The last time I took a blogging hiatus, it was because I was slowly being tested, tortured even. I was being bossed around by a fifteen pound sack of screaming potatoes. I basically walked around with my eyelids glued open and a sickening, brain-melty acid drip flowing from my ears for a good couple of months. Any time I heard a sudden, loud noise, I assumed it was my infant starting to cry and a wave of dull panic would wash over me. I was jumpy and sleep deprived. Good times. Except not at all.
If I had more foresight, I would have kept a log of all the completely insane things that people said to me during pregnancy and following Finnegan’s birth. I eventually got to a place where I would agree with every other grocery store patron about whether or not I was having a boy or a girl, regardless of their correctness. I resorted to telling people that we were going to let our son become a feral child, raised by wolves, because it was the quickest way to shut down the endless and judge-y comments about very personal parenting decisions. One of the most common things I was told was something along the lines of, “these are the best days of your life; enjoy them!” What? If this is as good as it gets, then I wanted to quit this job before I got fired.
Those first months… no, no — the first year, it is so hard. Which brings me to this for future reference:
Dear Mama Of A Less Than One Year Old,
Congratulations on incubating a little life and delivering him/her into this world. You are the baddest ass. Your body deserves one thousand highfives and an A+ in Awesomeness and it is absolutely remarkable that you find the strength to get up 23 times per night to nurse your little love, your baby bird, this precious gift. I know that if I was to describe your current state as “tired” I would be met with an hour long eyeroll. I know that you don’t even remember when the last time was that you saw your toothbrush. I know that you have only eaten handfuls of sweet potato flavored puffs every few hours for the past three days. I know that you are mad at, well, everyone, and if someone goes so far as to look at you wrong, you might actually punch them square in the mouth. I know all of these things. It has been months since you have looked in the mirror and felt like yourself.
But do not be fooled, just because you feel like this now does not mean it will be this way forever. Things will get much harder in ways, but in other ways it will be so much better. For me, things really turned up at about one year. You will sleep. Your child will feed him/herself. Eventually they will need their diapers changed less and less often. Poop will not always be slop. Having a baby will be actual fun, not the “I guess this is fun but mostly, secretly, I think this really sucks” kind of fun. You will have hours upon hours of time to yourself in the evenings, when you can watch movies, bake 17-step cakes, read books, and cultivate new hobbies. Leaving the house will not always take 25 minutes. Your child will supply you with glimmers of positive reinforcement that you will take you a long, long way. Someday, your little baby will walk up to you, reach up, and hold your hand. You won’t move a muscle so as not to distract from that sweet, special moment. You won’t believe how far the two of you have come. Some day your child will run into your arms when you come home from work or the store or, I don’t know, maybe the movies, with a huge, silly grin on his face. You can do it. You can do it. You can do it. And if you can’t, that’s okay — there are plenty of people that would love to help, just ask. Please please please ask.
I respect you and you make me proud.