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Real Moms Cry
When my oldest was born, I had it so easy. My husband was truly an equal partner. T hadn't been all that involved in my pregnancy, but he adored Hollis from the moment he came out screaming. Before Hollis began sleeping through the night, T took half of the night for all wakings and feedings. He would fight me to change diapers, take Hollis out to give me time to myself, and otherwise dote on both of us. While it seemed difficult at the time, it was a dream compared to my post-partum life after number 2.

When my second son was born, everything was so much harder. I had a 15 month old toddler and a newborn who wouldn't sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time and we were struggling with that whole breastfeeding thing. Rather than pump for night time feedings like I had with Hollis, I was determined to establish an exclusive breastfeeding relationship. Well, I did, but I can't help but think that in doing so I cut my husband out of the picture. For the first 9 months, T wasn't nearly as engaged with Holden as he had been with Hollis. Don't get me wrong, he adored him and still does. But Holden clearly had a favorite and it was the parent with the milk jugs.

The whole thing came to a head when Holden was 3 or 4 months old. I had gone back to work full time and Holden still wasn't sleeping. In fact, he was spending much of his time at night nursing to make up for his loss of Mommy time during the day. The only way I could get any sleep, was to have Holden in our bed. One evening, exhausted beyond all reason, T attempted to decamp to the guest bed room. As you can imagine, WWIII ensued. I accused him of being selfish and disengaged. He just wanted some sleep. But at the end of all the screaming, T did move into the guest bedroom. And he stayed there for 3 months. When he left, I sat there with my adorable, demanding, overwhelming, little bundle of joy and frustration and sobbed into his sweet little head. I cried like I hadn't cried in years. I cried because no one had warned me that being a mom would so hard. I cried because I loved my husband, but I realized that at that moment in time, Holden was more important. I cried for the change in my relationships and the loss of my freedom. I cried because I wanted to be all things to all people and I couldn't. I cried because I wanted to do it all and I was failing miserably.

I wish I could say that my flood 'o tears gave me some sort of epiphany, that I realized that many women feel this way, that an identity crisis of sorts is normal after having children. It didn't happen instantly. There were a lot of tears over the next few months, no doubt brought on by hormones, sleep deprivation, stress, and a touch of PPD. Eventually, Holden became more enamored with big people food than my ta-tas. At 8 months, he began sleeping through the night and I slowly started to regain my sanity. Now my littlest man is 15 months old and is starting to become a "real person." (T's term for the emerging toddler personality.) And we feel more like a real family than the Sane Parent, the Crazy Parent, and 2 kids. I still cry when I have those days. You know, when Big H does nothing but whine, Little H is a little teething crank, T wants more of my attention, I have work I need to do, and I truly cannot watch Cars one. more. time. But I try to give myself a break and not pretend to everyone that I'm some sort of perfect supermom. I think I do a disservice to all mothers when I pretend that it's easy for me. I'm not advocating scaring the crap out of every pregnant woman, but I don't want to pretend that everything must be perfect for me to be happy. Real moms cry and I want everyone to know it.

Yes, I think I must be the last woman in the blogger world to get around to doing Kristin's wonderful meme, but what can I say? Real moms procrastinate! Check out the rest of the Real Moms posts if you have some time.

On an unrelated note, does anyone else have problems leaving comments on Word Press blogs? I've discovered I can't leave comments on any Word Press blog. It acts like it's been saved and then it just doesn't show up. It's quite frustrating. Anyone else have this problem?



What a touching post! I found myself welling up just reading it, because I remember that frustration SO well. I suffered PPD so terribly after the birth of my daughter, that the doctor put me on meds when I was 4 months pregnant with my son! Thank goodness for that as his first year of life was a sleep deprived, colic-screaming, constant sickness NIGHTMARE!
Real moms do feel that tug of mommy vs. wife....and finding a balance is DIFFICULT!

Great post!

Blogger DD said...

Have you emailed the owner of the wordpress blog to see if your comment was in moderation? Something triggers wordpress to throw some commenters into moderation. The same thing happened on my other blog and didn't even know it. When I checked my "pending moderation" I had several comments I didn't even know about.

Being a mother brings intense joy, but that joy wouldn't be as intensely felt if there wasn't some intense sadness or frustrations to balance it out.

Blogger Amy W said...

Amen. Real moms cry and procrastinate. Welcome to my world!

Great post!

Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

That is so true!

(and K was in the other room for 6 months.)

Blogger PunditMom said...

LM, Thanks for the great post. I remember those days (not that I don't still have them, but just ot as often!)

I, also, can't seem to leave comments on WordPress blogs.

Blogger CPA Mom said...

What a great post. I've been following the "Real Moms..." for a while. I think I relate to yours the most. Since I cry all the time and have been doing so for over four years now. Good times.

Blogger jen said...

this is a beautiful post. i so wish i was blogging when i first became a mom...i think it would havce made my own tears so much easier to deal with knowing others were here in this place too.

and even now that things are a bit easier i can still easily remember those times, and your post brought tears to my eyes.

like you said, no epiphanies..but tears, and it was very real.

Blogger Ann said...

So, so true! I've got two kids as well, and our experiences with them were so similar.

Just found your blog, and I love it!

Blogger Tonya said...

I just found your blog and that was a great post! I feel like a big cry baby sometimes, especially when things get overwhelming. I'll be back!

Blogger JudesMommy said...

I thought I'd left a comment yesterday, but I either dreamed it or the internet ate it, one of the two. :-)

This was an incredibly touching post that went straight to my heart. As someone who spent the first year and a half in a fog of sleepless depression, it's validating to know I wasn't alone.

These are our stories. They need to be told and you've done a wonderful job adding to the book of twenty-first century mommyhood.

Blogger Pendullum said...

I have been having endless problems in bloggerland...Itseemsas though all my comments are being eaten and spat out into cyberspace...
And a Beautiful,beautiful, honest post by the way...

Blogger Justice Fergie said...

great post!!

real moms do cry (and some even end up on antidepressants). it'll be ok :-)

glad to have found your blog.

Anonymous Emily said...

What a lovely post. We do cry, and sometimes we cry alot. Thanks for sharing this story. We have all been there one way or another.

Blogger Justice Jones said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Justice Jones said...

I concur, great post! Sometimes what we all need is just a good cry. And I'm at that point. My youngest, age 11.5 months, recently decided he no longer will take a bottle and refuses to consume any sort of liquid unless it comes directly from the source- yours truely! This is very frustrating, especially since my goal was to nurse 12 months, and then wean him. I was determined to make it to one year. Well, Youngest has decided to foil that plan, even though he had been doing just fine on the bottle since he was four months old. Two weeks ago he started daycare and he's very upset about it and this is his pay back. When we get home, it's a nurse-fest. Almost non-stop until bedtime. This gives me no time for my other two children. This defeats pumping since I send milk to daycare and he refuses to have a bottle or sippy cup go near his mouth. He even refused the table food that I was sending him even though he has been mashing everything from chicken to pasta for at least 2 months. If he keeps this up, I will have a breakdown any minute now. Stay clear of my wrath...)

Blogger Number Twelve said...

I LOVE this entry. You ARE real thru and thru. Thank you for sharing. I am SO bookmarking your blog now. :-)

Blogger ECR said...

I think I'm a bit militant about this issue--I DO advocate scaring the crap out of prospective parents :) I've even written about it before, using the same phrase as you--that it does a "disservice" to others to sugarcoat motherhood. I was glued to every word of your post. You're a real mom and a real good blogger.

Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

If we'd had a guest room, my husband and the dog would've been there. And maybe never ever returned.

This was a great post. So you don't watch Cars and entertain fantasies of abandoning your legal career and driving off into the sunset to a small town and opening up a motel like your Cars counterpart Sally?

Alpha DogMa
(aka she who has watched Cars once a week since November)

Anonymous Momish said...

Real moms (all moms) cry. A lot. Luckily, I had lots of real moms prepare me. It scared me before I had a kid, but afterwards, it just made me feel comforted.

Great post!

Blogger K said...

Nice post. I remember that time well and I always think it does women a service to explain that it's hard and not all "I loved my baby from minute one and I'm the happiness I've ever been" blah, blah, blah. While that may be true some days, it's unfair to say all days.

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