The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Motherhood is Just Tough

I know it get easier, and I know it is only a season in my life, but seriously... mothering small children is really, really tough. It starts out tough, and it doesn't get much easier.

My sister (who had her baby yesterday) is having a hard time getting the hang of breastfeeding, and she wants to. The baby latched improperly yesterday and she didn't really know it or know not to let her keep nursing with an improper latch, and it did enough damage to make the whole learning-to-nurse process much more painful than it even normally is (and as any nursing mom will attest to, it is difficult no matter what). However, I don't know a single nursing mom who didn't have a hard time with it at first, especially in the first couple of days before your milk comes in and the baby wants more milk than you are making. Breastfeeding is very hard in general, and only certain parts about it get easier. The funny thing is... it is kind of a perfect metaphor for mothering young children in general.
 You might think I am crazy, but follow me here...

The beginning is WAY harder than you ever imagine it will be. 
Gone is any spontaneity that used to be part of your personality.
You suddenly find yourself willing to sacrifice things you truly loved before.
There are times when you love it and wish this stage would never end, but there are also times when you feel the end of this stage will never come fast enough. 
Going out on a date or a girl's night out suddenly involves a whole heck of a lot of advanced planning. 
You occasionally feel trapped. 
You sometimes feel like this level of closeness between two people is just miraculous.

Some of your are probably thinking, "Wow, I can't believe she actually said that," about some of the things I said, but some of you who are or have been nursing mothers are probably thinking to yourself, "Wow, I have felt that way too..." even if you would never have actually said it. Well, I said it. Yes, I do sometimes feel trapped. There are parts of me who mourn things I have lost, even temporarily. I mourn the temporary loss of caffeine and citrus. I mourn the spontaneity that used to let me decide to go out with my friends on Friday night at 10pm on Friday night. There, I said it.

I love my children dearly. That is why I am willing to sacrifice so much for them.

But it has been a tough past week. The sun has been nice. The wind has not. I have been off my allergy meds because they bother Tiana's stomach. This means that the 9 trees, 7 weeds, and 5 grasses that I am highly allergic to (allergy tests back in 2009) get me crazy congested, and because of my asthma and allergies, it never quite flushes out, so I always end up with a sinus infection. Argh! When I went to the doctor today, I said, "Hello Doctor. I'm here for my monthly sinus infection." He laughed, but agreed that this is getting ridiculous (I was there less than a month ago for the last one), and at least he found another allergy med that he thinks should work and not interfere with breastfeeding or bother Tiana. I hate having sinus infections. It makes me wear down so easily in the day, and it makes it really hard to sleep at night because I cough so much. Bleh.

Okay, I whine too much, but seriously... rough week, particularly last 48 hours. While Natalie was having the baby, I wanted so badly to be there for her, but was barely able to because I just didn't have a sitter, even though I tried really hard to find one. I know we don't always get along very well, but seriously...  I'm her big sister. Its like my job to be there for her. I especially wanted to be there for her today when she was having trouble with breastfeeding. But it wasn't to be.

It was an awful night last night. It took me almost 2 hours to fall asleep because I couldn't stop coughing. Then, shortly after I fell asleep, I woke up at 1:30a.m. because Vinny had thrown up all over everything. Ugh. Thank God for my wonderful husband who took the awful job of cleaning the throw up off the high bunk of Vinny's bed. I got the much easier task of washing the throw up out of Vinny's hair. We made Vinny a bed on the couch, and went back to sleep, for like 30 minutes... and then it happened again. And we were changing linens again. Ultimately, my self-sacrificing husband slept in the living room with Vinny and managed to handle it himself the next 5 times it happened. I couldn't believe it when I woke up at 9:30 a.m. to find Marc had let me sleep while he handled the mess and even called in to work late so I could keep my doctor's appointment for my sinus infection today. When I finally got up and made it into the living room, there was my little baby boy (okay, my big baby boy), lying miserably on the couch. He didn't do much more than watch a lot of t.v. today, and I couldn't get him to drink much, but hopefully he will be alright tomorrow. I think it was just a 24 hour bug. I hope so, because I have plans to go to work tomorrow for a while.

Parenthood is tough.

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