Motherhood isn’t like I thought it would be, mostly because I can’t remember thoughts I had before Milo was here. How annoying, right? I am completely overtaken by this tiny creature. I still do all the things I used to do, but I do them for him, about him, because of him.
I still spend a majority of my time interacting with social media, but it’s pretty much a constant stream of pictures I take of my incredibly beautiful baby, who is, of course, the first lovely baby to ever exist. I still spend my days texting Ben and the rest of my family as my main way to keep in touch, but instead of funny movie quotes and countdowns to the next visit, I send cute pictures and anecdotes and poop updates. POOP UPDATES REALLY HONESTLY POOP UPDATES. I know. I also do a lot more online shopping (Christmas is coming and we’re entering the unpaid portion of my maternity leave), and I’m simply ruthless about what blogs I read now. Sometimes I just hit “mark as as read” and move about my day. I’m living on the edge.
I still get up earlier than most of my household in order to get ready for “work.” When teaching was my only job, I cherished getting into the classroom before many people were around. I would read over my lesson plans and go around changing the dates on the whiteboard, setting out materials for centers, and getting myself organized to tackle the day. I found that I have fallen into a really similar routine in the house. I feel 97% more prepared to be a mama when I’ve taken time to make sure all the bottles and pacifiers are washed and sanitized, I’ve restocked the diaper change basket with plenty of diapers/a clean changing pad/new peepee teepees, the bassinet is moved into the living room with clean sheets and a fresh swaddle blanket and burp cloth hanging over the side, and I have a clean outfit for Milo waiting patiently for the first daylight feeding. These tasks take me about 15 minutes if everyone is sleeping when I try to do them, but the effect is so goddamn satisfying I feel like I’ve just solved world hunger when I’m done. I also keep a feedings/pumping/diaper changes log, which is reminiscent of teacher record keeping that I might just miss a little. I mark off that I’m drinking enough water and remembering to take my pills. I’ve finally stopped forgetting to eat, so I don’t track that.
The thing I didn’t expect to be so cutting is guilt. It’s mostly coming from within myself, but it’s surprisingly keen and hits me when I’m not quite prepared for it. I feel guilty for not exclusively breastfeeding, and then I feel guilty for continuing to try to force Milo to nurse when it’s something that makes him scream almost every time. I feel guilty for not holding him enough, and when I feel guilty when people tell me that he needs to be laying down more or we’ll spoil him. I feel guilty for spending money on the brand name formula, and guilty when I consider switching to the Target brand (“You already aren’t giving him breast milk, now you’re going to buy cheap formula, too!?”) I feel guilty when Ben takes over Milo-duty and I read in the bathtub. I feel guilty that we were given a very expensive breast pump that I am using only once or twice a day. I feel guilty that something is wrong with the radiator in Milo’s nursery and I don’t know how to make it warm enough in there to feel safe leaving him in his crib overnight. I feel guilty that I love sleeping with him snuggled in our bed, even thought one million people/doctors/academies of science have said this is dangerous and they don’t suggest it. I feel guilty for not using the baby carrier that we bought yet, and then I feel guilty when I read a blog entry from a babywearing mama who says that the brand we registered for “should never be used for a baby.”
Actually, that babywearing mama’s use of the word “never” kind of snapped me out of it for a second. In my head, the voice of my best self said, “Who in the world is she to say never about anything? She doesn’t know Milo.” And then I was okay, because I thought, just for a second, that if someone was wrong, it might not be me. I remember distinctly just clicking the X and not allowing myself to wallow deeper into the guilt of possibly buying the wrong kind of baby carrier. As good as it felt to pour out my worries in the confessional above, I simply do not have the time or ability to let those things overcome me. It feels nice to sit with your self-pity sometimes, but there is someone who needs me, and his name is Milo, and he leaves no room in my heart for thinking about myself negatively. It’s not something I would have ever been about to wrap my mind around before he came.
Almost everything I was certain about before I was a mother has been disproved in a span of only 3 weeks. The only thing I know is that I am already better than I was before October 13th.