We Chose This
We've been going through a rough patch lately, mostly, I think, out of resistance to what is. Sometimes I pretend that 7 months ago my life didn't just turn on its head, and I try to carry on as I did before: I shove all the baby toys into a box out of sight, I plop the kid in his high chair with a handful of toys to keep him busy, I check my email, or read a book or try to make something to eat...and then, of course, within whatever time frame that is entirely up to the kid, he gets bored, or hungry or cranky and begins to fuss...or scream. And my head jerks up from whatever I'm doing and I remember: OH YEAH...I have a child. He's not a puppet, or a kitten or something I can ignore for very long. He has needs, and I don't really have much right to feel frustrated or irritated by these needs.
After all, we chose to bring him into the world.
My husband and I had to remind each other last night that you don't have children so that your life will stay the same. But sometimes we need to remember this when it's hard. When the word patience feels like Greek; when he's pooped all up the back of his onesie and kicking his feet into it while you try to clean it and put diaper rash cream on his butt--for the second or third time in an hour; when he pitches holy hell in the middle of the night for no really good reason you can figure out--not cold, not hot, not hungry, not lonely--if anything, just pissed off to be awake; when you wake up with a kinked neck and bleary eyes but still have to do it all again.
I write about the difficult aspects of parenting a lot. But it's not just to complain, believe it or not. I do it because I feel like I have to really probe people to get the truth out of them about how hard it was/is and I want to offer an honest voice about the process to anyone looking. Because if you don't look for validation, you give in to despair. Lots of mothers despair in silence. I think that pretty much all mothers in the fifties drowned their despair in gin and valium. Which sounds really great some nights, I gotta tell you, but of course I won't even take benadryl while breastfeeding for fear it'll make my kid sleepy. Yeah, I know, I'm afraid to make my kid sleepy--crazy! My fear is actually that he'll never sleep again once he's had a taste.
At the same time as he drives me to the ends of my frustration--usually around sleeping--he'll start "talking" to himself in the back of the car, and laugh his butt off when his dad brings him around the corner to see me, and I fall in love with this kid again and again. Thank god...or there'd be sixty of us on the planet, not 600 billion.