Motherhood: I Give Up

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.

Holy. Shit.

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.

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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. 

Hey, look! We're naked. Okay, not really. But we are the participating Pittsburgh bloggers. #NakedMoms

Hey, look! We’re naked. Okay, not really. But we are the participating bloggers. #NakedMoms

 

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

 

 

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Comments

  1. It’s such a huge hurdle to ask for help!!! I love your post about this crucial mom step.
    Jessica McFadden recently posted…Motherhood is About Giving Up #NakedMomsMy Profile

  2. Oh gosh! WHY is it so hard to ask for help even when the world is crumbling around us? Because we’re moms. That’s why. So glad you were able to get the support you needed!
    Brandi recently posted…Giving Up Supposed To Be #NakedMomsMy Profile

  3. One was tough but one to two was tougher. I agree! Number two forced me to also relinquish control because SO much of what she went through I could do absolutely nothing about except love her with my whole heart. I came to terms with myself and my role. I think we all get there at some point and that’s what I love about this post.

    As a sidebar, I’m living this Naked Mom series–it’s the second one I’ve caught in as many days and I’m totally wondering how I missed being a part of it!!! Yep. I’m jealous.
    Christine recently posted…Heeding Your Own AdviceMy Profile

  4. I have a spunky, stubborn, larger than life one 1/2 year old baby girl. I have to admit she gets it from me. Does it get better? I love her dearly and wouldn’t change who SHE is for anything. But my husband and I have been considering having number two. (Conversations I mistakenly thought she would neither care about nor understand) Then this morning she sang me a song at breakfast that went like this, ‘moooommmmmyyyyy daaaaaddddyyyy NO BABY!’ How did your spunky daughter take to the news of nimber 3? And do u have any suggestions to help guide a not so willing soon to be sister cope wih the change?

    • Oh, Christina, I feel ya, lady! My daughter is a mirror image of me–God love her :) Had she been my first, my husband and I would have waited a bit longer before conceiving #2 if only to preserve our sanity! But because she’s almost 3 now, and THANKFULLY has turned into the most loving, affectionate, sweetest thing ever (thank you baby Jesus!), she’s looking so forward to baby #3. That said, when the baby gets here, all bets might be off! I’m not a doctor or a professional, but I would try to prepare your little one for a sibling as early as possible; let her help you do the things you do as you get ready for another: wash the bedding, pick out the little clothes, etc. Get her a babydoll and let it be “hers” for practice. Also, talk to your pediatrician to see if he/she has any other suggestions. I think, by nature, toddlers are just incredibly self-centered and understandably so! BUT they’re also resilient little things who adjust to change a lot better than we give them credit for. Whatever you decide, much love and luck! xo

  5. Yes!! My oldest was a good baby as long as I was hiding her or nursing her. The minute I put her down she screamed. It took me a long time to “give up” and ask for help – even from my husband.
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted…Tuesday Ten – Things I Love and Hate About WinterMy Profile

  6. I have always been hell bent on not asking for help, even though my daughter was a really challenging baby, and with no family here that is willing to offer me a helping hand and a husband who works crazy hours, I haven’t ever felt like I could take some time just for me. And then last week my daughter started a drop-off program. It’s a gradual separation program to make kids comfortable before they start school, and I was SO nervous about it. And I felt really guilty for even signing her up for it. I felt like if I was going to be a SAHM, I was supposed to be with her 24/7. But guess what? She LOVES it and by the second day, I was wandering around for 2 hours not knowing what to do for myself. And now I regret that I didn’t ask for help back in those colicky, no-sleep days. It would have made motherhood so much easier at the beginning (and I may not be so scared at the idea of having another!)!!
    Dani Ryan recently posted…This post is about tampons. And Karma.My Profile

    • I used to think asking for help made me less of a mom. I worked from home, but still, “no excuse.” That’s just silly!! Like your little one has proven, our kids thrive when we least expect it and if that means us stepping outside of our comfort zones and trying something new (asking for help…), then so be it! Thanks for reading, lady ;)

  7. What a very, very cool idea for a series. And Steph? You are so smart. Giving up makes perfect sense to me. Keep preaching the good stuff, my friend. xo.
    Meredith recently posted…The Cookie Jar ParableMy Profile

  8. Can’t tell you how much I love this post! These are my favorite types of blog posts- so real and honest. I love this Naked Mom thing- this is the first I’d heard of it! Also, are people really unliking your page because of that FITL post? Idiots. (Is it inappropriate to say “I’ll cut a bitch?” If so, please disregard.)

    • People are definitely unliking my page because of the FITL post. Meh. I’m over it. I think what I lost, I gained back and then some. Either way, I was sad that we weren’t able to have an open dialogue about it; instead, some people got huffy because I didn’t see THEIR side of things. Apparently the irony was lost on them…

      P.S. “Cut a bitch” is always welcome here. Always. :)

  9. What a fun series! Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s the mark of a mother who understands that a well-rounded childhood includes a village of loved ones sharing the responsibility. When we’re in the trenches of those early baby days, though, it’s hard to see that, isn’t it?

    I CAN’T WAIT to hear about all the creepers you attract with that hashtag.
    Amy – Funny is Family recently posted…Easy Heart-Shaped CrayonsMy Profile

    • You’re so right about all of the things: it’s so hard to see when we’re sleep-deprived and everyone is watching us juggle all of those proverbial balls, waiting for one to drop.

      You’ve no idea the search terms that landed weirdos on my blog after that hashtag went live. Fabulous!

  10. Love this! I work part time (like, a paying job) and my kids go to daycare full time, so I can do my other “work” (fulfilling hobbies that keep me sane and might lead to money someday = blog.)

    And it’s the best thing ever.

    Similar to your homeschooling post, my kids are pretty much better off at our amazing in-home daycare than they are with me!
    Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek recently posted…Labor & Delivery vs. Kidney StoneMy Profile

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