I'm writing how I feel because I should have been doing so all along. I believe if I had validated my feelings by giving them a voice and giving myself a place to meet them, deal with them, actually FEEL them, I may not have struggled so much during this first year.
Instead of writing, I've been whittling my time into nothing. I have been feeling guilty for feeling angry or upset or discontent or frustrated instead of asking myself why I feel that way and what I could do to fix it.
I am angry and I often feel cheated. I guess I feel cheated because I think I have done so many things wrong with Jude, and every time he doesn't act in exact accordance with my wishes, I seem to imagine this makes my life terrible, over, and every bump "all my fault." My child is not a machine. Neither is he a pet that can be trained to do things that only please me. He is a being with his own will and very intense little soul. So whenever my baby refuses to robotically conform to my whims, I believe that no other mother is possibly suffering this way. And of course, when they do suffer in this way, they handle it much more gracefully.
My son is not an interruption, but so often I find that my reactions toward his behavior or needs indicate that I do feel he is a disruption to my otherwise blissful existence.
And here I am tempted to go all woe-is-me and ask how a good mother could ever feel these things. But whatever. If you haven't felt that children are the ultimate inconvenience, you're not a parent yet, or you're a liar.
I feel all these negative things. And I can get lost in them. Except that Jude keeps me coming back for more. He is so lovely and curious and sweet and cuddly. So Jude.
I think my main issue is that life is not Instagram. It's not a collection of perfectly framed, filtered, and captioned moments. Heck, life is nowhere on the Internet. It's in the minutes I spend wrestling a new diaper onto my rolling alligator of a baby. It's found in the bathroom, where I have resorted to using the tub like a playpen because I really have to poop and no, he won't be okay without me for five minutes. It's here, in my dark bedroom, where I am sitting on the floor because my son is asleep on my bed and five and a half attempts to get him in his crib later, I've resigned myself to another night of sleeping with a baby on my boob. This is life. And sometimes it hurts.
And sometimes it's too good to be true. That's just how it is. Most of my despair stems from unrealistic expectations. I don't know why I continue to believe I have a right to an entire episode of Parenthood with my husband and a pack of Oreos. Someday, that will be my reality. But right now, my reality is a baby who doesn't sleep through the night, or in his own bed, who doesn't nap regularly, and who apparently inherited his mother's capacity for dramatic breakdowns and loud protest of injustice.
In THIS MOMENT, I must embrace the moments of reading every book in his room with him on my lap. And yes, he really does look at every page while I read it and he knows what "turn the page means" and he does. I must embrace every moment of nursing, when he is almost still but not quite because he has to rub my belly or have a finger twisting in my bellybutton. (Jude should cherish these moments too because I am OVER the breastfeeding. For reals.)
Anyway, I should be hanging out with my husband because he just got home from work and I have things to say and I want to hear about his day. But instead I'm nursing Jude back to sleep for the fifty-hundredth time. Everything is okay.
I get angry and frustrated and feel like my life is over. And maybe part of it is. I have to face that. I NEED to face that. Jude needs me to face that. So we can start living. Instead of waiting for things to get easy so we can start living. Everything is okay. Whatever happens, sleep or no sleep, uninterrupted meal or no meal at all, pooping accompanied or solo. Everything is all right.
I had to write this on my phone. I had to stop writing this to nurse. I will sleep with my son instead of my husband tonight. I will do so many things. All of them matter. None of them matter. Everything is all right.