“Outside the windows the day was bright: golden sunshine, blue sky, pleasant wind . . . I wanted to punch the happy day in the face, grab it by the hair, and beat it until it told me what the hell it was so happy about.” ~Ilona Andrews
No fewer than ten people have said to me an amalgamation of the following terms:
- “I can’t believe you just had a baby.”
- “You look great for just having a baby.”
“You have so much energy! I wish I could have been like that after giving birth.”
- “You seem so relaxed like you are on vacation.”
- “You make it seem so easy.”
After each one of these observances I smile, laugh a little laugh, and state that it’s just the whole “not being at work that agrees with me”. True, I’ve been walking every day. True, I’ve lost 20 pounds and am actually under my pre-baby weight. True, my baby seems to do a great job for sleeping long stretches at night.
But these are the observations from the Monet point of view. From far away it seems like my life after a newborn is a masterpiece. Rich in color, vibrant in activity, something you can hang on a mantel and then marvel. It seems like by kid #3 I have it figured out and “baby” motherhood, and “mom of three” motherhood is agreeing with me whole-heartedly.
But here’s the trick: go up to that painting and stand so that your nose is almost touching. Now it’s a mess; a bunch of blurred lines, overly textured colors, haphazard in appearance and technique and that is more of a representation of my life these day. When you look up close you’ll see that I’ve been walking everyday because I don’t always have access to a car to pick the kids up from school (luckily we live close) and also because I need running the way some people need prozac, and since I can’t run (and don’t have prozac), I walk. I lost 20 pounds which happens to be all my baby weight and then some because during my pregnancy I was so stressed and had terrible heartburn so I never ate enough and therefor didn’t gain any weight (which, contrary to what some might think, is not a good thing). And the reason my baby sleeps so well? According to her doctor it’s because she’s not eating enough so her body is putting her in a hibernation mode to conserve energy.
So today, I woke my baby up after 3 hours for her 3rd feeding after which she promptly fell asleep and while I should have been cleaning the house, or doing laundry, or any of the other 100 things that needed to get done while the kids were at school, I cried. Or if I’m being really honest I stuffed my face full of Ritz crackers and cried because I felt like a terrible mother (and then I felt terrible for eating the Ritz crackers).
So not only was I feeling terrible, but then both the other littles were having trouble with their “listening ears” and I had to yell which made me feel even more terrible. And the icing on the cake (wait, there’s cake?) was the full on melt down I had at dinner when our rental company called and said they were showing our house tomorrow, which means I had to scrub it clean tonight.
But it’s 3 hours later now. All the kids are in bed and asleep. I just ate a lovely chocolate bar and a spoon full of peanut butter. And perspective is starting to creep back in to my subconscious. In a few short hours it will be a new day and I’ll get the chance to start over again.
Sometimes that’s really all we have to hold on to.