So this is actually my second attempt at a blog post this week. My first was a train wreck of scattered thoughts and vague parenting advice. So today I prayed for some inspiration and as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, but I guess that goes double for what you pray for. Today’s sermon at church talked about seeing the opportunities amidst your struggles, so hopefully this post will help another new mom out there. After a very nasty breakdown this afternoon I realized that all the randomness of this week’s events had one thing in common. They all made me cry, and not the pretty kind, the ugly raw cry of someone who just can’t seem to keep it all together.

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Iceberg Right Ahead

So I gave birth just two weeks ago and it both feels like the blink of an eye and a lifetime ago all at once. It’s like time slows down right after you have a baby. I’ve gotten the question repeatedly this week, “How are you feeling?” It’s only just this minute that I’ve actually stopped to question myself, “How do I feel?” Physically I’ve bounced back so well that my immediate response is – “I’m fine.” But what’s on the outside is really only the tip of the iceberg and you know what they say about icebergs – what you see is only about ten percent and the rest is below the surface.

I’m Innocent – I Swear

Here’s the run down of my crazy week. I got accused of stealing gas and had an angry stranger shout at me. I returned to the gas station to clear my name, but like I said there was some ugly crying involved as I started to sob, “I would never not pay.” One of the cashiers actually came out to hug me as I was getting into my car after they pulled up my receipt and apologized. On a normal day I don’t like being accused of something I didn’t do, but on this hormonal day I positively couldn’t hold back the tears.

Farewell Good Friend

Then I saw my cat of 11 years being attacked by a dog right in front of my house. I yelled at the dog to get away but the damage was already done. He had crushed my cat Cesar’s pelvis and back leg and there was blood on his belly. It was a pretty awful sight, but worse than seeing the attack was the decision my husband and I had to make to put him down so he wouldn’t be in pain anymore. Telling the kids was hard and there were more tears as I watched them cry. These are the sad life lessons you never really want to teach your children. They are getting to the age where they understand death is forever. When I told my daughter about my mom’s passing two years ago I got virtually no reaction, but upon telling her about our cat she sobbed for two days straight. This is the dawn of understanding that kids go through when they finally get that life is not always fair and it certainly doesn’t come without some tears.

Where Did My Brain Go?

While in Middletown today I was supposed to stop at the bank and deposit a check so we could pay the installers from Home Depot who are coming Monday to install new gutters. Wouldn’t you know that after paying for gas with my debit card and bringing two kids and a crying baby into Quick Check to grab sandwiches for lunch, I pull up to the ATM and space on my pin number. I mean it’s gone. It’s like I never used it before let alone 10 minutes ago. So after two useless attempts it locks me out and now Sydney is once again crying her little head off because she hates the car seat and I know I can’t take her out of it for at least 20 more minutes. This kicks off an hour long ugly cry to end all ugly cries. I feel stupid and useless and like the train that is my family is going off the track and I’m sitting by the wayside watching helplessly as it derails.

The Failure Alarm

None of my children liked the car seat so I’ve spent years listening to my babies cry their heads off in the car. I always feel so helpless when this happens since I can’t pick them up or take them out till we reach our destination. The louder, more frantic the cries become, the more I feel like I’m failing them. It’s my job to take care of their needs and not being able to do it makes me feel like an awful mom. I know in my head a little crying isn’t going to hurt them and other than being mad, they are otherwise ok, but call it mother’s guilt or blame postpartum hormones and Sydney’s car seat crying session added a special touch of UGLY to my cry-a-thon today.

There Is No “ME” In Mommy

I’ve noticed that some of my crying jags this week had a key component – one or more of my needs weren’t being met. I was hungry, but still breastfeeding the baby or changing the baby yet holding my bladder for too long, getting the baby to nap so I could do errands while I myself am tired. The longer I ignored what my body needed, the worse the crying. I’ve spent the last two weeks getting to know my new daughter, but at the same time pretending that I could still keep everything else in my household running smoothly the way I did before she was born.

Put On Your Oxygen Mask First

 

What I didn’t factor in was that I’d be back on baby time. It’s been nearly 5 years so maybe I forgot that once you have a newborn, you plan around their schedule. They don’t conform to yours. The price I was paying for this mistake is small pieces of my sanity. It makes me think of the instructions you get on an airplane. In the event of a crash you are supposed to put on your oxygen mask first, but how many moms do you know that think of their needs first? Certainly not this mom. BUT of course the reasoning is true – if you pass out you’re certainly not in any position to help your children. So I guess if I want next week to be less stressful and without so many melt-downs, I’ve got to start listening to my body when it tells me what it needs.

God bless my husband and my older children for putting up with me this week. Hopefully they don’t require too much therapy in the future to recover from the many many mommy melt-downs they’ve had to endure. Here’s what I know now. I can’t do it all and get everything done they way I did before. I have to accept my limitations and let go of my need to keep it all running smoothly. If the train derails I’m just going to have to say, “Alright kids, pick up your bags. It looks like we’re walking from here.”

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