Good parent/bad parent: the modern parenting facade

I am no angel but lately I have been asking myself a lot about the American parent dichotomy. This “perfect on the outside, shit on the inside” facade that we are all barely holding together.Where are my truthers? 

Where are my unknown friends who have sat sobbing on the kitchen floor at midnight, with dinner burnt, your boobs hanging out, and your baby screaming? 

Where are the women who forgot for 6 or more weeks what it was like to live with sex, sleep, and any rationale control of your hormones?

Where are the woman who love their children fiercely, but occasionally have thought “could I give you back for an hour?”

Where are these truthers hiding? I can’t hear you among the pleas of my peers for acceptance, approval.

14 weeks of parenting has afforded me very little time behind this maniacal wheel, but what I do know is that “you know nothing.” 

Jon Snow be damned, I am giving it my best shot.

As I sit here, snowed in by Jonas, mounds of laundry piling up, struggling to breast feed and hoping the snow lasts till June so I never have to leave, I am reminded of the times I do get right. Half of them are by chance while the other half is hard work. Regardless, the triumph of these moments is all the greater because of the shitty odds of the battle going in, and the masterful f***-ups that somehow got you here.

Truth: I feel like I do more work than my husband.

Truth: he feels like he does more work than me.

Truth: we both are often working to what feels like our limits and sleep is not what it used to be. 

Truth: today I own my my duality. I am a good parent. I am a bad parent. 

P.s. Nap-time, you are a cock tease. I am beginning to loathe you as much as those perfect princesses with their Einstein infants, Martha Stewart magic, and white girl angst. 

A whole new view

The first time I saw this shirt, it was on my husband.  We were in a Wendy’s parking lot in Morgantown, WV because he had gotten lost. I was so nervous. It was our first date.

I stumbled out of bed this morning, planning on packing up the baby and heading out for doctor appointments and a chance to see my sisters.  I have never been good at seeing what is right in front of me. I can see the whole picture, everything that needs done, but ask me to see what is right in front of my face and I miss it more often than not. 

In my morning haze, I had thrown on clothes as I stumbled towards the kitchen to let the dog outside. Sam had Arden and was reading to her. I never saw what I put on. 

Today, with a snow storm barrelling towards us, I managed to see what was in front of me and we stayed home. After a brief “relapse” into my frantic big-picture-gotta-get-stuff-done mentality, I sat down rock Arden to sleep, I looked down at her beautiful smiling face and saw the shirt. 

For one moment I was 23 and worried about what I had on, whether I should hug him, shake his hand, or just say “hey.”  I saw the shirt in my living room as he awkwardly spit cherry pits into a bowl.  I saw the shirt as he came back for a second kiss after having already left. He “couldn’t wait a week for another.”  I saw the shirt with our daughter’s hands softly resting on it and I realized that for all my big picture scheming, I never saw this. 

Almost 8 years later, I am surprised at how well the shirt has held up. But today I am most surprised that I saw what was in front of me.   The first time I saw this shirt I almost missed the moment for all the worries and anxieties of a first date. 

Today, I am trying a new view.

Well, at least she pooped.

I would like to practice gratitude more frequently.  I would ALSO like to start off each day with a million dollars but that rarely happens either. 
The last three days have been  particularly challenging, but with all the roughness that has occurred, from broken down cars to a sick baby, there have been some really special moments. 

For the first time, today I got to do yoga with Arden, and it was wonderful. As I sit here holding my sleeping daughter, I am thankful. Despite all the things I could be worried about, my constipated baby pooped and my sister is coming to visit. Life is good.

I let my doctor shame me (then my daughter almost rolled off the bed)

Frantic dashes to make up for lost time, OMG did she just roll over? What am I thinking? Why am I so angry? 
Before I go any further, I should say, I was warned. I was warned, but I thought I was stronger than postpartum depression. (Which is horribly named) This depression has less to do with the baby or hormones and has everything to do with the fact that this precious bundle of joy is here, exhausting us to the point of no return and magnifying the glaring inadequacies of our lives we have done so well to paste together until now. 

Enter stage right…a huge pile of mail, my husband’s impending trek back to work, and the end of maternity leave staring me baldly in the face. Everything seems like too much. 

The whole world should be stopping to mourn the fact that I won’t be with my daughter! I am devastated and can’t figure out why no one else sees this as the greatest issues on earth. Screw global warming.

While this is deeply personal, I feel it is too important not to share, and I do so with some embarrassment.

I lost my mind yesterday because I can’t do it all. At one point, feeling laundry was more important than just holding my little girl, I laid her on the bed and began to put clothes away. In the blink of an eye, she went back to belly and I almost missed all of this because I was so angry and consumed with what I “had” to do. 

A month ago I went to my doctor, overwhelmed, scared, discouraged. I had decided to talk to her about meds for depression. I have worked in mental health, I believe medical professionals and that meds can help. I also believe they are over prescribed, so I was tentative in my discussion with her. 

She went ahead and wrote a script but as she did stated that she “didn’t suppose this would dope my baby up too much.”

1 month later, I haven’t filled the script. I have tried meditation. I have tried convincing myself I can do what has to be done and let the other things go.  

I don’t want to dope my baby up. 

But I also don’t want to miss my daughter’s firsts because I am too afraid of what someone might think.  

Ok, I’ll admit it; I am jealous of my husband.

He looks so good in his jeans and they are never too tight. It is sexy when HE doesn’t shave.

And right now, he can sleep on a dime while I am awake thinking of everything that needs done before the baby wakes up.

While this may sound like I am whining, I am not. My husband Sam is the yin to my yang. I go from 0-90 in less than a second; he is slow starter, but his patience and humor underline the wisdom and calm he brings to my life.

It has been said that nothing changes your marriage like having a kid; I really didn’t believe it would for us. We had had a few rough years (by first world standards) and by 30 had lived through many hospitlazations, chronic illness, endless job searches, moves, living with parents, no money, borrowing money from family to pay rent, buy medicines, groceries, etc. To top it all off the baby was coming after shingles and year of morning sickness so bad I lost 54 lbs by the time I delivered, passed more than 10 kidney stones without medication, fought Lyme disease,and and faced more hospitalizations and daily herxing reactions than I care to remember.

Surely, after all of that, maintaining our marriage throughout parenting would be a breeze.

I can tell you right now, 11 weeks in, it isn’t. I have stooped lower and been more intentionally selfish in the last 11 weeks than I have been in my entire six years of marriage!

For example, the other night I pinched my peacefully sleeping husband because I was awake and nursing. I, a grown-a** college educated woman, pinched my sleeping husband because I wanted to go to sleep so badly. His waking up had nothing to do with my ability to sleep. I still had a baby to nurse. All those sleepless nights, days spent fighting an insane disease had not prepared me for taking care of a child 24/7, 365 days a year forever.

Don’t get me wrong, I love some middle of the night time I get with our first child. What I am trying to shine a light on is the fact that I THOUGHT life had prepared me to be stressed, sleepless, not feel good, etc. and in all that I EXPECTED to have the same relationship with my partner, my best friend, my confident but that *%^*%>% seems to sleep whenever he wants, shower for however long he wants, and just look so dang carefree and good in his jeans…
Life is not fair.