One morning at drop off, I noticed the moms carrying infant car seats back to their vehicles. The crook of my arm ached in memory of the seasons I’d carry a robustly full diaper bag while hauling the heavy seat to its base.
When I think of those early days with my second and third newborns, I think of how I felt on those days; their small, peach-like heads rested on my shoulder; their chests that softly rose and fell with each breath. While glaring at the paper coffee cup I couldn’t reheat, I felt small stabs of loneliness for the outside world I felt was howling along without me.
Those early days after we had our third child seemed little more than prepping and washing bottles or finding ways to include our middle child while big brother was at school. Some weeks, I felt nothing more than a body that went grocery shopping and prepared meals. I’d put waffles in the toaster, an ice pack in the lunch box, and throw all into the backpack. All while telling my mini I’d be with her in a minute as she exercised her tiny vocal cords from the living room.
All this. On repeat.
I didn’t always share how I felt about my repetitious days.
Sometimes I think we hold things in because we’re told it’s only a phase. In our most tired of hearts, we know the sleep training and terrible twos won’t last forever. Sometimes we just need to hear the story about the mama (me) who imagined her equally sleep-deprived husband to be a grande frappuccino while she unknowingly expressed little to no milk to her screaming, hungry newborn. We need to hear about the mom who cried into the steering wheel after removing her slap happy threenager from the neighborhood playground.
Instead of the sometimes well-meaning “buck up, it doesn’t last long” comment, all we really need to hear is “I’ve been there too.” We really need to hear that whatever we are feeling today is OK.
And friend, oh how I’ve been there.
I too wanted to skip over the sleepless nights and jump into a phase when my days weren’t characterized by mom buns, stained t-shirts, and expensive coffee.
I too wondered if I’d ever get to socialize with adults again. Between school drop off and pick up, prep for the next school day, and the daily ins and outs of life with a toddler and newborn, there weren’t many allowances for seeing others.
I too woke many mornings feeling I hadn’t gotten more than an ounce of sleep and wished my husband could stay a little longer. If he could help with just one more task during the morning rush, I’d feel better.
I too lost weight. Not by intention, but because of the daily walks I took because the walls suddenly felt tight.
I too lived for the turn of the latch and the section of light that’d pour in when my husband would come home for work. I still remember eagerly awaiting for him to finish removing his hearing aid and sunglasses so I could pass one of the tasks or kids off to him.
I too watched hours of reality television with a baby on my chest while our middle one napped.
I too burned with the desire (but not the energy) to have a put-together home. I wondered just how many disinfecting wipes I used in a week and if my hands would ever be soft instead of dry and cracked because of all the handwashing after diaper changing. I thought the sink’s dirty dishes would further multiply and attack like the gummy bears from Goosebumps 2. I can’t forget the laundry room that was usually just another shirt or two from spilling over into the main part of the house.
I too was often many days overdue on a shower. I’d usually opt for reheating that morning’s Starbucks instead because timing a shower with feedings and nap times was like running a play in the NFL. The legwork negated the need to squeeze soap into a wash puff. And Starbucks doesn’t care what you look like when you drink it.
I too thought my marriage looked different. Date nights looked like catching up on a show that sat dusty on our DVR. Quality time looked like folding laundry while wondering aloud how it’s possible for laundry piles to take up the entire sofa. It looked like two adults overwhelmed by growing responsibilities and too little sleep to actually talk about it.
I too spent many nights sitting next to my grade school child, struggling to hold interest while helping him master words he’d be tested on at the end of the week. I wrestled with wanting to be present for all my children and wanting to simply veg out on the other sofa while the baby finally slept.
I too felt there were so many expectations I wasn’t living up to.
Whatever you are feeling today is OK.
This #momlife of ours has its moments. But rest assured, whether one says so or not, we’ve all been there. You’ve got this, mama!