And other things I didn’t expect about becoming a mom.
|see the red hair?
I didn’t expect that I would have a baby who looked just like me at birth. It was so weird to have a mini-me. He looks more like Rob now. He has blue eyes and dimples (which I love). But how on earth did I get a red-head?
I didn’t expect that I would have a newborn that never wants to stop moving. He doesn’t like being in the same position for more than 5 minutes most of the time. He only did that newborn snuggle sleep on your chest thing for about 2 weeks. He snacks All. Day. Long. Because the world is more exciting than eating. At least he did before the reverse cycling turned hunger strike.
I didn’t expect that I wouldn’t fall head over heels in love with the baby the moment I saw him. I wanted to. I didn’t. Maybe it had something to do with the C-section, maybe that’s just the way it is I’m learning that this is a more common feeling than the books tell you. There are quite a few people I’ve voiced this to who said, “oh yeah, I felt the same thing.” Really I was kind of exhausted. It’s not that I didn’t love Simon. But it was surreal. Now the bond is growing.
I didn’t expect that I would be so happy to go back to work at six weeks. I spent a lot of the pregnancy thinking he would be just too little and finding a way to make it work so that I could bring Simon to work with me. I ended up picking up a second class. I still bring him one day – I don’t get anything more than the necessities done. I enjoy the day I leave him. I don’t necessarily enjoy the second class and the 50 extra students, but professionally and intellectually, the days I can work without Simon interruptions are good ones. We are very lucky (I think that’s the best word for it) that Rob decided to take a break from working to be home. I don’t think he realized he would have quite so much full-time childcare, but it’s working for us. I don’t know that Rob is as happy about the now longer hiatus, but as a family it’s good for us. Rob will start working soonish, and we will reevaluate then the day to day childcare situation.
I didn’t expect that Rob would be just as exhausted as I am. Or that he would be a stay at home dad almost full time. While good for me to be able to go to work, it is emotionally and physically draining to be home all day several days in a row with a baby who turns from happy to mad in a second and refuses to eat from a bottle.
I always wanted to be a stay at home parent. I didn’t expect the guilt that would come with the being so happy to be away. But over time that is changing some too. There is a balance. Last week I worked a lot. A lot a lot, covering extra classes and working an extra day with a colleague who was in town for one day only. I was away from Simon almost three times longer than a normal week. That was too much. I hate pumping. Simon was tolerating the bottle one day a week, now he’s refusing them. He’s reverse cycling (this could be partly due to age) and his eating is all screwed up. He’s refusing to nurse during the day too. Again could be due to age and the world is too exciting to eat, or it could be because I’ve been gone and he’s “mad” at me, or he might have picked up the cold Rob and I are passing back and forth and just not feeling very well. The breastfeeding is one thing that has been going really well. I am so grateful that it’s pretty easy for both of us. I really don’t want to screw up my supply and go the pumping lots or formula route. Both are ok options, but right now it’s not what’s best for us. So I’m finding the balance of being away just enough to have the professional and intellectual stimulation I need (seems like 2 days that I really make count and some here and there when there are naps) and the being home that I want to want but don’t (and am doing because I really want to feed the baby). If I focus on being a mom and being with Simon and forget about everything else then my days at home go better. So I’m working on that. And getting him to eat when awake. He eats in his sleep just fine.
I didn’t expect that there would be days, many days where I questioned why I ever wanted a baby. He’s exhausting. And most parents probably feel this at some point or another. But we worked hard for a baby and are lucky to have him. Two Clo.mid cycles is relatively easy in the IF world. That adds a whole other layer of guilt to the hating the feeling of questioning wanting him. I don’t actually question it. We love him. I wouldn’t trade him for anything. But there are some bad days. With support of Rob and friends, and a good therapist I’m working on it. And the bad days are fewer and I think much more positively about Simon now.
I didn’t expect to feel so inadequate as a parent. That I would some days just have no idea what to do with this crying “thing” but just keep feeding and holding and loving him. Same good friend support – I now also know this is pretty normal.
I am coming to terms with the mom that I am. I am letting go of the mom I wanted to be, a combination of romanticism and perfection with a little bit of learning about myself as well. My mom told me last week that I’m not Superwoman. It kind of made me laugh at the time because it’s easy for me to forget that I am a bit of a perfectionist. My friends are great, a couple of weeks ago on a particularly exhausting day a friend told me this: our children are given to us and they have distinct personalities and many things to teach us. We have to be willing to learn. I’m watching Simon’s personality unfold and we’ll see what I have yet to learn about myself. And as a Developmental Psychologist, I know that his personality is his. There is not a lot I can do to change it, but as parents we can work with it and teach him the values we believe in.
Today is the last day of crazy schedules. I’m really looking forward to getting back into a routine of sorts.
*First picture is from the Beer Garden. All others from our day at the Queens County Farm Museum. Post on that coming soon.