Baby · being a mommy · women

Long Days

It’s 3:30 am where I live.

Little Man is (finally) asleep (again) across my lap.

He’s had a growth spurt. Or scary dreams. Or something. He keeps waking up every two hours. He’s not hungry. He’s tired.

As am I.

But try explaining THAT to a seven week old.

On top of that, this particular bout of screaming awakeness woke me out of a dream where he and I had been kidnapped.

Scary.

So now I just want him laying here, with his crunchy breathing and his drool soaking through my pajamas.

I absolutely love being home all day with my son. But I’m beginning to understand why some women say they couldn’t stay home every day. It’s hard. And I second guess every decision.

For example…today he was awake from about 7 am until almost 11 am. I kept telling him (as he was screaming) that he was tired. I was rocking him. And giving him his pacifier. And holding him. And patting his back. And doing everything I know how to do to put him to sleep. But he resisted.

Suddenly…in the back of my head comes a foreign voice. It says things like, “You don’t know what you’re doing.” “Quit trying to force your baby to sleep.” “The judge will take one look at you and give the baby to the bailiff and you’ll leave court emptyhanded on Thursday.” “You can’t do this.”

Ugh…

Day care would be easy…at least they would have a schedule for him. And entertainment. And multiple people.

I just cried along with him.

I don’t really believe that foreign voice in my head.

But this mommy thing? Tough. Rewarding. Lovely. Fulfilling. Amazing. Tough.

And why don’t women TALK about this? Why is there just competition among women? Why didn’t my friends warn me that around now is the hardest part – mommy is tired, baby is kind of boring (sorry, it’s true – babies can be boring), it feels like a perpetual grind that will never end.

Again, there are massive rewards (he smiles at me!). But why don’t women discuss these things? Why do we, instead, shoot disapproving glances at women who make different choices than us…who rear their children differently…who have crying babies or babies with dirty faces in public. Why can’t we just support one another?

Oh well…maybe this is why I shouldn’t post at 3 am 🙂

11 thoughts on “Long Days

  1. Oh honey, I'm so sorry you're under spiritual attack. You'll be easier able to fight when you get some sleep. Maybe you should find a MOPS group (Mothers of Preschoolers), or you can join ours! I have really been blessed to find women that ARE Supportive there. It Takes a Village…and all that. It REALLY Does Take a Village.

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  2. We have a 6 week old that we adopted when he was 2.5 weeks old, and I totally appreciate your post–you aren't alone. It is a lot of work and being without sleep doesn't help with having a positive outlook.

    Hang in there!

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  3. Great post! This is a message that needs to be repeated often. I'm sure it's hard for all new moms, but it is especially hard for those who have adopted, and the fear of failure is real. Thanks for your honesty.

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  4. WELL SAID! Every word of it.

    I honestly think that sometimes moms just forget to warn other moms about this part. (I know, it doesn't feel forgettable at all!) If we stop and think about it, of course we all know that this is the hardest part. This is when the sleep deprivation has become a way of life (the new “normal”), and when you realize that you have seen every episode of the Duggars on TV. It's when the days get long, the house gets quiet, and the baby gets boring. And to top it all off, this is when everyone else has moved on with life and has stopped asking us how we're doing. The experience is anything but forgettable, but I think sometimes we forget to say something to a new mom about it, or maybe we just forget what a universal experience it is. My kids are 11 months apart, and I actually forgot what to expect sometimes with the second one, until it happened and then I thought “Oh yeah, I remember this.” Strange but true.

    And…you're an amazing mom.

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  5. I have no idea what to do to help him to sleep, as I have no babies at home. But I agree with you, we should talk about all this stuff, and I hope that you get some helpful comments. And then you remember them and write them down. Maybe you could create a side page with baby tips that you collect?

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  6. The book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” is an excellent resource for this type of frequent waking. My eldest did this.
    One tip the book gave us was that if your child is waking frequently, it could be because they are over tired and you should put them to bed a half hour to an hour earlier than you usually do. We didn't believe this could work but tried it and he started sleeping through the night!
    The same methods did not work at all for my younger son though. He was more of a “Happiest baby on the block” kind of kid. God bless Harvey Karp.
    One trick that worked for napping was that I would put him in his high chair (it had wheels and reclined) and push it back and forth across the kitchen floor for about 10 minutes until he konked out. He spent a lot of time sleeping in that high chair (safely buckled of course).
    Also, do you have a baby swing? They love that stinkin' swing. You have to put it on the fastest mode even though it seems really fast. They love it.
    I agree with other poster who said to find a mom's group. Go to the park. Go for walks. They don't stay little and lumpy forever. Hang in there.

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  7. I think part of why we don't talk about it is because we want people to think we know what we're doing. Every woman wants to be that mom who knows just what their baby needs every moment of every day. If we can't do that, we feel like a failure.

    I was SO freakin' tired when Reid was new, and my poor baby was starving because he couldn't get the breast milk from me and wasn't getting enough to eat. But he was nursing for 40 minutes at a stretch, so he HAD to be getting enough—right? I'd never nursed before! I had no idea what it was supposed to feel like! Was someone going to describe to me what I was supposed to feel like if he was getting enough to eat? Because no one did. I thought he was gassy and gave him enough Mylicon to choke a horse.

    No one wants to admit to these stories. We all want to be the best moms possible, even though the whole experience is figuring things out as you go.

    And, yes, babies are boring at first. Take this opportunity to read what you want, watch what you want, do what you want when he's awake. Just being able to see you and taking in the mysterious world around him is enough for his brand new senses.

    You're doing a great job! Even if he's boring, I know he's happy. 🙂

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  8. Sleep deprivation is for real – isn't it?
    I think we sometimes don't talk because our thoughts at 3 a.m. feel so insane that we figure if we really share them, people will judge us and think we are crazy.
    And I think sometimes we DO talk, but you can't know until you've been there.
    And I think it is all so scary and so overwhelming that mounds and mounds of moms just can't wrap words around how something you wanted so much, someone you love so deeply, can also exhaust and terrify you. IT makes us feel ungrateful when we promised God a billion things if he would make our wish come true and then we have that wish and we are still the same person.
    Any rate – I feel your pain.
    and have my share of insane moments, sleepless nights. tears. oh – tears.

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  9. I went through the exact same thing you are going through when I first had my baby. The days are long and playing with a newborn (and even toddler sometimes) can be boring…you are right to say that! And, the winter makes it even harder…what I've found to help cope is to regularly schedule lunch dates/play dates with friends. I'm not big on organized groups, I prefer to make my own schedule, so that seems to work pretty well for us :). Good luck, and know that I've been right there with ya.

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  10. Wow, great post! I think the reason women don't talk about this is based on two factors: 1. Not wanting to admit failure or uncertainty and 2. Not wanting to dump advice on/freak out other prospective moms. At least in my case the latter is true. I'm always careful about when to give advice and what I say. ALL new moms are absolutely inundated with opinions about everything and the last thing I ever want to do is add to that stress load.

    I do think play groups (such as MOPS) and others can be very helpful–being around other women who are in the same phase can be very beneficial. And getting out and about as much as possible really helped me too. Of course we had summer in our favor when C. was a newborn but I still think getting out of the house whenever possible can ease the boredom/overwhelm/lonliness feelings considerably.

    And as for the difficulty of crying bouts and the general toughness of it all–yes, it is absolutely daunting at times. I think especially in the case of adoption, there is an even more intense need to be perfect and to seem happy about it all even though motherhood is a HARD job. Somewhere during the wait there is this unexpressed idea that having a baby is going to make it all better. That the little person who now graces your life every day will be nothing but sunshine and roses, which is just wrong. What happens instead is that a whole new set of trials and triumphs is created along with the new life phase of parenthood.

    Anyway–I've done it again, gone off on a tangent. All the above is just to say that I DO get it and I have been where you are. Before long now, N. will be rolling over and grinning at you all the time. Plus, spring is coming so it WILL get better soon. Hang in there! 🙂

    Hugs,

    Melba

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