Some days, I am totally fine. Everyone is in a good mood, I’m feeling like I at least have it semi-together, things fall into place, the wheels are turning, the day goes smoothly.
You may have these days, too.
Some days, everything starts out normal then gradually goes south. It begins with breakfast and coloring and happy faces and ends with screaming and crying and lots of messes.
You may have these days, too.
Tonight, my 3-month-old daughter scream-cried for an hour and a half. With a 15 minute sleep break. It happened during what is supposed to be the with our two and 4-year-old. Needless to say, the timing was less than ideal…
I went through the checklist of what could be wrong:
- ? No.
- Dirty diaper? No.
- Too hot? No. Too cold? No.
- Hungry? Want to nurse? No.
- Want a pacifier? No.
- Want to bounce and shush and fall asleep? No.
- Want to stand up? Sit down? Rock? No. No. No.
She didn’t want anything I was offering. I couldn’t soothe her. I didn’t have the correct combination or the right answer.
And in this moment, I felt defeated.
As I stood bouncing my daughter in in my room, dirty from a day of spit-up and germs and food spills, and going on day two of the same nursing tank, longing to feel the hot water from a shower—I felt defeated.
As I switched positions, tried to offer her my breast, then a pacifier, then tried singing, then back to shushing, then rubbing her back, then patting her back, then checking her diaper, wishing for a magic spell to know what she needed—I felt defeated.
As I looked around the house at the piles on the floor, the toys strewn about, the that clutters my brain, unable to do anything about it because of the screaming baby in my arms, deep-breathing through my anxiety—I felt defeated.
As I started to get my baby to calm down and fall asleep, my 2-year-old came in with a stick of butter asking me to open it—waking the baby because I took the butter from her and so the screaming began again—I felt defeated.
As I ran through the checklist of all that still needed to get done before the end of the day, looking at the clock—6:45, 6:50, 7:00—realizing I’d be going to bed by 2:00 a.m. if I attempted to get even half of my list done—I felt defeated.
As I rocked and bounced and swayed for an hour and a half, clutching my baby, tension running through my body—my back hurt, my legs were sore, I had to pee—I felt defeated.
As I listened to the crying, while trying to keep an eye on what my older two were doing, while feeling completely overwhelmed, I prayed for someone to come in and hug me and help me. I felt lonely. I felt like I was drowning.
And I felt defeated.
I couldn’t fix what was going on, and it seemed like we both felt a bit panicked because of that.
So I just kept shushing and bouncing and patting and praying.
And then, after a big burp, she calmed down enough to nurse.
And then she fell asleep.
And it was quiet.
And the big girls went to bed.
And I took some deep breaths.
And I composed myself.
And I felt better.
I know I’m a good mom. I’m confident that I am the best mother for my children. But in these moments of complete and utter overwhelm, I forget. I totally forget I’m good at this.
I succumb to the madness—and I cry.
I cry because this is so hard.
I cry because I hope I’m giving it my all.
I cry because I want to have all the answers.
I cry because, well, I kind of feel bad for myself in the situation.
I cry, but I never give up.
Mothers are resilient. We have a quiet superhuman strength inside of us that we hardly even notice ourselves. Because we just do it. We just deal with the hard and solve the problem. We just get it done. We just fix it.
So mamas, if you felt defeated today, I’m with you.
But I want us to remember that tomorrow is a new day.
And mostly I want us to remember that we are good at this.
We’re really flipping good at this.