On Naps and Wishing
Currently I am sitting in my three month old baby boy’s nursery in the rocking chair, praying he doesn’t wake up from his nap. You see, this is actually the first time he has napped (if you can even call it that yet – it’s only been 10 minutes) in his own crib. Every other nap for as long as I can remember (so, his whole life) has taken place in my arms or my husband’s. We have a wonderful baby, but a very cuddly, needy one at that. And as much as I love holding our sweet boy day in and day out, I need my life back. 2019 is here, so what better time to start fresh and get my kid napping on his own?!
Why do I feel guilty saying that out loud? Shouldn’t I be in the midst of that “newborn fog” you hear about that is supposedly so blissful and a time I will never get back? Well, I’m going to say it: I hate the newborn stage. I’m probably going to get shunned for that one, but so be it. I love my son more than I ever thought I could love someone, but I’m not quite sure I love being a mom to a little being who doesn’t sleep. Selfish? Maybe. But honest, too.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mom. I thought it would be easy, since I have three younger sisters and have babysat/nannied since I was 16. HAHA. What a joke. An actual joke I played on myself. Being a mom is the hardest thing I can imagine in the world, and that’s coming from someone who got an epidural 2x for it to not work and to push a 8 pound, 15 ounce baby out with a 16 inch head. I never thought I would say something is harder than that, but being a mom to a new baby sure is.
It’s this confusing conundrum of trying to balance the emotions of love, obsession, and adoration with worry, guilt, and exhaustion. It’s being head over heels for your baby yet missing time alone with your husband. It’s pretending on the outside that you’re in heaven, but feeling dark and twisty (thanks for that one Meredith Gray) on the inside. It’s wanting to do everything on your own, but hitting your breaking point one day and being forced to ask for help. It’s living on two completely opposite ends of the spectrum until you figure it out – but do any of us ever really figure it out?
I used to write this blog all the time. I was under the impression that when my son was born I would write even MORE! I would have a new post every day that I would blissfully write while he napped peacefully and I drank my coffee and had “me time.” Instead, I have written one post since he was born on October 9. “Me time” is only possible because of my sweet husband, and I use that time to bathe, eat, clean, cook, and organize. All things that are necessary for survival. So the fact that my baby has now been napping for 20 minutes in his crib alone while I sit in a comfy chair and write this post feels like an absolute luxury. I know it won’t last, but I wish it would. And I feel like a terrible mom for saying that out loud.
So many women wish for children that never come. Others have sick or hurt babies or just really difficult ones. In the grand scheme of things, I think I have a very “easy” baby who is perfectly healthy, a great eater (seriously – he is 15 pounds at 3 months), very smiley, and super cute. That makes me feel even more guilty for “complaining” about his terrible naps, but it’s how I feel. It’s hard for me, a type A personality to have no alone time and a little babe who is dependent on me for everything. On a side note, I would have lost my mind by now if it weren’t for my husband. To all you single moms out there, I commend you. You are a superhero.
With the start of 2019 comes resolutions and people making lists of all the great things they want to accomplish or the bad habits they want to break. Sure, I’ve got some of those, too – go on actual dates with my husband again, get back into a workout routine, be a present mom, and spend less time on my phone to name a few. But above all of that I want to shift my mindset to not just wish for longer stretches of sleep for my son because it gives me a break. I WILL still wish for those good naps and nighttime sleep, but I hope for the right reasons:
When mom has time for self-care, everyone benefits.
When baby has good sleep, he is in a better mood and growing developmentally.
It will allow my husband and I to get our marriage back and grow it.
It will help me to appreciate my son instead of feeling like we are always working on a sleep schedule.
I think a lot of being a mom is feeling guilty for our feelings, and this is just so messed up. Of course we want that time back we had pre-baby – time to actually do our hair and put makeup on, go out with our husbands, and sleep through the night, but I think I speak for most moms out there when I say that we would absolutely never trade our precious babies for those things back. It’s okay to miss the past and still be appreciative of the present and excited for the future.
I’m back in the same spot I started this post, but four hours later, since my babe woke up exactly 30 minutes after I put him in the crib. But you know what? That’s 30 minutes I got to myself. 30 minutes to write this post and put my feet up. It might not seem like much, but it’s a start, and I’m convinced that 2019 will bring me more of those moments and more intentional, present, fun time with my son as we both learn to get better sleep.