Today was one of those days. Well, really, last night was one of those nights. You know those nights when both kids wake up alternately, and the end result is that you get no sleep whatsoever? Those nights when your almost three-year-old asks for water for the 16 millionth time and it’s all you can do to not wing the sippy cup at his head (don’t worry, I would never actually throw something at my kid).
And then of course, every time the big one wakes up, the little one wakes up, too. My girlfriend (also a mother of two) said, “It’s like they can smell each other or something.” Since we co-sleep, for me, this just means flipping over in bed, but since I don’t have boobs on my back and my preschooler insists on cuddling forehead-to-forehead, it can still be tough to manage when both kids want me at the same time.
Needless to say, it was a two-cup of coffee kind of day. If I weren’t nursing, it probably would have been double that.
So today started with speech therapy for my big kid. Our speech pathologist is fantastic. She has two boys very close in age to my own, so we often share our daily battles, and it’s such a help to know that so many of us go through the same struggles on a regular basis. Some moms make it seem like they sail through motherhood without a bump in the road…I am not one of those moms and it’s a blessing to me to know that I’m not alone.
After speech, I called my sister. I was telling her about the rough night we had. While on the phone, I used the bathroom (no secrets between sisters). When I realized there was no toilet paper in the bathroom, I started crying. I mean, ridiculous tears at the lack of TP…and it turns out there was some in the cabinet, I just didn’t know it was there. She said, “What can I do?” I asked her to take my big boy for me for a bit and she said, “I’ll shower and be right over.”
After a good cry and knowing that help was on the way, I felt amazingly better.
So many people tell you so many things about becoming a mother. You’ll never love so strongly, you’ll never be the same again, you’ll sacrifice anything for your kids. All of that is true. But one of the things that often gets overlooked is how isolating motherhood can be. I think we’ve reached a point in our cultural existence where we do get to talk about the struggles on a regular basis. I think so many moms–like myself–don’t want to put on a happy face and act like the children are always angels, and I’m a picture of patience and my husband is the perfect companion and partner. I don’t believe that perpetuating that ideal is beneficial to those on the cusp of motherhood. So if you’re about to be a first time mother, let me tell you this…this shit is hard.
The children can be angels, but more often than not, they are pushing every single button I have. And patience?? Please. I try, I really do, but some days, my patience is all used up by 10 am. And my husband? He’s pretty great, but for one thing, he’s gone from 7 am to 6 pm, so that’s a whole lotta time on my own, and for another, he’s still a dude and he says and does stupid things (because that’s what dudes do).
So where does that leave a mom like me on a day like today? It leaves me falling back on my support system of other moms. And if I felt like all those moms had it together 100% of the time, I would not have felt okay asking for help. But I know they have their hard days too, and when they do, I’ll be there for them, just like they were there for me today.
Motherhood is the hardest gig I’ve ever had, and without my friends, I’m not sure I’d survive.