Friday, April 1, 2011

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Note: Cati napped only 30 minutes all day today. This post was written in that "oh God please let my child nap so that I can have five minutes to regain what little is left of my sanity" phase. The day is now sunny and smells of summer. Proof that even Mother Nature is telling me to get over myself and brighten the heck up.

It's Friday. It's gray outside and I'm feeling gray inside. I've come to the conclusion that much like my daughter, exhaustion causes me to be moody and sensitive. There should be a sign on my forehead that says "Caution: Emotional Meltdown Eminent." I know my mood has gotten a little out of control because now you can actually SEE how I feel; I look tired, worn down, and a little rough around the edges. Normally, I try to hide how I feel because there's no point in getting others depressed when I'm just being dramatic and will soon get over my mood.

The strange thing is how conflicted my emotions are. I love being a mother and Cati is so much fun at this age. And yet. There is always an and yet. So, and yet, I am feeling the same sense of isolation and loneliness I felt a year ago. It's hard to even admit that because of how much I like and enjoy the child Cati is now as opposed to the child she was a year ago. But. And there is always a but. But still I am on mommy mode almost all the time. Yes, Cati sleeps through the night but she isn't sleeping as much during the day. And because she isn't sleeping during the day she gets cranky, sentimental, and really attached to me so my time with her is nearing being equal measures play time and consolation time. Let's add teething times three and then as a cherry on top of this motherhood mayhem sundae let's add me doing almost everything because Alex is (a) not around, (b) busy doing work, (c) too tired from work to even carry a conversation, (d) allergic to doing the baby chores of bath time and mealtime, or (d) not able to console the child who only wants to be soothed by her mother. What you get is an interesting mix of emotions in our household where oftentimes it feels like I'm the only one bursting at the emotional seams. And when I'm not on mommy mode I'm on wife mode. So you see the problem is that I spend most of my waking time being on for someone else and not enough time being on for myself. I spend all my time nurturing others and at the end of the day when there is a glimmer of a second where I can nurture myself I am too tired to do so. I go to sleep and wake up the next day and hit the repeat button. Is this the reality of being a mother? A stay at home mother? Or simply my reality?
This is the true face of motherhood. It's not always happiness and joy-filled moments. It's the most gut-wrenching, mind blowing, life altering roller coaster. It's non-stop. At least, and thank God there's an at least, it's the most forgiving and rewarding thing one can do. My daughter forgives my moods because as long as I shower her with love and attention her world is in good order. She doesn't know I'm sad or down because if she comes to me for affection she gets lathered in it. And at the end of a draining day, when my daughter walks up to me, wraps her arms around me, and lays a sweet kiss on me, I am rewarded. I know the feelings of isolation and loneliness are just figments because this little person knows who I am and loves me nonetheless. It's kind of hard to feel isolated and alone when you are the world to a person so wonderful as your own child.


Sarah said...

Did you write this or did a guest post for you because I am fairly certain I could have written this word for word (better yet since our husbands even have the same name)!

Thank you so so much for the books, I have had a great time reading them and getting lots of ideas for recipes to try with Liam.

We are finally starting to get settled and I will be with internet (all the time) next week so I will have to email you so we can catch up!

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie!
I know EXACTLY how you feel, only that my situation is much worse than yours.
The only fact that I don't even have the time to sit here and explain my situation should say something.
However, we have many things in common and that's why I've been reading your blog for quite some time: I'm a stay at home mom too, I'm always alone (my relatives and friends live in another continent), my husband is never home and not really a supportive/hands-on type of man, to say the least, I'm a food/mommy blogger and mother to an 18-month-old little girl that I literally worship!
Whenever you feel lonely or frustrated, remember that I fell like that too and totally understand you, not because I've already been there, but because, as I said, my situation is much worse than yours :)
Maybe this doesn't help, but remember this, and remember that despite my "problems", I'm still here and very happy to be a mom and to be alive. If I can do it, anyone can.
Now let me try and be useful: you said your daughter has been having very iregular naps, which leave you very frustrated. Been there. It happens a lot. It simply means that she's changing, she's growing and she's going towards a time in her life when she will no longer need 2 naps a day. My baby behaved in the same way (btw, mine still doesn't sleep through the night and only sleeps in our bed and only falls asleep if I'm holding her and rocking her) so I decided cut her morning nap. She wakes up around 7-7.30, breakfast, diaper, play time, light snack at around 9.30, lunch at 11.30 or 12 (depending on how hungry she is), nap at around 1PM- 1.30PM, till 2.45 and goes to sleep at around 9PM.
If you're lucky though, yours will nap for 2.3 hours and still go to sleep relatively early at night (I know some who go to sleep at 8 and sleep through te night).
I hope this was helpful.
I suggest you do the same. It's tough at first, because she will get tired quickly, but you gotta be strict and don't let her fall asleep before nap time (if she really can't stay awake till it's nap time, try waking her up later in the morning or having some relaxing time after her morning snack by reading a book on the bed, for example). As I said, it takes time and patience to adjust to the new routine, but i's really worth it: soon (as I said, if you're lucky) you'll have 2-3 hours of time during the day to do the chores, relax, have time for yourself and she'll go to bed earlier at night so you'll have more time even in the evening. Think about it!
To give you an idea of what I've been going through, please check my post:

Btw, I apologize for my English, this is not my mother tongue.
Wish you all the best!

I Sing In The Kitchen said...

It is always such a relief to see someone else admit that being a mother is just plain hard work. I love your honesty. My kids are older now, but as they say 'little kids, little problems...big kids, big problems'. I'm no longer sleep deprived, but am often emotionally exhausted by the responsibility and the constant demands of raising children.

Hang in there. Don't be hard on yourself because you know deep in heart that you are a good mother and wife. Your photos speak to that. Cati is a lucky girl.

Melanna said...

Oh Stephanie, It is NOT just you! I think every mother at some point feels the exact same way. When I am lacking sleep and "me" time (worse if I haven't had a decent meal, which sometimes gets missed in the juggling of two kids) I turn into a bear. And this is when my 2.5 year old becomes clingy and I don't want someone touching me. It's hard to explain to her that I need a few minutes to myself and then Mommy will be fun again.
As for Cati's lack of sleeping. A Mommy friend once told me that when kids grow physically they have to relearn things (this can range from things like walking - they'll get clumsy - to manners, to sleeping. Anything developmental). Once the growth spurt is done and their brain has caught up, then everything evens out again. It seems to be true with my kids since I've been watching for it. It just kind of sucks when you're going through it. I used to put my oldest in her crib with toys and make her play there to give myself "me" time, even if she wouldn't sleep. An older mom pointed out to me that what we call pack'n'plays and use primarily for sleeping when we're not at home, the previous generation called Play pens and literally set them up in the living room to be used as a contained space for their child to play so that they could keep their sanity. Do what you need to do for even 5 minutes to yourself. You're a great mom! We all have rough patches. That doesn't change how great you are!

Katrina said...

Great post. You said it well for all mothers. Times get better-they really do, but you'll always face rough patches. You sound like a wonderful person and a fantastic mom!

Desi said...

Stephanie, I can't say that I know where you are coming from but it is completely understandable! I don't have any kids but it is reasonable that you feel lonely sometimes. And of course it is so understandable to vent your frustrations with motherhood at times. No one expects it to be smooth sailing all of the time. I respect your honesty and appreciate it, you are helping future mommies-to-be like me be aware of the challenges of motherhood. Of course I don't know you in real life, but I truly feel like I do from reading your blog. And I can honestly say that you seem like such a sweet person, an AMAZING mother, and like you would be a great friend. I could totally see us hangin out :) So if you ever feel lonely just know that you've got your bloggy friend, Desi, here to help in any way that I can!