Counting Down 'Til Bedtime

by Jenni Smith
Originally Published: 
A close-up of a baby and its mother and a cat laying down in the background

I have been a mother for ten weeks, five days, and four hours.

Yes, I know this for a fact, because many days I sit and watch the minutes tick by until bed time. We made it 24 hours. No one has died, no one has gone crazy (yet), and except for the minor disagreement over the swaddle, we are mostly happy. In my new world of swaddles and bumbos and sleep training, making it to bedtime without any international incidents, major meltdowns, or physical harm goes into the “win” column. Except…

At the end of day, guilt starts to trickle into my thoughts.

Guilt is sneaky that way. I prefer the in your face anger that my little angel spits at me when I’m not feeding her correctly. No subtlety or sneakiness, just plain and honest emotion. Guilt has none of the in your face confrontational skills that my ten week old has mastered. Guilt takes the side route and attacks my vulnerabilities.

Many thousand times a day, I feel trapped– by motherhood, by the enormity of it, the expectations of others, the emotional chaos that came with that seven pound bundle of joy. Shouldn’t I just bask in the joy, knowing so many others would want what I have? Guilt whispers this in my ear.

Postpartum depression, like guilt, is a tricky illness. It comes and goes in severity. It does get better, but slowly. And then sometimes it gets worse again. My entire life has been flipped upside down; will I raise her correctly? Will she hate me? What if she gets eaten by wolves? Or worse, what if she turns out like Miley Cyrus?

Hazel is my light and my heart, but there are some days where I want her to take a 15 hour nap so that I can do something reasonable. Like cook with two hands. Or take a shower. Or, God forbid, sleep.

Today, I will have to settle for knowing that it’s 5.5 hours to bedtime and no one has died yet.


Related post: Why I’m Embracing The Mommy Guilt

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