Being a mom is my actual dream come true. It is fun and exciting and full of sweetness. There is so much love and so much joy that comes with the title. But sometimes being a mom can also be hard. I don’t have a job, because this parenting gig is WORK. Suddenly you’re by yourself with this tiny person who is fully dependent on you. Usually it’s wonderful and beautiful and full of sweetness, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you’re alone and the baby is crying for the third consecutive hour for the third day in the row. You smell of baby vomit and you’re in the same outfit you’ve been wearing for two days. You try to nurse your screaming baby in hopes that it will bring some peace, but he can’t stop arching his back and whaling long enough to try and eat. It feels like that baby is doing it to you on purpose. It feels like he is trying to make things difficult. It feels personal.
Then that baby grows up a little bit, and starts trying to learn how to do everything on his own. While learning to eat he throws food and plates. He runs the other way when you say “come here.” He does everything you say not to. You enter the treks of potty-training and he sits on the toilet for 45 minutes crying how he’s all done and then immediately pees through his clothes, onto you. It feels mean. It feels spiteful. It feels personal.
In the beginning, I called my mom crying. This was everything I had ever wanted. I had dreamed of being a mom since I could remember. I wasn’t ignorant or oblivious, I knew there would be challenges, but it just seemed to all fall into one moment. Cody was back to work and me and Luke were sitting in bed, both crying and wearing yesterday’s clothes. Nursing was hard, like really hard. My boobs hurt in a way I couldn’t explain and it was most painful when he started or stopped, which he wanted to do every three minutes. He was hungry and mad and I didn’t know how to help. I didn’t know if I could help. He wasn’t making it any easier. I didn’t know I could be angry with my baby, but there I was. Crying and dirty, I called my mom. “It’s not personal, Ellie. He’s just figuring it out,” she told me.
While it seems obvious and simple, it’s not. If you have had a baby, you know this. If you are going to have a baby, hear it. It’s not personal. Your baby loves you. He appreciates you. He needs you. He’s just learning and figuring life out. This is true at 2 days old learning how to nurse, 2 months old learning how to manage a sleep schedule, 2 years old learning to potty train. They know you love them, they trust you. They just need help figuring it all out sometimes. So remember this when you walk into a poop-covered crib in the middle of the night, when nursing seems too hard, when teething starts. The sweet moments are always there, when you look for them. The tough ones, are worth it.
It all goes so fast, so don’t let yourself get stuck in the hard moments. Life is hard. But it’s also wonderful.