“I WANT MA MAMA!”
Not long after I had AG, but shortly before I returned to work, I mentioned to my friend, Ali, that I worried AG would confuse her nanny for me. Or at least assume the nanny was her real mother.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “They know. They just do.”
I have spent the majority of the past few weeks at the now-true state of my friend’s simple declaration. If you temporarily cut off all of her sensory capabilities, and stood her in front of me and my husband, Abigail would still be able to suss out which was which, and then whine that you had the audacity to give her the option. Because, duh, MAMA. IT’S ALL MAMA, ALL THE TIME.
At the risk of 1) Sounding ungrateful, 2) alienating and angering those who view parenthood as the only calling worth having, and finally, 3) Coming off as an awful mother, it has not been a bowl of frozen grapes around here lately.
I don’t get put off by bloggers who make it seem like their lives are endless, stress-free days of Elves on the Shelves, organic-vegan-cage-free apple juice sandwiches and organized craft drawers. I’m bitter, and think they’re probably judging all of us, but I’m not put off by them. All kidding aside, I know that their blogs are responses to their lives, just as my blog is to mine.
With that in mind, those mothers are just flummoxed by different things, right? They might not be, for instance, as unhinged inside as I am when their kids are sick and they’ll barely allow anyone else to care for them, much less hold them? There probably aren’t Pinterest boards based on a theme addressing that particular problem.
If you find those boards, though, ping me.
I don’t know how to delicately or creatively articulate what coming to terms with these glitches in my parenting makeup has meant. And it’s not like any of this is earth-shattering, or ground-breaking. There is so much about parenting that knocks you for a loop, and I’m not even sure if it’s fair to label these things “glitches” in the first place. Isn’t it normal to be just out-of-your-mind, even if just for a handful of days at a time, annoyed with your kids?
Of course it is.
We had a rough week last week. Every last one of us was sick, no one was sleeping, and in this new Mama-centric stage, I felt exceedingly small and inadequate and made of diminishing resources with each passing hour. I might tell you that none of us is perfect, to go on and cut yourself some slack, but I ridiculously remind myself on a near-daily basis that my face should always speak the volumes and volumes of love that fill the spaces of my heart when Abigail sees me, despite how fucking impossible that is to do.
Sometimes, you know, AG is going to see me be frustrated, and I supposed sometimes she’s just gonna see me be frustrated with her.
But I still think it.
Despite days of “Mama Mama Mama,” and my slightly frayed nerves as a result, I still did everything I could to make it OK for her. At not-even-two, being sick is the worst. I slept with her in the glider a lot. I sang every song she asked. There was a lot of grazing. A lot of Elmo, Super Why and Dora. I let her go without a bath a day or two. She’ll have seen the eye rolls, but hopefully will remember the cuddles.
By Monday of this week things were clearly improving. Things were happier. Abigail could sit on the floor and play with her blocks without freaking out once she realized she was inches away from my person. We all got sleep. Decent meals were eaten. It’s a relief.
But what remains, just a little bit, is the sense that I have to forgive myself – or worry less about forgiveness in the first place – for still adjusting to being someone’s Mom.