Where I Admit I’m Drowning. Slowly. And Without Style.

Posted on | September 19, 2013 | 10 Comments

As a new mother, sleep-deprived and leaking from… let’s face it, almost EVERY orifice, I was convinced that if I could just make it through the first few months, I would find a pattern that worked for me and things would get easier.  And for a while, they did.  I became a pro at pumping in the office, in the car, and even perched on the edge of a filthy courthouse toilet. I could change a diaper with one hand while talking on the phone. I could unsnap, pull off, and change my child’s clothes with one arm tied behind my back… not that I tried, but still. It got easier.

Work was mostly flexible, in that I could bring my sweet baby to the office and tuck him into his pack n play, letting him coo and cuddle against the sides of the protected space while I met my billable hours.  On the days he was well enough to attend daycare, I would pick him up with a spring in my step because just having him in my arms was enough to make everything else worth while.

And then he began to crawl.

And then walk.

And then talk.

And during all of that madness, I changed jobs… twice… changed houses… twice… and became a single mother.

And those days of sleep-deprived madness and poop on the backside of everything I owned seem like a distant nightmare, made cautiously pleasant with time. “But he was stationary,” I tell myself. “But he couldn’t talk back.”

The routine I crafted for me and my infant, then toddler… that routine just isn’t working anymore for this larger than life pre-schooler who has invaded my home and heart.  What used to take twenty minutes now takes forty because there is attitude and tears and bribes and exasperation.  What used to be the sweet moment of reconciliation at the end of a long day has become a tentative peek around the corner, bracing myself for the onslaught of almost pre-teen angst that will pour from my child’s every movement and sound the minute he is out of sight of his school friends.

My “I’m totally rocking this working mother thing” has turned into “Dear God someone please help me and can I up my meds or maybe drink for breakfast?!” The moments of success seem fewer and farther between and the ends of my days are spent in tears… his and often mine… as we struggle to find ourselves in this new landscape of new schools, new friends, new responsibilities and even new boyfriends. I used to feel that I was floating on a prickly raft; safely above the turmoil of some lives but still with the occasional prick of reality that I don’t have a spouse to step in and share the burden.

Lately, my raft has sprung a leak.

Now I find myself mired in the turmoil, pricked on all sides by my steadily sinking raft and I am constantly shouting “BECAUSE I SAID SO” like they’re  the only words that make any sense any more.

And I think, perhaps, they are.


10 Responses to “Where I Admit I’m Drowning. Slowly. And Without Style.”

  1. shellthings
    September 19th, 2013 @ 9:31 am

    Each new stage changes things. Sometimes, each new day brings something different. Hang in there. xo
    And “because I said so” is a totally valid explanation.

  2. Law Momma
    September 19th, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    Oh I hope so!

  3. Your Doctor's Wife
    September 19th, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    You’ll find a grove that works for both of you. Hang tight!

  4. Law Momma
    September 19th, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    Oh I’m hanging. Somewhere… 😉

  5. ryenerman
    September 19th, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    This is one of the serious challenges of parenting that I feel ambushed by all the time, the constant change and how it screws with whatever routine I’ve finally managed to piece together. Sometimes it feels like a constant game of Whack-a-mole, as soon as I vanquish one thing, something else comes up. The 3-4 age is just so challenging. My pediatrician referred to it as the first teen years and it feels just like that. I am in them right now (youngest is 4) and I know they will pass because Oldest is 10 and I survived this the first time around, but man it is so hard not to feel like it’s never going to end or you’re going to lose your sanity in the process. I don’t have any good advice, just empathy and a promise that it WILL improve!

  6. Ann
    September 19th, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    Are you wanting to make a change in how you do things or are you just hoping this phase will end soon? If you do want to make a change there will be a very hard adjustment period. There are lot of different methods out there you just have to choose one and fully commit to it. If you are hoping it is just a phase, good luck, take a breath, and hope it passes soon. Parenting is never an easy task but so worthwhile when you see them succeed and confidently walk on their own…even if it takes a long time to get to that point. Wishing you happiness!

  7. Laura
    September 19th, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

    This mirrors my thoughts exactly. Hang in there. And know some change may occur on its own, but if you want to move things along/ take some power back, there are different routines you could get into. You will find what is right for you and J!

  8. Olivesinba
    September 19th, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

    I say keep hanging, it sounds like you are doing a great job. Might I venture to say that I think you are pretty hard on yourself and I can only guess that such a trait might even creep into other relationships as well. Lightening up is never easy nor not sweating the small stuff, but a little more credit where it is due might help both of you. Keep writing and keep being the loving mom that I am sure you are and I hope that your load becomes a little lighter.

  9. Delia Wiederhold Love
    September 20th, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

    Oh girl. All of this sounds so familiar and mine isn’t quite 4 yet! I wish I had advice, but really…maybe the best course of action is to buy more wine.

  10. KeAnne
    September 26th, 2013 @ 11:53 am

    Yes. Oh yes. We have tantrums in the morning and in the evening every since he transitioned to a new school. I feel like my best time with him is the 5 minutes we cuddle before I wake him up when he’s not screaming or whining or contradicting me. Tough, tough time.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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