There's so much out there about how you have to be the "perfect" mom with dinner cooked, a clean house, a full face of makeup and your hair done, etc. that it was difficult for me to feel like I was doing a good job, especially on the "bad" days. There were days where Preston would cry all day and I would sit down and cry right along with him because I couldn't get him to stop. There's also days where the second Jake walked in the door from work, I would hand him P and walk upstairs to get away. There's times when he would wake up at 2am to be fed and I would pull the covers over my head and wish I could ignore it. Did these things make me a "bad" mom....No. However, there were so many times when I felt that I was failing and Preston would be better off without me.
I didn't realize that mommy guilt would start so early and be so strong. I agonized over our decision to switch to formula - a decision I'm still not ok with some days. I fretted over the fact that we moved him into his own room/crib at 5 weeks - Was that too early? Would that increase the SIDS risk? Was I being selfish about wanting to sleep better without a loud baby right next to me? I worried that letting him take naps in the swing would him into a horrible sleeper who would never sleep anywhere else. I worried that carrying him in the baby carrier would make him too dependent on me and in the same breath, I wondered if I was holding him enough, stimulating him enough, giving him enough attention.
A new set of feelings started when I got to the end of my maternity leave and we prepared to send P to daycare. Part of me felt relief - I wouldn't have to "deal" with him during the day during a meltdown or when he refused to take a nap. Part of me felt selfish - now I could eat whenever I wanted, go to the gym or for a run at lunch, go to the bathroom in peace or take a longer shower. And of course, the other big part of me felt utter and total depression - I couldn't fathom being away from my baby all day long. I felt like I had completely wasted my maternity leave...it went by so fast. Why didn't I cuddle him more instead of reading blogs or watching TV? Why didn't I read him more books instead of just letting him play on a blanket? Why didn't we go for more walks? Why did I get so frustrated during his fussy days?
Obviously we are all surviving and getting used to our new routine of daycare and work. It has helped me appreciate Preston and Jake so much more - I want to do nothing more than spend time with my boys on the weekends. I turn down offers to go get a pedicure with a friend. I don't exercise unless I can bring the baby. I'm ok with getting up at 6:00am on a Saturday so I can see P laying in his crib, babbling away and smiling at me. But there's still weekends when Preston screams his head off and won't nap - and I still get frustrated and cry.
You really can't understand how hard it is to be a mom until you are one yourself - so cliche, but true. There's no words to describe the emotions that you go through on a daily basis - both good and bad. It's an emotional roller coaster to say the least.