Our usual mornings go something like this:
Violet starts squirming around 5ish, I get up and pee, change her diaper and she nurses for a while, going back to sleep. Jason gets up around 5:30 and around 6 or so I hear Emma, from her toddler bed at the foot of our bed, say, “Mom, nurse.” She’ll usually crawl in bed with me and nurse for a while, falling back to sleep. I usually do too.
This whole thing happens in that half-asleep, dreamy place when you can still vividly remember your dreams and everything is all soft and fuzzy around the edges.
This morning as all this was happening, my heart was happy. I felt so grateful for my family, for the gentle mornings we get to have together. I loved the feeling of Violet snuggled in on one side of me, Emma on the other. I tell myself to remember these moments, they are fleeting – gone in an instant.
Yesterday it was different. As I tried to wake myself up out of a dream when Emma was crawling into bed with me, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be a mom today. Do I have to? Can’t I have ONE DAY where I don’t have to think about anyone but myself?” Emma’s half-asleep pleadings to nurse, nurse, nurse were irritating and I felt worn out – spent.
There are things I could do to get a little more space. I could wean Emma, but I don’t want that decision to be made out of frustration. I have learned that it is okay to tell her no when she asks to nurse during the day and this has helped. I didn’t in the couple of months after Violet was born and was surprised to find myself completely touched out and grumpy – like a dog that snarls at it’s pups when it doesn’t want them to nurse. I could leave both of them and go out on a date with my hubby (this is probably a good idea, actually).
I’ve always been a moody person, prone to depression and general blah-ness. Every year when Jason goes back to teaching school, I go through about a month or so of feeling lonely and sad. I genuinely adore my husband. Of course, we do get on each other’s nerves and have an occasional spat or disagreement, but almost all the time, he’s the person I want to spend time with. He’s the one who came along when I had decided that I wasn’t going to compromise anymore – myself or what I wanted. I feel like we met and said to each other, “Oh, there you are…let’s get on with it, now, okay?” We were married in less than a year and it is, other than our children, the best thing that has ever happened to me. My love for him is strong – deep in my bones.
So, I knew that the funk I had been in lately was partially because of Jason being gone a lot. But this year it was harder than ever before. He reminded me one day, “Well, it might be because we have two kids this year rather than one.” Oh yeah. No kidding.
Being a mom is almost always my favorite job. But on the days that it isn’t I really have to try hard to be gentle with myself. To not get into the headspace of feeling guilty because I don’t like being a mom that day. To get myself out of the house and go do something fun. To talk about what I’m thinking and feeling without judging myself for having a bad day. To spend time with other moms who understand what it’s like.
Everybody has bad days. I’m grateful that today wasn’t one of them.