Friday, January 18, 2013

How to Stay Sane When Being a Mom Is Hard Work

Although it was sometimes tough, I feel as though I sailed through 0-3 months. Then we got to 15 and a half weeks and we had our toughest hardest most difficult week yet. Sleep regressed. Micah had been sleeping in his own bassinet for around 4-6 hours at the beginning of the night and at least 2 or 3 hours at a time after that. Then last week hit and he was up every hour which meant I too was up every hour and then some since I often can't fall asleep as quickly as he does. Funniest thing was that I didn't even think I was that tired! Wow, those hormones are pretty amazing things making moms function with almost no sleep! I hit my first wall last Wednesday and had a little breakdown. I came home and wrote the following piece, which I was considering saving to try to get published in a magazine, but I am impatient and like keeping you all updated with our lives. I felt like I've been too quiet lately with current life updates as we haven't been traveling or having visitors since Christmas and since this is a lifestyle blog following is what I wrote along with the photos I took when I got home. Thankfully we have been sleeping the last few nights. Like, sleeping a lot more. Micah is sleeping without someone holding him again. Now I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to stock up on milk for him so that he has enough when I'm back at work (or, you know, out to happy hour...the important things of course!).
The Hardest Job Ever!

I look at the clock. 1:35 ok good. Still time to get out and do something today. Oh darn. It's around his nap time, but he just woke up from a little nap. Maybe I shouldn't. Oh come need a life too. He'll be fine and even if he cries in the car, he is always fine and curious once we get somewhere. So, I throw gently place the baby in his car seat, ignore the longing sad looks from the dog who watches us shut the door without him again, and head out to do something...anything. I still haven't even decided where to go. There is that Sunset Organizing magazine I'd love to glance at at Barnes and Noble and I need foundation from Bare Essentials at the mall. I'd like to get those little metal Martha Stewart organizers tab thingies from Staples so that I can get going on that mess in the office (because not having those organizing thingies is what's been slowing me down in there. It has nothing to do with the fact that the baby hasn't been falling asleep without being on me again and since he goes to bed around six or seven and we've been taking turns making dinner and doing dishes and laundry since dad got home there isn't a lot of me time. Funny how organizing the office has become me time!).

So the baby is buckled in the car, gives a few adorable full on gum showing smiles since he loves seeing me, his mom, each time. He even looks interested in the toys that are dangling in front of his head, in a desperate attempt to hold his attention for just the slightest portion of a car ride. I make my way to the drivers seat, turn on the car, drive not even to the end of the block and he's already crying. Ok, at the end of our block it was just a few little warning whimpers. I try to calm him with the sound of my voice. Micah, Mommy is here. We'll be there so soon sweetie. No need to get upset. I turn on the CD player to see if he might like that Disney cd I excitedly bought while pregnant (you know the days where I could sit in traffic and think, well this sucks and yet I kept a smile on my face,  listened to music and called and caught up with friends until I got home. You know the days before sitting in traffic wondering why in the hell no one can see this child screaming bloody murder and feeling like its been eternity, ok fine, two hours when it's really only been ten minutes.). So I turn on the CD player at another dismal attempt to distract the now full on sobbing child and the damn thing skips. Not just once or twice in the song like it has a scratch, but so much that I have to turn it off and curse the car for breaking its built in player (while secretly admitting that it probably broke due to the playing of the one and only song that actually calms the kid on repeat a bazillion times since we figured out it was magical.).

By now I've probably gone about ten blocks or so and my sons whimpers turned sobs are now full on painful sounding wails with the only moments of silence being those seconds where he has forgotten to breathe and must relearn all in the same giant moment. It is at this point that I begin to lose it. I try to fight it knowing that all moms experience this and I am going back to work soon enough. That this is just one fleeting moment of many, but my lip is quivering and I join in the sentiment and activity of the moment. I cannot equal the volume of his cry, but my river of tears surpasses his. I am wondering if it should be easier now at almost four months. If it would be considered postpartum depression or just depression if I wasn't even depressed during the "fourth trimester". While I love my own parents and tell them almost every day, it is the first time in a long time that I just really need a hug from them. The first time that I realize I wish that I could just call my mom and have her stop by (whether to watch the kid and give me some alone time or just to hug me while I cry, I'm not sure.). Why did I want to move here anyways? Did I really think this is living "not too close, but not too far away"? Not too far from what? I certainly can't just call and order up that hug.

It is at this point that I am thinking about what to do and where to go (I've turned the car around deciding I just don't have it in me today to listen to the screaming all the way to Staples and back. Should I just go to the pharmacy to get out and at least see people? I get in the left turn lane and at the last second move back into the right lane to continue to just drive the hell home and just give up the whole idea. I am not even going to let my mind start thinking about and resenting my husband who is currently at work. With other people. Interacting. Making decisions based on himself. You know, the fact that he gets to just put down his tools and just head to the bathroom if he wants and needs. No, this time I won't go there since he was extra loving last night and attempted to rock the baby to sleep before I offered up my overly used boobs (my new work "tools") to get the job done faster.

We walk in the house and ignore the now surprised and happy looks and tail wags from the dog. The baby has of course already stopped crying since we are no longer in the hellhole that is apparently my car and now the dogs wagging stops as he grows concerned sensing my current mood. I give a few more good hearty sobs then grab some Kleenex, pick up the baby, hug him so close to make sure he knows that mommy is ok and these tears are not his fault. I grab my camera since my boy is in such a good mood and there is actually still some daylight coming through our windows and click away. His cute face, bubbles and all. His little mouth sucking at his little fists since he still just hasn't figured out how to just suck on the thumb or a finger. His little hands grasping mine. Click click click. And suddenly I am in the best mood. I love him so much and I realize that I've found what I was looking for all along. An outlet. A way to stay sane. All that was right here in my camera and in the stories that I write (even if they are written clumsily on my iPad while being milked like a cow giving sustenance to my little darling before he nods off to nap on me, keeping me warm and at peace.)

So to summarize: Ways to stay sane when being a mom is hard work:
  • Breathe!
  • Cry along with the baby
  • Play with your have the best subject ever!
  • Write, write, write. It may feel like that is the last thing you have time for, but it feels so amazing once you do!


  1. I love those photos of Micah and your story. Feel free to fly home on short notice or to have one or both of us fly up to Seattle for hugs most anytime. Oh, and hopefully you will dress Micah in his 49ers outfit on Sunday so that he can bring the team good luck like he did last weekend. xoxoxo dad

  2. Ali--you're such an inspiration! I LOVE reading your blogs and how honest and candid you are! I am sure you have many readers who don't have kids yet and you are helping to prepare us next Mom's for the both the good and hard times to come! I love these pics of little Micah, especially the 2nd pic! Any time you need a hug, call me! I can be there in less than 30 minutes to scoop of you two beautiful ones in my arms and squeeze you tight! :)

    1. Thank you Anna! I know it feels good not to feel all alone on the hard days, so I wanted to write about it.

  3. I could have written this post myself (although not so eloquently). So thankful for parent baby class to know that other moms are going through it too. Thanks for sharing - feel free to check out my blog too


  4. Thanks Anna!! I appreciate it!


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