Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Life lesson: remember to laugh!

I foolishly decided to give the chest carrier another try today. Harrison has been pretty demanding and fussy lately, and I desperately needed to get caught up on the house cleaning. So I figured it would be a good idea to strap him in and get to work.  The baby would enjoy being "held," and I was hopeful at tackling A LOT of chore neglect.

Which was a fabulous plan for about 90 seconds or so.

As I was making the bed, it happened. Harrison, also affectionately referred to as Old Faithful, spewed profuse amounts of baby vomit all over the comforter, sheets, and pillows. The dryclean-only comforter, I might add. You would think by now I would be used to it, right? But each time it happens, it is still just as shockingly disgusting. And after being drenched by him myself several times already this morning, the puking on the bed just about caused me to emotionally snap inside. But then, as I was processing what had just happened, I heard the cutest little belly laugh from the cutest little baby. And so instead of plunging off the mental ledge, I joined in and we laughed together until I had tears running down my face. You know, the good kind!

Which is EXACTLY what I needed today. The past couple of weeks have been very challenging. Partly because Harrison has been sick and not his normal, happy self, and partly because the newborn euphoria has settled in to the reality of everyday life. On good days we have lots of fun playing and laughing and being silly, and I try not to think about all of the mounting tasks I wasn't able to get to. On bad days I question whether I made the right decision to stay home with him. And then the guilt rushes in for even thinking that. 

It's just that it seems like all I do all day every day is breastfeed and pump and clean up vomit off of EVERYTHING and give baths (and if I'm lucky, I'll get a shower, too) and do laundry and clean bottles and change Harrison's clothes and change my clothes and beg the baby to take a nap and let the dogs outside and let the dogs back in and entertain the baby (which isn't always successful) and do more (ENDLESS) laundry and run errands and get dinner ready and attempt to clean the house but never even seem to make a dent and, well, you get the point. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

It's not that I mind doing it -- obviously, these are common responsibilities of motherhood -- it's just that I feel guilty for not enjoying all of it. I know that I am incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to stay home with him. I love my child more than I ever knew a person was capable of loving anything. But sometimes I find myself questioning my competence and feeling overwhelmed and lonely and wonder if maybe I just wasn't cut out for being a full-time mom. I'm definitely no June Cleaver. Sometimes I feel more like Roseanne. Who wasn't a stay-at-home mom, but you get my point. I just sometimes feel like I should be better at this.

I think "mom guilt" is pretty common. If I had gone back to work I would feel guilty for leaving him at daycare. I guess I just wasn't prepared for the solitude. I have always been a homebody by nature, but that was when I had a little something called me-time or had Rick here to hang out with. It's been such an adjustment going from the structure of a super-busy, stimulating work environment to being home almost 24/7. I'm used to being able to shift gears at the end of a long work day and leave my troubles at the office. It's hard not having an outlet for my frustrations or even just having another person to talk to (who comprehends what I'm saying and can actually talk back). I know that staying home with him is what's best for him, but I sometimes wonder if it's what's best for my own sanity. Not that I was ever really sane to begin with.  :)

I think the problem is that sometimes I forget to take a step back and look at the big picture. Today, Harrison helped to put things in perspective for me. Yep, a 4-month old taught me something, ha! He reminded me that every now and then it's really important to just take a deep breath and shrug my shoulders and realize that the majority of things that I let get to me simply don't matter. Sometimes the best medicine really is laughter. My house doesn't have to be spotless. No project or errand is more important than getting in some good quality time with my son.  And it's pretty hard to be a Negative Nellie when you have this silly goofball covered in his own filth:


Huh? What? I didn't do it! 


Okay, okay. Maybe I did. But you have to admit that it's pretty funny!


So today I stopped holding my mom-standards so high, cut myself some slack, and just enjoyed being with my babe. Spit-up and all.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

you are a wonderful mother and wife. life gets hard when you never leave the house and everything piles up on you. call you sil when you feel low...she will send cullen to you to join the club...your life will never be the same..whether you go back to work or not...chin up... today is another day...hopefully a good one. love mil

Tracye said...

Ditto on all that she said.

Especially the "you are a wonderful mother and wife," part.

You are.

It's one of the hardest jobs out there, I think because you never leave it. You can't just leave it all at the end of the day. You don't get a "day off." You don't take vacation. You don't get a sick day. You can't stop thinking about all that needs to be done or that you didn't quite get to today.

And it's stressful, to be sure.

But you're doing a great job.

At all of it

We've all had those days when we want to just collapse on the floor and cry.

And sometimes we do.

But the thing that separates you from the Roseannes of the world is your spirit and your heart.

You have such tremendous patience and self-control and such a desire to make a difference.

You made the right choice.

And you make a difference every single day.

kelsey said...

You guys are too sweet. Really. Thank you for the words of encouragement. It's nice to know that you can relate and I'm not just totally inept! :)

And Tracye, your comments mean so much coming from a SUPERMOM!!! I have a tough time with 1 sometimes and I have no idea how you balance 3. You are definitely a pro and someone who I deeply admire.

Love you, ladies!

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