Not that there haven’t been some rough spots.
There is the chronic depression and anxiety that’s been hanging around since my adolescence. There was the alcoholic, emotionally abusive boyfriend. There was that one job I was let go from (which I still feel bitter about). There was the time the bottom dropped out of the economy about a year and a half into my career as a full-time freelancer (which eventually led to an inability to sell our condo). There were the three and a half years it took us to get pregnant. There was that time we almost separated.
But I tend to approach everything with the attitude that someone else probably has it worse, so I should probably just shut my damn trap and quit it with the “woe is me” Sturm und Drang.
Though obviously, in the moment, I can tend toward the melodramatic.
Still, when the tide turns (as it inevitably does), I can’t help but think I’m pretty darn lucky. That things, for the most part, come easily.
And the same is true of motherhood.
Sure, I puked multiple times during labor, and lost a lot of blood during delivery. Sure, my nipples hated life the first month or so of breastfeeding. Sure, I felt overwhelmed and claustrophobic and helpless at first, and cried every other day. Sure, Em is screaming bloody murder right now as I try to get stuff done, only quieting when I pick her up and dance that particular figure eight dance with her.
But there is so much else that is good, and reminding myself of those things makes me feel gratitude at times when I might instead succumb to frustration.
Still, I worry that I’m too lucky. That I will reveal these things and all the moms with the tired eyes and the spit-up on their shirts and the houses that look like cluttered hellscapes will read this and… and… I don’t know. Key my car.
But it’s important to celebrate these things. To be as vocal about the good as one is about the bad. Because being vocal makes the bad that much easier to deal with.
So here are 10 things I’m afraid to admit to other moms:
1. I never intended to breastfeed. But Em and I took to it pretty easily, despite the chapped and irritated nipples during those early days.
2. Even at the beginning, Em slept pretty well. Sure, she woke up several times during the night, and could sometimes take awhile to get back down. But it wasn’t terrible and now, at about 3 1/2 months, she sleeps through the night… and I can still sleep in every morning.
3. My morning shower is not a rare luxury; it is still just my normal reality. Sometimes, I can even squeeze in my morning shower before she wakes up. And when that doesn’t happen, I feed her, plop her into her Rock n’ Play, and pull her into the bathroom so I can make faces at her as I wash my hair and scrub myself down.
4. I still have plenty of time to read. Like when I’m nursing Em. And every night before bed.
5. I also still have time for yoga. Though obviously not as much time as before.
6. I’m lucky enough to have lots of family close by to help me out, so that I don’t have to pay for childcare. My mother-in-law comes over on Mondays. My mom comes over on Fridays. And both of them help out when I want to go out sans baby, or when Michael and I want to go out together, just the two of us.
7. Speaking of which, my life doesn’t only revolve around motherhood and work. I’m still able to go to Toastmasters meetings two to three times a month. And someone’s always willing to help out and watch Em if I want to teach a special workshop at the yoga studio. And just this past weekend, Michael and I even went to a wine-making class together.
8. My husband helps out when he can. Sure, I sometimes want to strangle him because he can’t truly understand what it’s like to be the primary caregiver while still picking up a paycheck. But he gets to work from home once a week, so I can sometimes pass Em off to him if I need an hour or two of quiet time to write. And when he comes home from work every evening, he gives Em her bath and puts on her PJs and feeds her and puts her to bed. And during the night, if she cries (an occurrence that’s admittedly becoming quite rare), he’s the one to get up and change her diaper and bring her to me. And on the weekends, he watches her so I can go to yoga. And after that one meltdown I had because I felt I was getting nothing done, he now takes the time every morning to clean the dirty dishes in the sink. It’s a small thing that often feels huge.
9. It took me less than a month after delivering Em to fit back into my bikinis and my yoga leggings and my skinny jeans. And three and a half months in, I actually weigh less than I did pre-pregnancy. Because magic? (Don’t hate me!)
10. Emily is actually the cutest baby in existence, superior to all other babies. I’m sorry. These are just facts.
Maybe next time we can talk more about poop-splosions or the fact that the cat peed on the Fisher-Price Rainforest play mat or the fact that a telemarketer just called and woke Em up from a nap and swear words happened.
But for now, let’s all just bask in the glow of the good stuff.
(image by JD Hancock, via Flickr)