How quickly we forget…

A woman I know – a brand new mom – reached out on Facebook the other day to mention how much her world had been rocked by the arrival of her son.  She mentioned this without a positive or negative spin.  There was no whining or wonder, just a mom noting how much her life had changed and how much hard work parenting a newborn is.

Then came the responses. There were so many women telling her to enjoy her baby! Cherish these moments! Change is good! He is adorable! Welcome to your new normal!  Your life has been changed for the better! It is a love you’ve never known! Welcome to MY world – now you get it! You’ll miss these days when they’re gone!

Blarghggghhlll, these posts gave me reflux.

How do we forget so quickly?

Why does “We’ve done it, so can you.” sound so dismissive rather than supportive?

The subtext of so many of these types of comments seems unkind and unsupportive:

Enjoy your baby! (Stop whining. We’ve all been there.)

Cherish these moments! (Stop whining. Why dwell on the bad stuff?)

Change is good! (Stop whining. What did you expect?)

How do we forget that the newborn “new normal” is occasionally terrifying, always exhausting, and can throw a person completely off kilter, no matter how much they love the little milky, loose-skinned, froggy-legged baby asleep on their chest?

Smiling. And exhausted. June, 2010.

Smiling. And exhausted. June, 2010.

I think my poet friend’s response was best “You are doing it! And you can do it! ❤ ❤ ❤ No subtext.  Just support and love from another new mom who isn’t so far past that newborn world-rocking that she forgets what it is like.

Because it is so hard – it is bigger, more all-encompassing than that even.  And you just do it.  You get through the days, you get through the nights. You have good moments, bad ones, lots of tired ones.  You call in your village if you have one.  Or you call your village if they are far away.  Or you call your doctor.  You accept help, pay for it, ask for it, or struggle through without it.  You do it.  You just do.

June 2010. Pickle, Baby Bear and Me.

June 2010. Pickle, Baby Bear and Me.

I’m making a promise to myself that I’ll try my darnedest not to forget the feelings, the exhaustion, the crazy way the universe shifted completely when Pickle was born.  And I promise my friends that I’ll never demand that they cherish their baby and enjoy every damn moment.  I’ll just love them, remind them of their own strength, hold them up when they need me to and bring dinner when possible.

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After Eight: An Ode to Motherhood

After Eight: An Ode to Motherhood

*****
The cool night has arrived and day is drawing to a close.
The smell of sweet, clean babies, it still lingers in your nose.
The house is finally quiet, no more whines or yells or cries.
The kids are bedded down, and they’ve closed their heavy eyes.
No one wants more water, one more book or one more hug.
It’s time for some relaxing. Wait, what IS that on the rug?
Ignore it, step right over, don’t you worry your poor head.
Change your clothes, and wash your face and get yourself to bed.

*****
The playroom has exploded, there are dishes in the sink.
The laundry hangs from backs of chairs, the cat’s covered in ink.
Your cell phone jingles softly from its hiding spot, but where?
You rub your eyes, and scratch your head. There’s oatmeal in your hair.
The oatmeal was for breakfast, which means it’s been there all day.
Now you know why grocery clerks were looking at you that way.
Looking ‘round you wonder just how long clean-up will take.
Stop wondering, go brush your teeth, ‘twill be there when you wake.

*****
Slumping down onto the couch, a comfy little nest!
But if you went to bed right now it’d be eight hours rest.
Though Project Runway’s on, and you could sit, relax, unwind.
And have a glass of wine perhaps? To ease your harried mind?
You note your stomach’s rumbles, and you only then recall
Dinner was an orphaned nugget, dipped in ranch, that’s all.
You ponder ice cream? Toast? Or chips, piled in a heap.
Forget the snack, forget the wine and get yourself to sleep.

*****
You make a hard deal with yourself, before the day’s complete.
One load of laundry, one show, some bills and a small bite to eat.
But once you’re paying bills you note the budget needs re-doing,
And while you’re at it, darn, those kitchen chairs do need regluing.
While washing gluey hands you think you’ll just wash a few dishes.
But whoops, cupcakes forgotten for tomorrow’s birthday wishes!
Too late to bake, so to the store to find cupcakey treats?
Forget it! Buy them in the morn. Go climb between your sheets!

*****
You climb the stairs, exhausted when – oh shoot! – today’s the day!
The deadline to sign up the kids for music, swim, ballet!
While writing out the checks you find some paperwork neglected.
Tomorrow is school picture day, outfits to be collected.
But all is dirty, so one more load gets tossed into the wash,
And while you wait for it to run, might as well mop and floss.
A few more hours, chores half done, you give up the good fight.
Yes, there is still goo on the rug, but Mama, say goodnight!

Things that would make me feel great…

#1 – Leaving the house feeling at least a LITTLE put-together in the morning.  Usually my hair is wet, my shirt is wrinkled, and I’m sans make-up.  I would guess that most folks think I look fine, but it isn’t how I look that irks me, it’s how I feel.  I feel like a running-behind, I-guess-this-shirt-is-clean mess most days.  Today it was cold, so I used that as an excuse to turn up the heat and the fan in my car.  Please raise your hand if you’ve ever attempted to use your car’s heating system as a blow-dryer.  (Sheepishly raises hand.)  More times than I’d like to admit.  Even in the summer.

#2 – Exercising more.  This is a no-brainer.  In addition to the physical and mental benefits, it would also allow me to catch up on the 175 podcasts that I have not yet listened to.  These poor, unheard podcasts cause me to suffer from psychic guilt.  A little time on the elliptical –> podcast listening –> a minor item checked off my to-do list every day + the feeling like I am not falling completely behind when it comes to popular culture.

#3 – Putting on make-up.  Even typing that makes me cringe.  I’m not the made-up type.  I regularly leave the house un-showered, wearing outfits that make me turn and run from anyone I recognize in the grocery store, lest they see me and wonder what has happened to my sanity.  But a little eyeliner, a little mascara does make me feel a little better – like I made a small effort not to look so tired and frazzled.  Instead, I always feel tired and frazzled, like I’m running behind the put-together train shouting, “Wait for me!”

I have one child.  A woman I know has three children under the age of four.  She always looks perfect.  And I’m pretty sure she exercises and is caught up on her podcasts.  In order to accomplish these things,  I imagine that she either has to (a) ply the kids with caramels, lollipops and TV; (b) lock them all in a small, child-proofed room for 30 minutes every day and allow the sound of the blow dryer to drown out their pleas and screams; or (c) wake up at 4am.  Maybe all three.  Actually, she’s probably already up at 4am sewing their little matching Halloween costumes, ironing her husband’s shirts and baking mini-souffles for her mommy-and-me group.  Me?  I’ll sleep as long as my little one will let me, and attempt to remember mascara tomorrow.  Baby steps, right?

Sew What?

I can’t sew.  I mean, I made a teddy bear when I was in 8th grade.  I’ve stitched a straight line to finish some Ikea curtains. But when I’m poking around the internet, looking at the cute clothes I often think to myself, “I could make that!”  Now, it is very likely that I could not make that.  But I have inherited the “I could make that” gene from my mother.  Only problem is that she – my mother the Home Ec teacher, and master crafter – CAN indeed, make that.  I DO own an amazing sewing machine (that She-Who-Can-Make-That bought me).  But so far, just looking at it isn’t getting anything accomplished.  Shocking, I know.

I could make this, right?

Itti Kid cuteness

I probably couldn’t make this.  But doesn’t she look just like a beautiful little giftie from Tiffany?

Kate Quinn Organics - so lovely!

Cuteness overload.

Baby Boden - I love you. Like, so much.

Important note: these companies don’t know me, but I love their clothes, and they shouldn’t worry about me actually copying their designs, unless simply looking at a sewing machine somehow magically creates a garment – and as mentioned previously, no luck there so far.

Second important note:  Mr. Pickle Pumpkin is a boy.  And gestating plum baby is an unknown.  Does drooling over dresses mean we’re looking at double XX chromosomes this time around?  Stay tuned…