1. The verbal abuse. Perhaps I’m a tad sensitive, but personally, I don’t like it when someone screams at me. Unfortunately, now I have to put up with a boss who, if he gets hungry or cranky, pulls himself up to his full 22 inch height and BELLOWS at me until he’s reddish purple in the face. To make things more stressful interesting, he and I don’t speak the same language, so I am constantly trying to translate. Usually what he wants is my breasts however, which also makes this whole scenario borderline sexual harassment.
2. I am now a 24-hour human buffet. It’s wonderful and all that I can nourish my baby the way nature intended, with the “liquid gold” that flows from my breasts, but wow it takes up a lot of my day (and night). For someone whose stomach is apparently the size of a walnut, he sure spends A LOT of time eating.
3. It’s a dirty job. If you saw a job posting for a 24/7/365 live-in caregiver that required you to deal with human excrement, urine, drool, and (when you’re really lucky) vomitus with no overtime, stat pay, or holiday bonuses, would you apply? Um… let me think about it… No. Just the other day my baby spit up on my freshly laundered shirt in the morning (I was so proud of myself for getting a load done!), and leaked pee and poop on my pants in the afternoon (two different occasions- glad I didn’t bother changing my pants the first time).
4. Date nights look a lot different. Nowadays, Friday date night involves us entertaining our baby while he sits in his swing so we can eat our dinner with both hands, then maybe catching up on Modern Family before it’s bath time and I’m in the glider nursing and rocking him to sleep for an hour. If that works (and sometimes it doesn’t), we then fall into bed, exhausted, or she’s already asleep by the time I hit the pillow. Sexy time? Not so much. Since our baby’s crib is in our bedroom, when the mood does strike, well, let’s just say I haven’t had this much action on the couch since I was a teenager.
5. It’s all my fault. Suddenly, I’m blaming myself for everything. Baby is gassy? Must be something I ate or drank. He won’t fall asleep? My fault for keeping him up too long. I thought I’d be immune to the ubiquitous Mommy guilt, but apparently not. Can’t I at least share the blame with my wife? There are two Moms in this house! And there’s so much pressure to “get things right” and be “Super Mom” these days. My Mom raised me with no books, no internet, no Baby Whisperer telling her she was doing it all wrong. I think I just need less Google and more wine (one glass is ok, right?).
6. Not enough sleep. It’s cliché, but it’s true. I love sleep. But it’s been months since I slept more than three hours in a row. And on particularly brutal nights when baby is waking up hourly (four-month sleep regression, you are a bitch) one sadly goes to the place no new parent wants to go, wondering “Maybe we should have got a Pug instead…” So forgive me if I don’t have the energy for Mom and Baby Pilates or Stroller Boot-camp in the park (even though I do need to work off my remaining pregnancy pudge. Oh joy!).
7. I feel incompetent. Normally I’m a confident, capable woman. Since having the baby I now doubt myself more and question my knowledge (I’ve never done this before!) and intuition (this feels right but the books say no?). I don’t know how to navigate the unfamiliar feeling of being responsible for another human! Being a new mom is probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and I can’t just walk away and quit when it’s tough. It’s a good thing the hospital doesn’t have a return or exchange policy.
Yes, I love my baby and I count my blessings every day that we are both healthy, live in a peaceful part of the world, and I get to raise my child in a solid and loving partnership.
I love it when he smiles, coos and giggles. I love seeing him adapt and grow. I love how strangers smile at me more. I love how much stronger my connections are to my family and friends. I love being a member of the Mommy club now. And I love not being pregnant anymore- which really, let’s be honest, is the second best gift you get after your baby.
But, dammit, this motherhood thing is hard.