in the thick of it.
there are many lies new parents are told. one of the most popular, aside from, “you can sleep when the baby sleeps,” is “it only gets harder from here. you will miss these days when they are older.”
each time i hear this lie… and i hear it a lot… i have to physically bite my tongue to stop myself from replying with a firm, “shove it up your ass.”
contrary to popular belief and to the memory of parents with older children who have successfully made it out of the newborn/infant woods – not every moment of parenting a baby is made of sweet cuddles and adorable smiles.
my mister and i have a twenty-one month old son and a five month old daughter. our lives are loud and dirty and smelly. diapers are endless. drool is ferocious. nights are long. i have spent hours – yes hours – carrying two babies under a year and a half at the same damn time because both my littles needed me and I simply couldn’t bear deciding who needed me more.
a newborn sure does smell delicious and it is a true delight to have the tiny person you created nap on your chest while she curls her hand around your finger. witnessing a newborn discover her world is pure magic.
but babies also bring cracked nipples, marathon nursing sessions, fevers, diaper rashes, ear infections, and sleepless nights (and by sleepless nights i mean nights i literally did not sleep a single wink.)
there is spilled breastmilk and there are tears. my god there are tears.
there are moments covered in vomit, poop, milk, mashed up bananas and tears.
have i mentioned the tears?
there. are. so. many. tears.
so while there are moments so profoundly majestic, there are also many moments that are nothing but hard.
i am certain i will not look back fondly on the days i found a tiny bit of someone else’s poop on my elbow.
nope. not every moment is worth savoring.
some moments i pray the clock would move a little faster.
some moments i eagerly listen for the sound of my husband’s truck in the driveway.
parenthood is the most awesome journey anyone can ever take, but sometimes it is still pretty awful.
so i would like to push for a change in the narrative.
i move make sure new mamas and babas know it is not only acceptable, but perfectly natural to love your babies but still crave a smidgen of time away from them. not enjoying every second or even every stage of parenthood does not make you a bad parent. i am thrilled my youngest is out of the newborn phase. babies who can sit up and hold their toys are more fun for me than newborns. admitting this does not make me a bad mom. it is more than fine to not “cherish every moment.”
when mothers are in the thick of it… and i mean the slathering jelly on waffles for your toddler while carrying a nursing newborn and wearing vomit stained maternity leggings thick of it… motherhood doesn’t feel so magical. it feels like the goddamn worst. on those days you don’t have to savor – you just have to survive.
and while every day won’t be terrific, they won’t all be terrible either. in fact, some days you will feel so lucky to be a mama you will pinch yourself to make sure your life is real. there will be the day your child discovers his shadow, the day he eats his first ice cream cone, the day you play and dance and sing so hard the hours roll by unnoticed. the good days and the beautiful moments will far outweigh the rotten ones. this i can promise.
but still… some days are covered in shit. and i mean that in the most literal sense of the word. shit. some days are covered in shit.
so to the parents out there sick of hearing how precious these moments are: do not – i repeat – do not let anyone make you feel guilty for wishing some days away… for wanting to clean your house instead of cuddle your baby… for scrolling instagram instead of reading to your newborn… for losing your temper… for praying they would just go the f to sleep already.
and to the well meaning parents who have made it out the other side: save your advice. to be honest we don’t have the ability to absorb it now anyway. if you feel deeply compelled to say something of worth to a new mother i suggest trying, “i know these days are really hard. let me hold the baby so you can drink your coffee while it is still hot.”