Before last Saturday, I hadn’t been away from both girls for longer than 30 minutes, maybe an hour. They have accompanied me on every family visit and errand run. Thanks to the Moby Wrap and our third floor apartment, I am pretty confident that I will have legs of steel by the time I go back to work. My days consist of pumping, nursing, potty training, colors, ABCs, Elmo, Abby, cooking, cleaning, and I’m pretty sure I’m on a first-name basis with the UPS guy.
And I love it. Yes, it’s overwhelming when you have two little people that can’t articulate what they want crying for you at the same time. Yes, it gets lonely when your only interaction with people your age is watching Saved By The Bell and Supernatural reruns on Netflix. And OMG, is it tiring when your toddler spends the entire night crying in pain because she has some God-awful hand-foot-mouth disease and when you finally get her to settle down and fall asleep, the newborn has started her night feeding shift, so you average 30 seconds of sleep.
But it’s an amazing feeling to look into the eyes of your newborn and feel a connection that can’t be put into words. Finding ways to teach your child the basics really challenges your mind in a “I like to solve puzzles” kind of way. There is nothing funnier than the spontaneous laughter that erupts when your child makes the craziest face. Or the pure joy you feel when you experience her excitement over the littlest things. Being home with the girls helps me to appreciate the little things in life. It keeps me focused on what matters most to me.
However, it’s not all sunshine and peaches and cream. It definitely has its share of rain and storms. Life as a mom and life with two children is not what I imagined it would be. At times, it’s better than anything I could have ever dreamed of. Other times, it’s harder than anyone could have prepared me for. And not the dirty diapers, you’ll never sleep again kind of hard. It’s a deep, this is different than anything I’ve ever known before kind of hard. I never paid much attention to the ingredient list when buying groceries. Now I’m Googling anything that looks suspicious. I’m constantly worried about doing the right thing and making sure I’m protecting my babies.
I want to be a good mom. I want them to think I’m a good mom. When they’re my age, I want them to tell people they have the best mom ever, and mean it. They are at the forefront of every decision I make. And they also cause me a considerable amount of mom guilt. So much so that it can be easy for me to lose myself in them.
And that’s how I found myself about to have a meltdown in the middle of my closet last Saturday. Tempess had been sick all week. We thought she was teething at first, but found out she had Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. Because of the sores in her mouth, her crying was elevated to a new level that no parent that loves their child should ever have to endure knowing there’s nothing they can do to help. I was dog-tired because Tempess and Tové were tagteaming me and my heart hurt for my toddler. My mom had offered to babysit them so that we could go out for Todd’s birthday, but I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her when she was sick. I felt like a
To top things off, after I finally got Tempess to settle down for a nap long enough for me to shower, I came down with theeeee worst chills. Standing in the boiling hot shower that was literally too hot to stand and I was covered in goosebumps. I still didn’t know what I was gonna wear but decided it should probably be something thin enough for summer but long enough to provide some warmth if I was gonna have the chills all night.
Standing in my closet, I began to mix and match a bunch of tops and bottoms, trying to find the perfect outfit. Of course, I wanted to be cute, but I also needed comfort and practicality built in. After all I was going to have to take some pumping breaks in between whirlyball and the bars. And if we ended up having to walk to the bars, I didn’t need my shoes expiring before I even got to the bar. Todd was ready in five minutes while I was still assessing my options. I grabbed what I had and started the process of trying things on to see how they looked together. First pair of pants wouldn’t go past my thighs. *sigh* Second pair, with a little help from jumping up and down and jiggling from side to side got over my hips, but refused to fasten. *sigh* Third pair: SUCCESS! But now they don’t go with the top I had on. So I had to change tops. No problem. I’m putting on my shoes when Todd comes in: “Are you sure you want to wear those. I don’t think heels are a good idea for whirlyball. You should wear flats.” *big f’in sigh* These pants were not made to be worn with flats. And we were already late for dropping the girls off to my mom.
And with that came, a huge meltdown. I realized that my options for outfits were limited. All I wanted to do was look cute and go out and have some fun. This was much simpler when I didn’t have to factor in engorgement, pumping, mid-section pudges, the fact that my weight has been deflating and ballooning for the past three years or not knowing how my once cute and comfy heels would feel on my feet after 10 months of pregnancy. Yes, going out for a night on the town was much simpler before I was a MOM.
I quickly grabbed a pair of my bigger jeans, hoped they’d fit, tied a belt around them so I wouldn’t have plumber’s butt and ran out the door. On the way out, I glanced in the mirror and thought: “I look like such a mom.” I definitely didn’t achieve the look I was going for and on top of that, the sweater that I was wearing did nothing for the chills I was still battling with.
I could avoid mirrors all night, but my breasts refused to let me forget that I was still a mom of a newborn the entire night. And with that I came to the realization that I can change the way I dress, I could send the girls away, but I couldn’t stop being a mom. It’s the one job that doesn’t come with PTO benefits. And my closet isn’t okay with that.
I love being a mom, but I’m not just a mom. And trying not to fall into that trap is hard.
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