Ah, the classic struggle of “having it all.” So far, I’m doing it. I have a book coming out from a major publisher in a few months and an exciting book tour to go with it. I am staying at home raising my baby essentially full-time and I love it. I spend a lot of my day in a comfy armchair watching my favorite TV while she nurses or naps on me. I am continuing my easy part-time work-from-home job and contributing income to our family. I have free and trustworthy childcare help from family pretty much whenever I want it. My wife still cooks and grocery shops and cleans even though I’m at home and she works outside the home full-time. I have breaks where I’ll have a glass of wine in a hot bath with a scented candle and no one else. It’s pretty f-ing amazing.
Me right now
I can’t get over how overwhelmed and depressed and exhausted and stressed I thought I’d be and how happy and calm and balanced I actually feel. No colic. No allergies. No “that bug that’s been going around.” We are coming up on 5 months with no 4-month sleep regression! I’m finding so many friends, getting out of the house so much, spending as much time as I want working and loving my work. I absolutely love spending time with my baby, who is easygoing, happy, and sleepy. I don’t find it hard to keep up with the laundry and dishes and everything else. It’s some lucky-as-heck alternate universe of perfection that is very far from what I hear most moms talk about.
Can it be too perfect? I feel like a total douchebag trying to relate to my mom friends. “Eva was screaming all night and wouldn’t take Tylenol! She just spits it right out – What do you do with your baby to make her take it?” Um, she just happily has it. Seems to like it. How do you answer things like that without being an as*hole? I try to say “that sounds so hard, I hope it gets better” but I feel like just the fact that I have it so easy is already annoying. This friend talks to me about how her baby doesn’t sleep… “that sounds so hard, I hope it gets better” (we are sleeping fine). And how her baby is biting her nipple with her new tooth… “that sounds so hard, I hope it gets better” (not an issue here). Another friend talks about how much she hates having to be away from her baby working full-time. I feel for her, but can’t relate. “That sounds so hard. I hope it gets better.”
I fear becoming the dreaded sanctimommy. I feel guilty for having it so easy. I’m afraid that when I can’t say “me too” to commiserate with moms that they’ll think I feel like I’m being holier-than-thou.
When I was pregnant, I was on the other side of things. I hated it. It made me miserable and sick and exhausted and depressed and stressed. I’d envy the moms-to-be who weren’t throwing up as much as I was. I’d feel terrible for not enjoying this special time I’d looked forward to my whole life. I really figured having an infant would be the same way, but now I’m the equivalent of the glowing preggo who can eat whatever she wants. Some pregnancies are just difficult, some babies are just easy.
I’m not so naive that I think motherhood is easy because my one not-yet-mobile baby is giving me an easy time at this stage. (I hear you saying “Talk to me when she’s a three-year-old going on thirteen and she has a sibling.”) I am going to keep being positive and grateful and enjoy this stage that is treating me well…and keep striving not be a jerk about it. If I can support some fellow moms now because I’m doing OK, maybe they’ll be there for me when the pendulum swings. We’re all in this together.