In the middle of something

I haven't blogged in awhile. Oh, I've written blog posts, but I haven't had the courage? guts? peace? to post them. You know when you feel as if you are still in the middle of something and you have no perspective on it yet? You're not sure if the monsters you're seeing in the closet are real or just a figment of your imagination? You don't know how the story ends yet? When you're in the middle of something, sometimes it's better not to make grand proclamations, not to share your unsettled feelings, to wait for things to take a firmer shape.

Well, I've been in the middle of something. Still am.

I suppose I could be melodramatic and call it a crisis of motherhood, because that's how it's felt. Not only have I had little time to sit down, reflect, write, but I've also had little inclination, as my mood and energy seem shot.

Sleep my friends, sleep. Not that I'm not getting a "decent" amount, but it's been a looooonnng process - two and a half months - that is still ongoing to move Will from our bed and the swing to sleeping in his own crib. And I'm smack dab in the middle of it and uncertain what to do on several fronts. There has been progress. But each day (or night, rather) still feels shaky and tense. "What's going to happen tonight? Will we build positive momentum or start
spiraling downward?"

Part of the crisis for me has been questioning some of my philosophies of baby-rearing as we enter new phases and face new challenges.

Am I a hippy dippy granola mama, with a family bed who nurses her baby all night and keeps nursing until he's four? Or do I set boundaries, like sleeping in his own crib (possibly sleep training, ugh) and nightweaning? I find that I just don't have the make up to be the granola mama for four years. For the first few months it felt like the perfect fit, but I don't have it in me to nurse all night long forever. And I find myself wondering if I've already created a problem I have to dig myself out of.

I'm still questioning. My faith in myself and my judgment and my choices in the past six months is shaken. My confidence in making future choices is weak.  I've read a bajillion books it seems. Talked to many people. I feel surrounded by questions and infinite, different answers and opinions. I'm still praying for peace, to know, in my gut, the right thing to do. Peace is still eluding me.

Part of the crisis for me is feeling buried by the daily grind. Since he's not going to bed consistently earlier at night, I don't get a break in the evening, when I most need it. My only breaks are during his naps during the day (when I'm writing this, thank goodness for progress made there. I just feel like a drowning man - constantly gasping at a little bit of air before going back under - never getting enough time to feel like I've come back to stasis again.

Not that I don't love, adore, my little Bobo - cuz I do - it's just that I imagined (ha) this first year of babyhood to be a rather linear process, with the lowest point being the newborn days, and climbing gradually out of that to greater and greater stability. In other words, I thought I'd have my mojo back by now! I had a little taste of it several months ago, and I thought - hey, it's not like it used to be, but I can do this motherhood thang. But now, I feel like my mojo has permanently flown the coop. I wonder if I'll ever feel like myself again (before the age of 40). It brings me down, because this is NOT what I wanted motherhood to be. I wanted it to sparkle - well at least a little. Not feel dark.

It is hard to write these things in a sea of sparkly motherhood blogs with attractively dressed children roaming through pumpkin patches while attractively dressed mothers, carrying adorable, good sleeping newborns in baby carriers look beamingly on. It is hard to be honest. But I KNOW I'm not the only one who has felt the way I do at times. So, I'm being honest. Scared to be. But I am.

My heart aches, because OH how I want another child at some point! And I don't have forever to do it. But I feel so deficient right now, I feel guilty for wanting another one. I wonder if I can. I wonder what is wrong with me that I can't seem to manage what other women (seem) to manage so easily. I wonder if I've made things harder on myself by doing some of the things the way I've done them, making earlier choices for expediency (like cosleeping) that have come back to bite me later.

I hope, I pray, this is just a blip on the motherhood radar, a temporary low point that I will rise up from, phoenix-like. But it's where I'm at, today, right now. Not for one second do I regret my little Bo - his beautiful spirit and smile keeps me going, keeps a smile on my own face, choosing intentional positivity as much as I can in each moment, for him.  But I want more than survival, I want to thrive!

So if you're wondering where I've gone to... well I'm in the never never land of motherhood right now. I hope I'll be back someday soon.


  1. Oh sweetie. This is indeed a blip, and I promise one day you will look back on this and be able to put it in perspective.
    One thing that drives me CRAZY about hippy-dippy mothers (and according to some I am one - breastfed both on demand, co-slept, baby-wore, baby led weaning and solids introduction)is that we tend to stick these ^ labels on ourselves! And be pretty stringent about the rules of mommyhood. But the truth is - no hard and fast rules apply to motherhood practiced in good faith. You have to take care of yourself so that you are able to take care of your baby. If that means stopping breastfeeding at some point so that you can be a rested, happy, positive mommy, then by all means do it. The baby will be fine and thrive and be happy because you are happy. And the blanket term "sleep training" drives me crazy too - I never let either one of my girls scream themselves to sleep, but I did nurse them and rock them and then put them in their cribs and let them fuss for a minute or two (never crying) before I would go pick them up. And after increasing the periods where I would let them self-sooth, they would be able to fall asleep on their own. Did I "sleep train"? I don't feel like I did. I know I let them find a soothing place other than at my breast so that I could be a better mom. My youngest refused the breast at 8 months, and I was devastated. I nursed my oldest til she was 2, no WAY was I giving this up! I pumped for another 2 months and gave it to her via bottle, but honestly? It was kind of nice to be able to connect with her without feeling like a feeding station. And I felt like by her refusing the breast she was making her wishes known, and I had to respect that.
    So listen to your heart. All the answers are there. I know you are doing a great job with him, and NO woman manages this easily. If you see someone who looks like they are, unfortunately the poor woman is most likely running herself ragged to "keep it all together". Big hugs and peace.

  2. Thanks for being brave and telling your truth.

    I think the truth for most of us is we're constantly modifying our parenting style, as kids get older and enter different phases. I think we all just get better at accepting that we don't know it all and probably never will, but we can (eventually) figure out how to do what's best for our family.

    Hang in there. You got this.


  3. Oh, I'm so sorry--I really feel for you! You're in the trenches right now, but it will get better. Honestly, it will! There are many things I could say, but I'll just offer you a few thoughts from my own experience and perspective. First of all--some things aren't worth the fight. When my kids were younger and we were involved in playgroups, LLL, etc., I saw various moms working so very hard at such things as potty training, getting their kids weaned or in bed early, or moving them out of the family bed. I had a much easier time of it by just letting things happen naturally when my kids were ready. I know--you've heard this before. But it really worked for us. My kids potty-trained totally on their own (at quite young ages, actually), and my son slept with us (and nursed) until he was 4 (he had and still has a very strong will), but I slept fine in this arrangement. Another thought: take it a day at a time. Again, this sounds simplistic, but it really works. I didn't necessarily intend on breastfeeding my kids for so long, but in reality, it really didn't matter to me--I just let it be what it was, each day. I'm not saying it was all easy, but overall, I felt pretty good as a young mother--busy, but good. It certainly helped that I could usually sleep late in the mornings! Anyway, I hope you'll find what works for you!