Photography Credit: eKate Photography
One of the biggest things that I was frustrated about when I became a mother was the cliches. I had the hardest time relating to all these things that these women were saying, on social media, anonymously, in articles…everywhere.
Women talked about how it was hard but worth it.
Women talked about how it was a love that they never could have imagined.
Women talked about how it was exhausting but amazing.
I would read this stuff and feel like I was from another planet. What was I doing wrong? What did I have to do or drink or think to get all of these amazing feelings? Was I defective? Did I need to go back to the factory and get rewired?
Turns out I did – the rewiring was just getting on some good drugs.
All kidding aside, there’s nothing more disconcerting than feeling like you are the only one on the planet who just. doesn’t. get. it. So it has been a pleasure to finally feel like I’m in the same ranks with a lot of these other mothers now.
The last couple of weekends were “exhausting, but amazing”.
I know, I know. Cliches, Molly? Aren’t you better than this?
But it really is true. I find myself with all sorts of weird, conflicting emotions now. Two weekends ago, it was a typical Virginia summer, so it was gross, sticky, hot, humid and blech. Both my husband and I had been in desperate need of some relaxation as our jobs had kicked in to overdrive during the week. But we also wanted to spend some quality time with our son since it had been several long evenings away from him during the week. So we came up with a series of activities to do on Saturday that involved both inside and outside events to offset the heat and then went to my in-laws on Sunday for the relaxation part.
We made it until about 4PM on Saturday before we wanted to pull our hair out. We were exhausted. The little guy is fun, amazing, fascinating, hilarious and wildly entertaining. But he is into EVERYTHING. He’s basically a tiny drunk tornado. He essentially gets into a room and then with precision accuracy, locates all dangerous objects that can either kill him or severely disable him. He then scampers off with a surprisingly fast crawl towards death to rip up anything that isn’t nailed down.
So we end up spending a couple of quality hours keeping him alive, dealing with his tantrums from being thwarted and then starting all over again.
Given all of this activity, when we finally put him down in his crib for bedtime, I was shocked to feel a pang of sadness as I realized I wouldn’t see him for next 10 – 12 hours while he got in some quality nighttime sleep.
…does. not. compute…
And yet, this simple conflicting emotion makes me feel refreshingly normal and human. I can finally utter those cliched expressions with some actual meaning behind them. I feel like I’ve just discovered fire. It’s incredible how important and meaningful that simple act of uttering a trite phrase feels.
So here’s to feeling like a normal, average (actually probably slightly mediocre) mom. I’ll take it!
For those of you still struggling through postpartum depression, this post comes after seven months of aggressive recovery through medication and psychotherapy. If it hasn’t happened for you yet, keep the faith. You can get better!