. However, things can go south very quickly when you put yourself in an unrealistic place and expect more than you know you’re capable of. MOST moms out there do this; we all work our butts off trying to make sure everything is taken care of and often are too hard on ourselves as a result.
I don’t have any hard and fast tips to share on how to do this, mainly because I still struggle to implement it in my own life. But I do know that when I’m feeling overwhelmed or sad about one of these moments I remind myself of a few things.
- Sharing is Caring – if you’re lucky enough to have someone to share the parenting journey with, enjoy it. Take turns and help each other.
- Know that this too shall pass. Babies go through different phases all the time and even though it may be hard and you may not feel it – they love you all the same.
- Enjoy how much your little one loves their daddy. One of my favorite things about the past year has been watching Casey become a dad, and totally rocking at it. I know that D is going to look up to him so much, and he’s an incredible role model.
So, in closing… I just have to say one more time, the struggle is real, but it doesn’t change anything about the way I parent, or care about my kiddo. Do any of you moms out there feel like this from time to time? I know I’m not alone… How do you deal with feeling sad about not being able to do it all? I’d love to hear about your journey!
Have a great week!