I recently have had one of the toughest weeks of my life. Sick husband causes sick baby causes sick Me. I have never had to take care of someone else who doesn't feel good, while I feel like death warmed over. It sucks. Add this to life's general crap, and, well, it makes for a great story about how I can be a horrible mother some days. My body is not capable of complete rest at this stage in life. Knowing that Gage relies upon us as his parents to take care of him challenges us each in different ways. Curtis has the entire financial burden of providing for us. Thankfully, he works incredibly hard, and God always provides for us in abundance. But, still, it's exhausting. I feel the pressure of being constantly on call for booger retrieving, butt wiping, bottle mixing, and barf cleaning. And, I still have to manage to play with and smile at our son. Some days, as in this past week, that's been harder than ever. Nothing like the gentle reminder of a screaming infant to cause me to remember to take my birth control!
Not everyone realizes the affect a constantly needy person has on your marriage. We fall into bed exhausted and I am wondering if we even looked each other in the eye and said I love you with our full attention some days. It's a good thing that we have learned to make the most of our time together. Finally the weather is allowing some walks with Gage in the stroller. Gage has been going to bed around 7pm (before he was freaking out about the whole not being able to breathe due to his congested head) and there's that wonderful thing called Mother's Day Out. He went back today. And, thank God! I was completely at my wit's end. I remember yelling (yes, I yelled) at him at some point "I know you don't feel good, but mommy doesn't either!" And, this morning, I was just begging God that Gage would be ok enough to go to daycare, because I needed a nap and a break from him and his not feeling good.
The doctor said "No fever, just a freaking head cold. No Tylenol, please. It will work itself out." And I replied in my mind "Ok, will you please prescribe me some sedatives for my own sanity??" I swear, this is how people go crazy. Sleep depravation is used as a form of torture in POW camps. I am totally down with losing some sleep for my sick kid, but being sick myself has been a kick in the head. Again, adding that to the general drama that comes with life, I can see why those rich wives, and desperate middle class moms load up on the pills. Thank God I don't have any prescriptions available. They might have proved too tempting this week.
Don't let me forget to give credit to Curtis for helping as much as he can. Of course, he was sick and didn't feel 100% until Tuesday. By that time, Gage was already getting sick, and I was a close 3rd place. And, no one can ever pretend to understand a mother's responsibility. So don't try. Don't dumb it down. Don't you dare take away our credit. To every mom who does this life sober!
Another thing about how disappointed I am with this body hiding under my clothes these days. I might have lost the weight, but it's not the same. Maybe a tan and some more lunges. I know, time heals all wounds. Even the ones left by carrying a child around INSIDE your size 2 body for 9 months. Hello size 4, please tell me you're only here for a short stay. Oh, and abs, I know you're in there, and I WILL FIND YOU AND DRAG YOU INTO THE SUNSHINE, so help me!!
Gage finally caught up on his sleep with a 4 hour nap this afternoon. There IS A GOD! Motherhood and death row will drive a person to the Lord. I thought I was going to do pretty well with the loss of sleep, because I have always LOVED a good nap, but I can go without much sleep for ridiculously long periods of time. Before I met Curtis, I was working full time teaching Group Exercise at a few different places. I woke up every morning to be at the gym by 5am to start the day with a 5:30am class. I taught 2 more classes every week day morning, and afternoon/evening classes a few times a week as a fill in when needed. I woke up every Saturday for 3 years to teach a class at 8 or 8:30. I went through a rough patch where I was also staying out late, occasionally drinking too much, and staying overnight with friends. And, I still got up and did the gym thing. This was only 3 years ago. And, now, I have this small child, and I can barely keep it together. Maybe it's because I am not being paid for this sleep depravation! I am aware that I am investing in the future of a human being. I am also aware that I like to sleep when I feel like it. I was OK until the germs attacked me. They must have attacked my ability to stay sane as well.
So, what are we not telling you? Mothers aren't telling you how freaking hard this is sometimes. How much we cry, how frustrated and sometimes angry we get. How guilty we feel for not loving every minute of it. The horrible things that come to mind at 3am when you have to get up once again to take care of pooping and feeding and burping. Being tired, in the middle of the night, I think things that I would never imagine during my normal wakefulness. My exhausted mind allows me to consider never having more kids. Wishing this one would hurry up and just grow up already. Thinking how nice it would be to drop him off, go to Starbucks with a book and my iPod and not come back until I am good and ready. That could be several, several hours. Maybe 24 in a row! I dream of him being the age when you can drop your kids off for the whole weekend with a friend or family member and do our own thing. 24 hours without any crying. Oh verbal communication, I never realized how much I loved you. Gage will be learning sign language ASAP so he can communicate with me about simple things before he can really talk to me. It's like being ignored, and then forced to play a guessing game when he wants something. That's what no one is telling you. How much this sucks.
We aren't telling you how it feels to finally soothe a sad baby. How proud we are when they do something new. When you see the light bulb go off in their head. When you think they are finally catching on to something. When they smile for you. When they kicked and kicked inside your belly, and you knew you would never be alone again. You'd always have this little person who would grow into a big person, who would make you something you couldn't be without them. A mother.
I look forward to that little blonde boy bringing me weeds he calls flowers, and tracking mud into the living room. I look forward to messy hugs and sloppy kisses. This thing, motherhood, it has very few immediate returns. You can't be selfish. You can't do this and maintain some sense of detachment. You're all in it, and you can't get away from it. Even the ones that leave. You can't ever stop being a mother. We aren't telling you how it feels to invest in someone and just hope and pray they turn out completely different from yourself. Because you know how terrible of a person you can be sometimes. You give, literally, of your own body to bring this person here, and no one will ever make you angrier, happier, more sad, or more proud.