I’m currently sat in my car, with my baby asleep in his car seat, on a McDonald’s car park having just scoffed a cheeseburger in a vain attempt to make myself feel better. I am having the crappest of weeks.
This morning I found myself sobbing in a car park with Rupert in my arms. It was bad; so bad that, as I returned to my car, a complete stranger came over and asked if I was ok and told me to hand Rupert to her; when I refused- “I don’t know you” I squeaked- she just hugged my instead until I could breath again. I think this moment is what you’d call breaking point.
I’ve heard of motherhood being like this and always thought how sad that is. Until this week, whilst I know I have had difficult days, on the whole the hard days have been easily shaken off and everything has genuinely been wonderful. I’ve felt very proud of myself, in control of my baby’s development and of my parenthood journey and lucky to have so many supportive people around me. This week, despite still being surrounded with all this love, I’ve never felt more lonely and alone.
Let’s just get one thing straight: this isn’t Rupert’s fault. He is wonderful. I know babies don’t manipulate; I understand any crying is communication. He eats well, plays well and sleeps well but for the past two weeks he has started waking for a feed in the middle of the night again. Couple me now having to wake up again in the night with the fact that my brain never switches off, I pile pressure on myself and I’m trying to do and plan a million and one things, I’m putting this behaviour down to exhaustion. I am so overwhelmed by the mother I want to be and it’s exhausting me.
It started Monday evening when we had our first difficult bedtime with Rupert. We tried everything and an hour later than normal he was still inconsolable. I took him upstairs, lay on our bed with him whispering “Mommy is here” and “you’re safe” as I stroked his head and periodically returned his dummy to his mouth whilst he screamed and cried for a further 40 minutes until eventually he exhausted himself to sleep. I put him in his bed and returned downstairs to my husband who then had to spend a good 15 minutes consoling me as I sobbed because of how awful that was and how helpless I felt. And, since then, the crying hasn’t really stopped.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the things I have sobbed over this week:
- Spilling 1oz of breastmilk on the kitchen worktop
- Having not yet published a “5 month” photo of Rupert (he is now 5 and a half months old)
- Forgetting to put Rupert in a dress up outfit someone bought him that definitely now won’t fit him
- Looking fat in all photos of me and my son
- Decorations for Rupert’s Halloween party I bought online were £1 cheaper in a shop
- Buying the wrong pie for tea
- Not walking the dogs
- Not having the money to go on an unnecessary shopping spree
- Not posting naming ceremony invitations despite them sitting here ready to go
- Making Rupert cry
- Leaving Rupert to cry for a minute whilst I go to the loo
- Shouting at Rupert for crying
- Thinking “your sister would never have done this” (She would’ve but she didn’t because she never lived)
- Beatrice never having cried at all
- Not completing my breastmilk donation
- Not having a holiday to look forward to
- Not having a full recording of my first dance from my wedding
- Not giving myself enough time to make myself look nice for my engagement party in 2015
- Wearing my hair in an unflattering way for a day during my Florida trip last year
- Not owning a house
- Not currently having a puppy (NB: I do have a 4 year old dog though…)
- Not getting married (NB: because I already am married…)
It’s ridiculous. But I feel it.
I have forced myself out of the house every day and felt so much better for it. On a dry day, we took a long walk out- meeting some friends for a cuppa, popping to the library and grabbing some food for tea; we accomplished everything we had planned and I felt like super woman again. The woman I want to be. And then, when my husband returns from work, I realise I bought a pie with onions in which he won’t eat and that I’ve failed again (my sentiment, not his; don’t worry) and I’m back to crying uncontrollably whilst my husband goes to the chippy and I feed our son.
I’m planning his naming ceremony and a little Halloween party for him and his cousins as well as trying to plan cost effective ways (I’m also poor cuz maternity) to make his first Christmas special (yes, I know he won’t remember but I will; it’s important). I know I’m talking first world problems here but if I don’t do these things, I feel I’m a failure. This is the mother I wanted to be. The hostess. The baker. The nail-painted, make-up-ed, got her shit together woman. This week, I’ve left the house twice without brushing my teeth…
Today, I was the furthest away from the person I want to be.
We do loads of “mom and baby” groups and this week we missed our current favourite due to bad time management (I’m having a really crap week remember…) and so I agreed with the group leader to join in at a different location today instead so we didn’t miss out. To avoid a timing issue, I gave myself an extra 15 minutes to make the 15 journey (major mom points for being early right?) but the sat nav said I’d arrived and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I asked several people as they walked by but no one knew so I thought I’d just jump out and pop into a shop to find out. Several shops later and no luck. By this time, the class has already started and I’m late. Again. I’m upset but I figure it is what it is, we’ll just have to miss this week, we’ll just go home. But then I remembered that my Mom pays for Rupert to do these classes and then I feel awful for wasting her money. So now I’m upset, guilty and panicked, anxious to get there asap. And Rupert needs feeding (so my boobs are starting to tingle and possibly leaking). I kept thinking “just get back to the car” but the more I thought that, the harder it was to stop the tears from falling as I became more and more anxious and embarrassed and the relief I felt at reaching the car resulted in such hard, heavy, ugly crying that I attracted assistance from a complete stranger. Whoever you are, thank you for being so kind and helpful.
I found the class this morning once I’d calmed down. I was 15 minutes late to a 45 minute class but Rupert enjoyed what we did and watching his little face during the “show” at the end (his favourite bit) made it worth all my upset. Before the class I was crying apologising to him for failing him. Now, still sat in the car on McDonald’s carpark but now feeding him, I look at his gorgeous little face beaming at me and cry because I’m ridiculous. He doesn’t care where his naming ceremony is held or if everyone gets a homemade Christmas card with his “mistletoes” on. He doesn’t care if we’re a few minutes late for a class or if I have to pop him in front of the tv for half an hour whilst I cook (or just sit still! Entertaining in a one woman show 24/7 is exhausting…). He thinks I’m great cuz I feed him and can make him laugh. The look he gives me says “love”.
On that note, I shall start a new week tomorrow. I’m shaking off this one, chalking it down to experience and being the best version I can be of the mother I want to be. She won’t wear make up, have her nails painted or be able to buy everything she wants her son to have but allowing that might make her a little less stressed. I’ll report back.