“I wasn’t a good mom tonight. I need a break.”
I sent that text to my partner tonight, and I felt horrible as the thought entered my mind, as I typed it and even worse – as I sent it.
- Not loving the baby as much as my toddler
- Losing my bond with my toddler
The first was never an issue. The moment I heard my daughter cry I fell in love, and my heart is overwhelming with love for both of my girls. The second fear, however, is my current reality.
A week before I gave birth to my baby an acquaintance told me, “Your relationship with your first child will change.”
Well no shit. Next you’ll tell me that C-sections suck and the Pope is Catholic.
But that was always really my biggest fear – not having the energy to maintain my special relationship with the Child. My partner and I have been so careful to say things like “Just a minute.” versus, “I can’t help you right now because I’m doing x, y, z with the baby.”
I’ve been the mother of two for four weeks and four days, and I need a break. Admitting this makes me feel like a failure. When I say I need a break, I don’t mean anything long – three hours to myself to sleep, recharge and spend a few quiet moments alone would do the trick. If I’m being 100% honest, an entire day – sun up to sun down – would be even better.
I’ve been blessed with the company of family and close friends since the birth of my daughter, with a few days throughout to myself to learn my new routine and enjoy my family. But today, I’m run down. I’m exhausted, and overwhelmed with guilt.
After a peaceful day at home, laughing, playing and reading quietly, the evening ended with the toddler defying me (once again). I expected her to act out when the baby came home, but I expected it to happen right away. Instead, it took two weeks, and she only acts out against me – mom – not dad.
Sleep deprived and frustrated, I sent her to bed with no dinner, I made her put her jammies on herself, and I didn’t even say goodnight or tell her I loved her. Oh, and she cried herself to sleep. (I’ll collect my Mother of the Year Award later.)
I’ve reached my new low in parenting.
I know this will get easier, and I know this phase will pass between the Child and me – but knowing all of this doesn’t make right now any easier.
As I’ve said before, I’m blessed with great friends and family. One friend in particular, who we’ll call “Kay”, is one of my “real” moms. She gives it to you straight, and you never feel guilty for admitting your parenting secrets (and failures) to her.
Recently she told me -
Part of being a good mom is worrying about how to be a better one.”
Why do we (I) put so much pressure on ourselves? I feel so guilty for putting my infant in her swing so I can have two minutes to myself. “I should be holding her,” I tell myself.
This is where “Kay” steps in.
The more I speak with REAL moms – the ones who tell the truth, haven’t showered and have given their children an Oreo once or twice – the more I realize that the first weeks/months are about shear survival. Then you start to get ‘the hang of it’. It’s hard when you take being a mommy seriously.”
I know it gets better, and I know the village that’s helping me raise my children is amazing and that I’m not alone (Let me be very clear that my partner has been and is an amazing support). But just for tonight, I’m going to be “real” and tell you I need a break, and I’m terrified that I’ve ruined my relationship with my toddler because of the terrible way her night ended.