My little boy is seven and a half months old. I have no idea how many weeks anymore; I lost count at thirty when life got really busy. It sort of feels like we had a bit of a tricky time for a while, where I was trying not to sink. There was so much to do, people to please and hideous hormones flying all over the place. My self esteem was low. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I found the last few months way, way harder than the newborn stage (yikes, I’m sure I’ll laugh at how easy this stage was at the next. We haven’t hit teething yet. Fool!). The early days came naturally though. Sammy would sleep and whilst he did suffer from some tummy pain, he’d never scream relentlessly. Yes, there were times where I’d call my mum in desperate sobs for help. But that was more often than not because the state of the house was getting to me (how does a floor get so filthy?). More recently, it didn’t seem so easy.
Sammy was fine. He was still my smiling little monkey, progressing as he should. It felt more from within me. Something weighing heavier than before. Was it that the initial elation of motherhood had lifted? No. My mind (and heart) is still blown each time I greet him from a nap. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation. The seven plus months of no more than three hours in a stretch. Days would start at five after going to bed at midnight with a feed in between (my own fault but there was always stuff to be done; like a new business to make a success of, a blog I should be writing). It’s nothing special. Like every new parent, I was tired. I felt silly though, I only had one baby to look after. Other people look fine.
When Sammy was tiny, I’d have no problem heading out to the shops for the entire day. The two of us would have a lovely time, making the most of the work-free lifestyle. The pressure of trying to get him in a routine meant that all this stopped and I’d find myself housebound in the hope that we would crack it. He’d end up giving into sleep at random times, which made baby groups impossible as they’d invariably clash. It only dawned on me the other day when I found myself being scared to do the trip I took him on without a second thought when he was just two weeks old. How had this happened?
He has eventually found his routine through trial and error. And the hermit behaviour can also be blamed on my workload, the initial bulk of which is over for the time being (and something I also felt torn with guilt over – working on a business for long term gain or devoting every second of my attention to Sammy. Was I being a bad mother? Was I leaving him in the Jumperoo too much? He does love it in there). I’m my own harshest critic at the best of times and it felt like I was constantly angry at myself for failing and not doing it all to the best it could be. That in itself is frustrating.
More than anything else though, underlying it all, was the end of breastfeeding. I took it hard. Really hard. I wasn’t ready at all. He was. But that’s another post for another day. Nobody warns you of the massive crash you can feel when you wean. It’s frightening.
The wobbles have passed as sleep has got less scarce though. I’m back in control for the time being, I hope. It’s certainly something you have to learn to compromise as a perfectionist/mother; the control being out of your hands. You have to juggle, you have to balance. You have to pick yourself up and do what you can at that point in time without beating yourself up about it. Everyone finds it tough at times and some people have it a lot worse. That baby is smiling and that’s all that matters. And let’s be honest, it’s all pretty good. I still squeeze the buggy with glee every time we go out. Which, incidentally, we’re back to doing a lot more of.