It has been seven weeks and one day since my baby boy was born. Seven weeks of me feeling like I actually had this mothering thing down and everyone who told me it was hard just didn’t get it like I did. Well, today I got knocked off my pedestal.
My son has been doing this thing the last week where he fights his naps. He sleeps amazingly during the night; even 6-8 hours for me...but during the day he WON’T nap. He thinks he is missing something and tonight as I rocked him I finally could not take any more screaming. I failed at the one thing in my life I finally felt was my niche, and my husband now sits downstairs with him as I sit in his rocker in his nursery, crying as I write this, because I feel like I failed.
I know that is incredibly ridiculous and I also know I did not fail. I know that I have an amazing husband who took him and calmed him down. It's just that he could do in 20 minutes what I had been working on for an hour or longer...it really upset me. That seems so silly when I type it. But the last seven weeks is the first time in my life I actually feel like I have found my purpose.
I’ve had many careers or ideas of careers from nursing to cosmetology to banking; I have always been looking for something I am really good at. I found that something on December 4, 2015, when they laid my son in my arms. I realized that I was in charge of this not so little (9 lbs. 14 oz.) boy and as scared as I thought I would be, when the time came I actually was not. I have handled everything pretty darn well in my time home with him. We have a little routine every day and we have grown so much in things. We no longer hate bath time or diaper changes, we are getting better with tummy time, we only wake up one time a night to eat and those early morning feedings are my absolute favorite. It's just him and I and the rest of the world is so quiet and he is just the happiest baby and that is when it hits me that he is mine to love for all his life.
I have been devastated that in one week I have to go back to reality. I will have someone else taking care of my baby boy 8 hours of the day. Someone else will be rocking him to sleep for his naps while I have to go back to the working world, and when I think about that it tears me up and makes me hate myself for getting frustrated with him 20 minutes ago. The last seven weeks, whenever he cried, I would tell myself that he is just a baby and this is his only form of communication, that he is just telling you how he feels. But tonight, as I tried so hard to figure out what was wrong, (when I really know he is just incredibly tired and needs to sleep) telling myself he is just a baby was not working.
At the end of my maternity leave I feel like a weight is sitting on my chest. I do not want to go back, I do not want to leave my son with someone else all day. I want to be home for the first roll over, the first crawl, the first word, the first real giggle...and I won’t. But I tell myself it is okay because my going to work creates a better world for him. One where he can have nice things and his mommy and daddy can put money away for things like his first car and his college education and vacations to places all over the United States. But tonight I just felt like a complete failure when I realized I have only one week left with him and I couldn’t calm him down. The terrible thoughts of 'maybe its good he is going to a sitter' and 'maybe she will do better than me' entered my mind.
I sit here now and know that is silly. Whether I am working or home with him every morning and evening (and the 3-4 am feeding) I am getting a chance to love him. I am not a perfect mom and I am far from knowing everything, but I do know my baby boy. Focusing on being upset about going back to work is stressing me out and in return is taking away my patience that I normally have with my little boy and my amazing husband.
All mommies probably have a moment where they think they failed; I know I am not the only one. But I don’t think we fail, I think we are human and that the love we have for our miniature versions of ourselves is so strong that when we can’t fix it we beat ourselves up. And when someone else can fix it, it only makes us feel worse. Well, I'm telling myself to let daddy fix things because it is nice to walk away at times, and it’s needed, and I need to remember I can’t fix everything.(something I will need to remind myself for the next 18+ years) Most of all, I need to remember that the feeling of failing and wanting to fix everything doesn’t make me a bad mom, it makes me an amazing mom because I love my child that much.
Natalie enjoys spending time with her husband Travis and her son Brantley. Being a wife and mom is the best job she has ever had and her biggest accomplishment. She loves to read, take road trips and enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine.