June 15, 2010

Hitting the Wall

In the beginning, motherhood seemed easy. After hearing horror stories of colicky babies who screamed all night, I had spent 9 months preparing myself (or at least attempting) for the possibility of numerous sleepless nights, and a long road back to my pre-pregnancy self.
Instead I was gifted with a baby who slept thru the night at two weeks old. Two months post-partum, I was back in my pre-baby jeans and resuming the routine that I had developed prior to Joycelen’s arrival.

And then life hit. I went back to work – and discovered increased responsibilities which translated into needing to work longer hours. I thought I could solve the situation by simply getting up early, so my 7:00 a.m. wake up became a 6:00 a.m. Sure, I was a little groggy in the morning, and some days I needed a caffeine i.v. – but the house was clean, I was at the gym 4-5 times per week, and M had clean clothes and supper every night.

April came, and along with it the start of blueberry season. My days grew longer as M needed my help in taking the picked berries to town, or preparing for the next’s days picking. I was no longer in bed by 10:00 p.m. – instead it was 11:00 p.m. or later. This made the 6:00 a.m. wake up more difficult, but nothing that a Pepsi Max with breakfast couldn’t overcome. I still felt in control. Each night I took pleasure in seeing the items marked thru on my to-do list --- clean house, happy baby, etc. I was so wrapped up in activity that I failed to see that I was really accomplishing very little.

Then M’s superintendent left the $8 million project they were working. My husband, who normally left the house at 6:00 a.m. after taking the morning feeding, was now leaving at 4:30. Our conversations had dwindled to mumbled goodbyes in the pre-dawn hours, and quick I love you’s at night before exhaustion took us over.

Last week, I hit a wall. The morning started out like any other morning. Joycelen began stirring in her crib about 6:00 a.m. I stumbled out of bed, and with bleary eyes prepared her bottle. She took the first ounce without a problem. She burped and I prepared to feed her the second ounce – this is when she began to scream, and scream, and scream. 15 minutes of screaming for no apparent reason. All of my attempts to calm her failed. Soon, I found myself curled up in my bed crying while I listened to her cry in the bassinet. “I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t” I yelled out loud.

And just like that, Joycelen’s screams ceased. She lay in her bassinet happily gurgling. I called M and said “I’m not happy. Things have to change.” As he drove into work, we talked about why I was unhappy – M pointed out that I could not do everything by myself….I am not super woman. I told him that I understood – that I was simply going threw the motions and not appreciating the moments. Together, we came up with a plan on improving the situation.

The plan started last Saturday night, when I left Joycelen’s in M’s care and went to Savannah for my best friend’s bachelorette party. Prior to the “wall”….I would have texted constantly reminding M of Joyclen’s schedule, things that needed to be done around the house, etc. Instead, I texted him to let him know I had arrived safely, texted at Joycelen’s bed time….and then I put the phone away and danced, laughed, and for a few hours celebrated being me – not a mom, not a wife, just a woman who loves spending time with old friends.

On Sunday, I returned refreshed. I rushed into the house and scooped up my daugheter, smothering her with kisses. I didn’t care about the dirty dishes in the sink, M’s socks on the living floor, or the things I would need to tackle on Monday. I was basking in the love of my family.

This week is going to test my new plan – as in addition to my usual responsibilities, our church is hosting VBS. Two days in and I am tired but not harried… I have allowed my MIL to take Joycelen a few hours in the evening so that M and I can tend to farm business. And I no longer feel as though I am failing because I need help.

Motherhood is not as easy as I thought it was going to be. But I am learning that it is not nearly as difficult if I am willing to ask for help. Being a super mom does not mean being a super woman…….it means just being there.


NavyBride said...

I've found that that wall pops up every few months, and I'm fairly sure more veteran moms would say the same. Just means it's time for a break. For me, that break sometimes just means running errands by myself for a few hours. Other times, it's a whole day to myself to do something completely un-Mommy related.

We just came through a period where K and I rotated the nights that we had class M-Th and didn't actually get to "see" each other till Friday. It's tough. And it'll pass. Joycelyn is also in a stage where she's entirely dependent. Sometime around 11 mos (when she started walking) Mia began to develop a little bit of independence, and now there are times when she'll play by herself for 15 minutes (an eternity!) in the playroom while I'll get something done, and that makes life alot easier, too.

Keep going! You're doing fine, Mama! :)

Jennifer said...

I can completely relate. Sometimes I just have to remind myself that the dirty dishes and laundry can wait because Easton is only going to be a baby and EmmyKate is only going to be 4 once. Much better to spend time with them than on chores.

Kathie Brinkman said...

I agree with all the comments. When Josh was a baby I got every Saturday as Mom's Day Off. Matt got up with Josh and took care of him the whole day while I got out of the house to do whatever I wanted. Usually I ended up at my local Christian bookstore and just spend time reading, journaling and studying my bible. I learned a long time ago that if you demand perfection or nothing you will wind up with nothing. The world as we know it really is not going to fall apart if we skip the dishes or laundry occasionally. I knew many moms who ended up hiring a cleaning lady 2x/month to do the heavy cleaning--bathrooms, floors, etc. so they didn't waste what energy they had to spare doing such mundane things. Really, our hubbies don't care who cleans the toilet or who scrubs the floor or who does the laundry. Just so he's got clean underwear when he needs it most men are happy with that. You'll get there. Now is a good time to re-evaluate all outside your home commitments/obligations. Taking a break from volunteering, etc. is not a selfish thing to do if needed.