Andy is in tech right now. These next 2 weeks feel more like the parenting marathon I had envisioned during pregnancy. Me, alone with my baby for hours and hours and hours. Today, though, I learned that after 3 months of listening to a baby scream, you can tune it out much easier. He was having a rough morning and woke up from his morning nap unhappy. No bottle, clean diaper, attention, being held, being put down, being rocked, swung, bounced, anything worked. I needed to pump, my breasts were sore from a few clogged ducts (gotta take that lecithin), so I put him next to me, hooked myself up, and let him cry. I would pick him up, wiggle him, give him his paci, and then just stop for a bit. After I finished pumping I put him back in his swing and he promptly fell asleep. Fine, kid. Do yo’ thang.
We miss Andy during the day. I say “we” knowing that I can’t divine if Ronan actually feels this way, but I certainly do and suspect that he does, too. Having Papa at home is wonderful. We are a complete family unit and work together seamlessly. Ronan integrates well when Andy and I are together. When it’s just me, I feel clunky, like I’m trying to do a calculus equation that I sort of understand, but obviously didn’t study enough for.
I now understand why moms love to deify alcohol. By about noon my nerves start to fray a bit. This is alleviated when I have friends to see and places to drop him off. When it’s just me and him, I feel tense, on edge in a way that reminds me of my childhood growing up with an abusive parent. What will set him off? What will he need when he is set off to calm him down? It’s triggering in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Though my parent is no longer abusive, that part still exists and is constantly on alert for unsteady situations. Fortunately for my nugget, I work very hard to create stability and predictability, so he will have a good foundation to grow up on purely because of his mother’s childhood trauma. Trauma for the win.
I may have some postpartum anxiety. This could be a mood disorder, or just some anxiety that happens to fall after having a baby. I’m meeting with my therapist in a couple of weeks to sort it out. In any case, routinely getting triggered by your baby being a baby is not fun, so there is work to be done no matter what the pathological outcome.
Some highlights: That kid’s smile. Baby smiles are the best and help ease us into the day. A renewed love of coffee. I had a coffee aversion while pregnant. Now I make a small pot in the morning and drink it with vanilla and hazelnut syrup, frothed half and half, and cinnamon. It’s decaf so it’s not about the caffeine but rather the ritual. Watching Gilmore Girls, which is not only funny and fun to watch, but regularly reminds me that I can be a mom like Lorelai, even if it’s not happening right now. Funny how I can rationalize hard nights of sleep by saying to myself, “Someday I will have a fully grown, functioning child who will be able to sleep without assistance.” Even if it is years away, knowing there is an eventual end point makes it easier.
I remember in Devil Wears Prada (the book, not the movie) where the narrator describes The Runway Turnaround. This is where someone working under the dreaded boss, Miranda, talks about how awful their job is, but then ends the interaction by saying something like, “But it’s so incredible. A million girls would kill to have this job!” I feel like there is something like a Mommy Turnaround. I want to end by saying that though it is tough, motherhood is rewarding, and my baby is so worth it. And he is. And it’s hard. But also fun. But also hard. And he’s cute. But also exhausting. I had no idea. Nothing could have prepared me, but I’m figuring it out, albeit slower than parts of me are satisfied with.