So many moms say it was the transition from zero to one kid that threw them for the biggest loop. Not I. In July of 2009, my first, my boy, was born, and–dare I say–he was easy! As a baby, he slept well, ate well, and smiled constantly. Everyone wanted a piece of that kid. It didn’t hurt that he was the first grandchild on both sides of the family, or that his huge blue eyes and tuft of white blonde hair gave him an angelic glow. He was, in a word, perfect.
That’s not to say there weren’t a few hiccups along the way, but this child was so incredibly incredible that I was like, “let’s get pregnant again NOW!” I heard the naysayers chiding me that “the second kid would be nothing like the first!” I kept my haughty disbelief under wraps and smiled politely in the faces that were SO WRONG. Pffft. Even if the second were a bit of a challenge, my baby boy was so incredibly incredible that it wouldn’t even be like I had two kids.
May 9, 2011. Enter karma, also known as our baby girl.
Did this kid hate me? Did she hate life? She sure hated anything that wasn’t my boob. Did she want back inside the womb? Because I was *thisclose* to shoving her up there anyway.
Adding insult to injury (and I’m not just talking about my nether-regions), my formerly perfect son started acting out. He wasn’t even two-years-old, and in his tiny toddler mind, I had replaced him with this screaming banshee. Also? My hormones were absolutely out of control. My low point came one evening as I barked orders at my husband and essentially told him he wasn’t doing anything right. I didn’t realize what I was saying–or how I was saying it. Nor did I take into consideration the huge amount of stress he was under, too. So me pointing out everything he was doing wrong as our newborn daughter screamed her tiny pink face off while he held her in his arms didn’t exactly make for a relaxing night with the family. The more she cried, the more I yelled. And criticized. And, you guys, I made the love of my life, the father of my babies, cry.
It was official: I sucked.
That’s when I just said screw it. I couldn’t do it all. And if I continued to try, I was going to be institutionalized within a week. I’m talking padded rooms, no belts, and talking to my fingers institutionalized. So I did the unthinkable: I gave up.
That’s right, I. Gave. Up.
I gave up on the idea that asking for help made me less of a woman and mother. I gave up the ridiculous assumption that my poor, wonderful, loving husband could read my mind. I threw away the notion that “my way or the highway” was the only way to accomplish things in our house. Husband and I are a pretty good team and I needed to relinquish some of my Type A “I’ll handle it” attitude and let him in.
We hired a two-day-a-week sitter for the kiddos so I could work without interruption. The grandmas began playing integral roles in our lives by helping with the kids or making us dinners. When my husband got home from work, I took 30 minutes for myself. Sometimes I continued working; other times I took a bubble bath with a good book.
Time passed, our daughter grew out of her Nightmare Phase, and slowly but surely, I was getting my groove back. One day, my husband and I were sitting together on the couch while this adorable pile of kids played at our feet. We actually had a conversation! Like, spoke full sentences to one another about topical issues that didn’t involve breast milk or the Disney Channel. It was almost as though we were…normal.
Giving up was the best thing I have ever done for myself and my family.
Pssssst! I will love you for life if you vote for me in the voiceBok‘s “Hilariously Funny Parent Bloggers?” All you’ve gotta do is click HERE, scroll down to When Crazy Meets Exhaustion, and click the little heart by my name. Do you feel that? I’m hugging you. It’s because I’m grateful, not creepy. THANK YOU!!
This is the first post in a new monthly series called #NakedMoms. #NakedMoms is a collaborative writing series where women from all walks of life bare their souls (get it? Nekkid.) and share real stories about motherhood and the lessons learned along the way. This project isn’t for those who shy away from the good, the bad, the fugly side of mothering! We want to write stories of transformation, big and small. We want to discuss obstacles overcome, goals set and achieved, and acceptance. We want stories that go beyond “How To Be A Mom” and really get to the meat of this mom thing. We want stories to inspire and elevate.
More posts from the other #NakedMoms:
To Be a Better Mom You Have to Give Up by Steph at Confessions of A Stay-At-Home Mom
I Am A Recovering Perfectionist by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny
Giving Up On Perfect Single Motherhood by Laila at Only Laila
The Time I Almost Gave Up on Motherhood by Vaneese at Mommy Works A Lot
Motherhood: The Sacrifices No One Tells You About, But You Need to Know by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show
To Let Go and Let God by Jacquie at The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood
I Didn’t Want to be a Mom by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries
Mothering While Introverted by Diamonte at Liberated Mommy
Motherhood is About Giving Up by Jessica at A Parent In Silver Spring
Giving Up Supposed To Be by Brandi at Mama Knows It All
Giving Up And Getting Down by Heather at Diary of A First Time Mom