Monday, July 17, 2017

being a mom is hard.

It's hard. Being a mom is hard. I said that to a friend recently and followed it up with, I haven't said that to anyone else.*

The reason I hadn't said it to anyone is because I didn't want to sound naive. I knew it would be hard but you don't know how hard until you're in it. I mean, I believed moms when they said they didn't have time to shower some days but at the same time, I was like, Really? You don't even have 10 minutes? I just didn't understand. I have 10 minutes. I have more than 10 minutes. But I don't know when those more than 10 minutes will be. Mabel might start crying while I'm mid-shampoo and yah, it's fine for babies to cry, it's not going to hurt her, but those cries will turn into sobs and then wails and I don't want her to feel abandoned and I just want to enjoy my shower for god's sake, can't I live my life?!

I've said that a few times to Mabel, or a variation of it. Let me live my life, Mabel. And I'm joking, mostly, because 1) she can't understand and 2) this is my life now. And I wouldn't change it. But it's still hard.

And that's only one thing that's hard. A lot of other things are hard too: Exclusively breast feeding (even after you know what you're doing; I feel like a milk machine, or a cow, or a restaurant that's open 24/7 to exclusively serve one special customer). Waking up several times in the middle of the night. Swaddling. The near-constant spit up and diaper changes. Worrying about a blocked tear duct, a rash, a swollen lymph node, a lip tie. I've said f*ck! more often than I'd care to admit, enough times that I looked at Tony the other day and said, I hope that's not her first word.

I have a confession: While we were still in the hospital with Mabel, during the haze of breastfeeding and pumping and phototherapy and crying, in a moment of feeling overwhelmed and desperate, I turned to Tony and sobbed, I don't want to be a mooooom. I regretted it almost immediately, but it wasn't until a little while later, as I was looking at Mabel under the blue light that I turned to Tony again—sobbing, of course—and said, I didn't mean it. I love her. I don't want anything to happen to her. I want to be her mom. And then I bent over Mabel, I want to be your mom, baby. I want to be your mom, Mabel.

A few weeks later, as I was complaining slash looking for reassurance from my Nan, she told me I'll miss Mabel being this little, spit up and all, and I started to cry because even now, while I'm in the midst of it, I know she's right.

*During this same FaceTime conversation, I interrupted my friend to show her Mabel because, Look at her, she's her own person. She's amazing. I'm so lucky I get to be her mom.

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