Some months ago when I was about 7 months prego and totally knew everything about how I was going to parent, I totally and wrongfully judge you, Mama.
I saw your little boy, trying so hard to tell you something that he obviously felt was very important and you paid no attention. You responded with generic “Uh-huh’s” and “Yup’s”. It seemed that you had no time for him. I remember passing you and thinking, “I won’t be that mom. I will always make sure my children feel special and know that what they have to say is important.” Mama, I judged you. I took a quick glance at your half empty cart, toting 3 small children and paying attention to none of them, and judge you.
I had no idea.
5 months with my beautiful baby boy, I can’t even IMAGINE how your day must have been. I can only tell you about my days. After still waking up every 2 to 3 hours with my son all night to feed him, even though other mom’s babes are sleeping more than 8 hours by now, he and I start our day around 6:30 am. I am the all inclusive nurser, changer of diapers and clothes, entertainer, teacher, wiper of drool and snot, finder of that one dam toy I keep misplacing that he loves, the rocker to sleep, singer of songs, calming voice to dry tears, and master of precise understanding of each and every coo, scream, screech, and raspberry. In 5 months I have become the expert of my son.
The things I have not become an expert in is an even longer list. Most days I don’t coffee, or breakfast. My hair never touches a comb and my teeth forgo their brushing. I don’t sleep more than 3 hours at a clip, even if my little one decides to sleep longer, I still wake up, waiting for him at “any moment now.” I desperately miss daily showers, relaxing on the couch for a show without hitting the pause button a hundred times, and bathroom breaks. I’m tired. I get cranky very easily. But I am doing my best. Everyday I try harder. I try again. My son is very forgiving and very patient with me as I find my way.
And many days I think about you, Mama, with 3 toddlers at a store trying to accomplish I’m sure just a small task that turned into a big event…because…3 toddlers! I know now, you were doing your very best. Those “Uh-huh’s” was your way of acknowledging your son’s important story and I’m sure somewhere in the back of your head you were catching every word. And you were saving those special words to process later, when you had a minute to breathe. But you were focused. You needed to get things done, and keep everyone happy and content for a long as you could until you got home. That’s no small task! I know that now! And you were doing a great job!
My first trip out with my baby was a disaster. He screamed, he pooped, and my diaper bag was just not prepared the way it should have been. I didn’t get the few groceries I needed. I rushed home to clean him up and calm him down. And then calm myself down. I only have one small baby to worry about now. I can’t imagine juggling more.
I’m shameful that I thought I had all the answers while I was pregnant. How easy life was toting around my baby back then. How easy feeding and sleeping was. I had free time, and long naps, and gorgeous hair.
I’m sorry I judged you, Mama. I didn’t know how difficult
some most days could be. And when I look back at you, I see a mother who made a trip to the store with 3 small children look effortless. I admire you for keeping your cool among the impending chaos that could erupt at any moment. That very fine line of everything is fine and all the hell breaks loose is a scary place to be, and you are a seasoned professional tight-rope walker. Thank you for showing me what I can aspire to as my little one grows, and as I dare to add more members to my family. ❤