The Heatley Cliff

Oh Baby

This week at the Heatley Cliff, we’re veering slightly away from our more fantastic musings to discuss an issue that a lot of people (mothers, more specifically) don’t like to talk about.

Some of you might have read my daughter’s blog on here, it’s called Tweenage Wasteland.  Mike is a tweenager.  She tweens hard and it can be tough.  But we can talk about it.  My other daughter, Eva, is 8.  She also likes to talk through her problems (though not as readily as Mike does). My baby son, Vaughn, does not talk.

We love children here at the Heatley Cliff.  We aren’t so keen on them actually visiting because they make messes, break china, ask for things and tell us they are bored.  But in the real world, both Sheryl (who has a 4-year-old son) and I love our kids.  Dearly.

We just don’t like babies so much.

We’re just not baby people.

I love my son.  I would take a bullet for him and I have had sheer moments of bliss where I look at him and swell with absolute adoration.  But a lot of the time, it’s like playing pong.  Moving swiftly from one end of the room to other, making sure he’s not finding some way to harm himself (in a baby proof room). Babies need constant entertainment, but nothing entertains them really, because they are babies. I want to be able to give him what he needs and it is so frustrating as a mother to not be able to do that, because of course he can’t tell you.  A day alone with a baby can feel like three.  Not to mention how lonely it can be.  Truly.

Moms don’t talk about this.  It isn’t PC.  There are too many women who can seemingly do it all, and seem to love absolutely every minute of it.  There are also women who can’t have children, or whose children are grown.  There are too many reasons that moms who find this stage of parenting tough stay silent.  I understand that the days are long and the years are short.  I get that this time does not last for long, and I try to live in the present and be aware that it’s fleeting. But it doesn’t feel fleeting.  It feels overwhelming.

I get how lucky I am (actually in a moment of sheer idiocy I actually say in the podcast how I know how many women would love to be me, ha!) what I meant is that I do count my blessings.  I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.  But I also think it’s important to be honest.  I think it’s okay to say – you know this part? The part where I can’t take a shower and get food thrown at me? Where I can’t remember what if feels like to have an entire day to myself (GUILT FREE) or I’m afraid the perfect mommy police are going to arrest me for putting on The Wiggles (TWICE) or the bruise I got on my face from where I got a truck thrown at me? And the constant, never ending worry that I’ll let down my guard for one split second and something terrible will happen? That part? That part is not fun.  I don’t like that part, sorry.

I’ve seen what’s on the other side of this.  My two girls are these wonderful people that I really love spending time with.  Parenting is always a challenge, sure.  But I see glimpses of the women they will become and I am so proud.  Just the other day, Mike emptied out the dishwasher without being asked.  And yesterday, when I was sleeping on the couch, Eva pulled a blanket on me.   They are amazing.  Vaughn is amazing, too.  All I’m saying is that I’ll be glad when he’s out of the baby stage.

Maybe you are reading this, and you think I’m nuts.  You love babies, and I’m jealous.  I wish I was wired that way.  But if you are like me and Sher, then I want to tell you that you are not alone.  And you most certainly, are not a bad mother.  You’re just an honest one.

  • Alison Mclean

    I feel you! I have a 13 year old and a 20 month old. I feel like this time I at least knew that the first 3 months are baby hell, and until they can communicate it can be frustrating. Its helpful for new mothers to know this too so that they don’t have to carry so much guilt :) I took this semester off from school, and being home all day with a baby is such a mixture of joy/loneliness/hilarity and guilt!

  • Dagmar Lamp-Jõgi

    Exactly. I think that being a parent – especially if it’s the baby stage – is horrifying and awesome at the same time. AND IT’S TOTALLY OKAY. I’m always surprised that people don’t talk about it more.

  • mikaela

    its mikaela!!!

  • Diana Del Valle

    I think it is really great that you are honest about this.

  • Sara Sweeney

    When I saw the pic & headline, I thought this article was going to be about loud and destructive children in the grocery store, and I bowed my head in shame as I read on. I am glad I did! Thanks for opening the door to this – now I know there are at least 4-6 others like me. I’ve put in 5 years of constantly screaming (about effing nothing), random slaps in the face, problems that can only be solved by me (from husband & kids) and bad smells that seemingly have no source. I honestly cant wait to go back to work.

  • Trish Morrison

    Cheers to you! I often admit that when my first and only child was born, I was absolutely miserable. I wanted to push her back inside. I see these women on Facebook posing for pictures (usually sitting in a field or lying across their expensive duvets) looking lovingly at their babies and wonder why I don’t have the same kinds of pictures. BECAUSE THERE AREN’T ANY! That time was rough. I wish more people would pledge to help out their fellow moms and tell the truth rather than present an image of “wonderful motherhood.” As my husband says when I point out yet another amazing photo of a mommy and baby and ask why this didn’t happen for me, “It’s Facebook Trish, real life isn’t all wheat fields and wildflowers.”

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