Reflections On A Year of Motherhood

January 5, 2012

A picture of Gilead from this morning with crazy, unwashed hair (I can’t even remember last the last time he took a bath) and one of his 4 “spears” with which he has taken to chasing Griffy from couch to couch. Heaven help that dog when Gilead can climb the couches.

There are some days, like today, when I feel like life couldn’t possibly get much crazier or more full of shit to do. You know, not fun stuff like taking your one-year-old out to lunch at Two Toots, but the random crap that virtually makes up an entire life; that you spend what feels like your whole life just getting done – cleaning the kitchen (that damn thing just has to keep being cleaned) and running laundry up and down three flights of stairs while your toddler is screaming in his pack n’ play. That kind of shit.

I feel like an irreverent tone helps with conveying exactly what it takes to get through being a mom. When I watched “The Help” the other night (amazing movie) I couldn’t help but identify the tiniest bit with some of the maids – obviously sans devastating privations and discrimination. When your whole life goes from being about you, you, you to being about doing everything for someone else all the time, you feel it. You feel the lack of alone time or the freedom to go out with the girls without arranging everything for said little person beforehand or having to still care for him while trying to get in a satisfying conversation.

This is the precise reason I haven’t blogged since September. Well, that and the fact that I’ve just been busy doing other things, which, no, I didn’t take pictures of and which I don’t even care about writing about. I guess I’m just not a blogger at heart. It’s ok.

But I do feel like I’ve gathered a few – we’ll call them reflections. I can’t say any of this will apply to anyone else, but if it does, great.

Gilead crying on his last day of being under 1 because he can’t have the camera and playing with one of his new Christmas toys.

 

1. The number one thing I’ve noticed is that things WILL change, but it will happen slowly. I mean this about some of the early hard stuff that gets better. There have been several times throughout the year I’ve had occasion to reflect and realize that things are better. It happens almost imperceptibly, but it’s there. One day you’ll realize you have a baby who will play by himself for half an hour and sleep for two predictable times during the day and that you have lost 5 lbs. and can actually fit back into your pre-baby jeans. Or that nursing doesn’t hurt anything it used to anymore. It happens. As John Shuffle told me the other day to remember about parenting, “this too shall pass.”

2. Some shit doesn’t change. Like, maybe, you have a one year old who refuses to sleep in his own bed and screams bloody murder when separated from you so that the downstairs neighbor decides to come up at 11 p.m. while your husband is walking him around in his underwear and offer some “help.” And night after night you just give in and nurse him and ask yourself, “how much more of this can I take?”

3. You can take quite a lot, actually.

4. You can be very productive and even happy on surprisingly little sleep.

5. It takes about a month to adjust to your new amount of sleep.

6. Even if everyone is telling you that nursing is only hurting because you have red hair or fair skin, it’s still bad advice. It may make it take a little longer, but it’s not the only reason. And cracking and bleeding nipples are NOT normal.

7. Nursing is worth toughing out the pain at the beginning. I had 10 weeks of it and I hardly even remember it. The bond we have far outweighs the cost.

8. Colic is when the baby can’t be soothed by nursing. It might be because the baby is sensitive to the dairy you’re eating. If you have to give up dairy for a bit, you’ll survive and you’ll be a lot happier. This, too, is worth maintaining the nursing relationship.

9. If you can afford any amount of getting someone else to clean your house; DO IT.

10. Ditto for the occasional take-out meal. It’s not worth ruining the precious time you have with your husband to fight about how you have to cook and clean all the time.

11. Sometimes you need to have fights with the little time you have together. Everything has changed, after all. If it doesn’t cause tension for one or both of you (not all the time, probably, but sometimes), that would be strange.

12. tell him exactly what you need and want. he REALLY can’t read your mind.

13. Let him figure out how to do stuff with the baby on his own. You’ll be delighted by what he does. and sometimes amused.

14. Sex is possible. You’d be amazed how less talk and more, um, action, really is the ticket sometimes. For both of you.

15. get some friends to watch the baby for free for a couple of hours every week and have a date night. even a couple of hours away will make you super glad to see your baby again when you come home.

16. Watching movies together and talking at night is possible too. Almost the same as before you have a baby. It’s going out that takes a lot more coordination.

17. Last but not least. Enjoy the hell out of that baby. Let the dishes stay dirty and the floor un-swept. Like I said, it’s just the shit you’re gonna have to do over again anyway tomorrow. The baby is only going to be this way right now. IT GOES REALLY REALLY FAST.

I have to go rescue said baby from the bedroom. He likes to shut doors now. 🙂

 

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5 Responses to “Reflections On A Year of Motherhood”

  1. Taryn Says:

    Amen, girl. Amen. And I appreciated the generous use of the word “shit.” It’s just so appropriate for parenting, so much of the time. Both in terms of the physical shit and the emotional crap. Blessings on your new year with your babe. I mean, toddler.

  2. Emily Says:

    I concur. Use of profanity does make talking about parenting MUCH more fun. I’d love to meet you someday, Jen!

  3. emily Says:

    This was great–I wish I’d written down all of the things I learned in the first year. A lot of mine would be the same. Except I don’t have red hair so I had never heard that before! 🙂

    Emily

  4. Kirsten Guidero Says:

    Jenn, this is fabulous! If I’m ever a mom, I hope I do it with your style, honesty, and hilariousness. Also, the very intense/mischievous/calculating look on Piggle’s face in the first shot totally cracked me up–*perfect* blend of you and Henry, in a really weird but really awesome way!

  5. Henry Says:

    Do NOT mess with that Piggle 🙂 Also, it’s true that I can’t read minds.


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