The Motherhood Manual: *#%! …I’ll see you tomorrow!

I sat up in bed, slammed my hand down on the bedcovers to my left, and yelled *#%! (which I can tell you is a REALLY bad word that I pretty much never say).  I got out of bed, grabbed my robe, and barely glanced at my bewildered husband as I stomped into my baby’s room to try to get him to stop crying for the 75th time that night.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, nursing did not always come easily.  Eventually, though, we got the hang of it and settled into a routine of nursing before bed, then waking up a couple of times during the night to nurse, then once more early in the morning. What that translated to in terms of sleep for me varied quite a bit depending on the night.  And, although we had a good routine going most nights, I needed more consistent sleep than what I was getting.

I have always been one of those eight hours of sleep a night type people.  I can do less, but not for consecutive nights …at least not without side effects. I start having a hard time thinking and I may get a little crabby sometimes. Apparently if this happens for multiple nights and you add in post-pregnancy hormones, then top it off with some pure frustration, I kick it up a couple notches past just plain ol’ crabby.

On this particular night, I was completely exhausted.  Jacob had waken me up repeatedly during the night wanting to nurse, then falling asleep, then waking back up again.  By the umpteenth time of this, I had totally lost it.  Throughout the night I had nursed him, changed him, rocked him, sung to him, and put him to bed over and over again.  Each time I would go back to bed only to hear him a short while later crying again.  Now as a sane person who just last night got over eight hours of sleep and has no wacked out pregnancy hormones left in my body (most days), I know that Jacob may have just not felt good or needed to just be held or whatever.  Right now I could handle that just fine.  I’m sure I knew that then too, but I was so exhausted and so frustrated that I couldn’t think straight.

So, when I heard him start to cry again that 75th time, I was done.  As I said, I sat up, slammed my hand down, yelled my super bad word, and pulled on my robe as I marched into Jacob’s room.  I tried once again to see if nursing him would help, but he just kept crying.  At that point I could no longer cope.  I put Jacob back in his crib and stomped back into my bedroom.  As I pulled on my sneakers and grabbed my keys, I informed my husband that I was leaving and that I’d probably see him tomorrow.  He stared at me as I turned around and headed down the hallway.  I can not imagine what he was thinking as he heard me drive off in the car, wearing nothing but a robe and a sock less pair of sneakers.

I had no plan…

That’s probably obvious, though.  I just knew I couldn’t handle it anymore.  I started driving and trying to figure out where I was going to go at 3:00 in the morning.  The problem was I didn’t want to go anywhere.  I didn’t want to go to a friend’s house or to be comforted by my mom or to anywhere.  I just wanted to be gone.

So, I just drove and I thought… as best as my sleep deprived brain could.  Being a new mom was hard.  It brought out such a mix of emotions in me.  I wanted to be the one who my baby needed.  I wanted to be the one who could always make it all better.  At the same time, though, I desperately wanted to be free of that responsibility.  The thing was, though, the desire for that freedom was right there next to the desire for that dependence… totally contradictory emotions nestled right up together.  No wonder I snapped every now and then.

Every time, though, in the end, there was no question which desire was stronger.  I was a mom more than I was me.  It superseded all the rest… eventually.  So, that night I drove around for about an hour or so wishing that I lived in a big enough town that it took longer to get around.  By the end of my hour plus, I’d pretty much covered the town and had nowhere else to drive, so I headed back home.  As I climbed back into bed next to my husband, he asked me if I was better and held me as I fell asleep.

Yes, I was better… for now.

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14 thoughts on “The Motherhood Manual: *#%! …I’ll see you tomorrow!

    • My husband has definitely been good. And, yes, it got better but was definitely a roller coaster ride for awhile there. I need to write a Motherhood Manual post that tells about my best days as a mother! Although, maybe the days that were my worst were actually my best, because in spite of the spin I went on, I always kept choosing my family again. It’s easy to make good choices on the best days, but isn’t there some saying about the true test of character isn’t what you do when it’s easy, but rather what you do when things are hard (I know I totally botched that quote, but the concept is there)? So, based on that, I feel pretty good about my character in the end. 🙂

  1. Loved this. Got a little choked up reading it, because I can totally relate to those feelings of helplessness and exhaustion and just wanting to get away, and the guilt that comes with that thinking.

    • I think the guilt comes because there’s a belief that those thoughts are in place of the other thoughts and feelings, when, in fact they’re just all part of the mess.

      One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult and I really like how she portrays people as multi-faceted instead of defined by just one thing. I think with others and even ourselves it’s easy to take one piece and make that the whole picture.
      I definitely felt guilty and un- “motherlike” for my feelings of wanting to get away, but in retrospect, I think I was just honest and fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who let me be honest and still loved me.

      Thanks for relating, it also helps with any residual guilt! 🙂

  2. Your story is why grandparenting is universally touted over parenting. As a wise friend who was already a grandparent told me as I was gushing about my new grammy status. It’s great. There’s no guilt!

  3. Kelly- this has been one of my favorite stories you share (that and driving to Newell). The reason it’s my favorite? It truly helped me get thru some of my most difficult times as a new mother. To know someone who always appears to be completely under control and one

    • Crumb, can’t type on an iPhone tonight…
      Anyway , to know that someone always on top of it like you can “lose it” every once in a while helped me to get thru the craziest times!!
      Truly love you and your friendship! Love hearing these stories again thru your creative written voice !!

      • Thanks so much, Kendra! It makes me feel good to know that me losing it made it easier for you! Truly.

        Thank you also for following along as I share my stories, most of which you already know from when they were actually happening. I’m so sure that I’m a better mom because of our girls group and those friendships. Love you too!

  4. I remember one night sitting in the rocking chair crying, begging my daughter to go to sleep as she wailed lying in my arms…helpless to do anything more than the 50 bazzilion things I’d already tried. I firmly believed it would get easier when they were older.

    I was wrong. That was simply training for when they reached adulthood, which is by far the most difficult part of parenting in some aspects. I have worn out the toes of shoes from being on my knees–pray is the only solace. Not encouraging? Sorry. It is the truth. If all goes well, it’s a cinch. If their decisions are not so good, well, you cannot kiss their boo boos anymore like you once did (that is an understatement, BTW).

    Would I trade it? Never. God has used parenting to grow me up and draw me to him. It has been a priceless journey which began in that rocking chair, helpless.

    • I remember before I had children I was talking with one of my friends who had a young son and she described that point of realizing she couldn’t protect him from everything and that she had to just give it (and him) to God. I understand that and try to do that, but I also know that it doesn’t guarantee a pretty or painless path. Darn it.

  5. Pingback: The Motherhood Manual: How I’ve brain-washed my kids « Twyste

  6. I have had those nights more than once. I have’t actually left the house…not sure I trust my husband enough to handle my babes 🙂 I have nursed both of my children, and co-sleep with them both as well. Now my older is in her own bed, but still in her room, and my younger is still in the bed with us. It helps that I don’t have to move so much when he wakes in the night. My older sleeps soundly though now, and for that I am thankful.

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