I was surfing the internet tonight while my little guy lay asleep in his bed and I came across this web page: http://thebadmomsclub.com/2011/08/all-hail-the-bad-mom.html. I was in mommy heaven!
Two weeks after Thomas was born, when he wasn’t sleeping, when he was crying, when I was tired, when I was crying (you get the point)… I went to what I will always refer to as my ‘dark mommy place’. My husband was out playing floor hockey and my sister (who doesn’t have kids of her own) was over to keep me company. Thomas was only two weeks old and I didn’t want to be left alone with him in the evening. That night was the first of many nights that he would spend crying. Nothing would soothe him except being on the boob. But after two hours of boob time, I was exhausted and ready to call it quits. As if on cue, Thomas fell asleep at about 10pm – just as daddy was walking through the door. Figures.
The following day my husband worked from home. After the very first feed of the morning, which was preceded by several nighttime feeds, Thomas once again started to howl. I lost it. All of it. Every ounce of sanity left in me was gone. I shoved Thomas in my husband’s arms and my ‘dark mommy’ spilled out of me. I will refrain from documenting exactly what I said that morning, but it was along the lines of: “I hate being a mom, I want my old life back.”
I have often felt guilty about that day (and several others that followed), but when I tell other moms about this ‘dark mommy place’, they admit to having their own! Really? How helpful that honesty would have been during my time of insanity. Apparently moms are embarrassed to talk about the dark side of parenthood. About the challenges. The only thing they ever say is “Oh, it’s so great being a mom. I love it.”
Looking back, what I really meant to say that morning was: nothing could have prepared me for how difficult this is. I’m tired and exhausted. When he cries, I feel inadequate. I don’t think I’m doing a good job at being a mother. I feel like I’m failing my child.
Soon after I decided I would raise Thomas the way I wanted to raise him and stop being so hard on myself. I’m sure one day I will use creative parenting if it makes our family life easier. Maybe his birthday will be in January as opposed to March. Maybe I’ll say no to something and change my mind. Maybe I’ll let him run up the stairs which I swore I would never do. It’s impossible to be perfect and to completely follow through with all the self-imposed parenting rules you decided on.
It’s obvious that some days will still test my patience and my competence as a mother. But at around 5:30pm tonight while the esthetician was working on my pedicure, I closed my eyes and saw his face, heard his laugh, and within seconds I was smiling. That is my happy mommy place. That made it all worth it.