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Friday, April 1, 2011

What do you miss most?

This follows directly on from my last post (when being the mum just sucks).

My little princess is still asleep. It is nearly 9am. A wonderful sleep in, if we weren't up from 1am until 5am. I might get to be asleep too, if she wasn't smack bang in the middle of my queen size bed. So, the rest of the story, for those interested.

I don't know what it was that was upsetting her, but eventually she gave in and went to sleep, but not without a fight. At around 3:30am or so she fell asleep in my arms through a mixture of feeding, patting, dummy sucking and "please for the love of God just go to sleep"-ing. She woke every time I put her down. She was miserable and I still don't know why. I cuddled her for another half hour or so and she finally went down into the cot without a fight. She looked so beautiful and so peaceful. The loving warm feelings came back. I breathed a sigh of relief and headed to bed. I sat down to grab a drink of water, "waaaaah". She woke again. I was no longer angry or woe is me, just concerned that something was really wrong with my princess. Whatever it was, she was comforted by my holding her and by feeding, so at 4am we both went into the big bed.

I felt terrible disturbing Corey but at the same time I'd just had enough of being up. I was buggered. I thought Alexis would just cuddle in and go to sleep. She decided she'd climb over me to get to daddy. So at about 4:30 we kicked Corey out to the spare room. (I couldn't go there with Alexis, it's only a single bed and she's fascinated by the drumkit.) Eventually, probably about 5, she went to sleep, still with her head resting on my arm. I carefully substituted my boob for her dummy.

The next thing I knew it was 6am. I gathered some clothes and took them to Corey's room so he wouldn't disturb us in the morning. To his credit he didn't wake us up! Thank you so much sweetheart! I then slept until 7:30. I was all like "oh wow a wonderful sleep-in", eventhough I knew I was still tired, and have not been able to get back to sleep. That said though I'm not as shattered as I thought I'd be. Every so often Alexis would wake and cuddle back into me to get herself off to sleep again. I just lay there because I didn't want to disturb her. I started writing this next bit of blog, and I wrote a really nice big piece on my phone's notepad app but then accidentally hit "cancel" and lost the note. So here's my attempt of rehashing it on my laptop. Wish me luck.

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In the light of the morning, I worry some will see it as a terrible thing I did, letting my offspring entertain herself at 3am while I blogged.  Also, is it acceptable to openly whinge about the fact that Alexis was keeping me awake against my will? Is it ok to label being a mum as sucky? In my defense, I did only say that it sucks some of the time.


What's happening is we have dinner with a certain in-law tonight. No big event as such, except that we are going to a "fancy" restaurant because I just can't be bothered cooking because a) he never eats anything I cook and b) I don't want to clean up because my dishwasher died. He can, at times, also be very chatty, which when I'm tired is not exactly high on my priority list. Also we can't see him if we're sick (medical reasons, I won't go into them here), so I have to be sure that Alexis is teething, not infectious. I am almost always snuffly (I think it's allergies) so it seems like we never get a chance to see him, but I'm well at the moment and I do not want to cancel last minute. I'm pretty sure Alexis is just teething, so I'm confident dinner can go ahead, but last night I was worried. It felt like she was getting sick just because I needed her to be well.

The fact of the matter is that I am definitely not alone in this. I'm sure every mother has the occasional moment of feeling hard done by. If they won't admit to "why me?", then they will definitely at least admit to "why now?". Children are wonderful blessings but they can be very inconvenient. They have bad timing. At times it seems like they are difficult just to spite us. It can feel, to a young mother, like our identity is lost, our freedom is lost, and our ability to plan things in advance is lost.  It can feel like we can no longer do anything nice for ourselves without being punished.

We know deep down that this isn't true, but in the midst of sleep deprivation or disappointment it can really feel that way.   Why DO our children wait to get sick until major events we are really looking forward to, such as birthday parties, or visiting a friend's newborn (which you can't do because of germs). Why DO they have disturbed sleep the nights when we are so worn out from massive days and/or try to do something nice for ourselves and/or have a big day or night ahead? Why ARE they suddenly clingy when we have a tummy ache or a sore back?

In this day and age, we are exposed to a culture which teaches us to put ourselves first, to "look out for number one", and to "take what's yours". It can be quite difficult once we become parents to realise that number one is not us. It was a real culture shock for me to get used to putting Alexis first. Instinctively I always knew she was the most important and I always wanted what was best for her, but the way I was wired was crying out sometimes "this sucks". I wanted to eat when I wanted to eat. I wanted to sleep when I wanted to sleep. I wanted to maintain a social life. I wanted to make plans and keep them. When things went wrong I took it really personally. I am trying to get over this selfish way of thinking, but it doesn't happen easily.

I think though there is a difference between being selfless and being a doormat. There is a fine line between putting others ahead of ourselves and suppressing our own feelings and needs. Where do we draw that line? I don't know the answers, but I do have a theory that as mothers we all have moments where we wish we "weren't the one with the boobs". Most of us feel guilty for thinking like this and we definitely don't like talking about it. Are we concerned that if we admit we don't enjoy every second of motherhood that our friends will reject us? Most of us know people who are struggling to conceive. It seems incredibly insensitive to whinge about our children when some are so desperately yearning to be parents. It is not prudent to question God for making us women either. BUT, (and post pregnancy it's a big butt), is it healthy to suffer in silence? Does suppressing these temporary feelings help us or does it just allow it to grow into bitterness and resentment? It seems incredibly rude to suggest we'd resent our children for messing up our lives, of course I don't, I love my daughter and my husband more than anything in this world, but I also think it's kind of healthy to have a small whinge every now and then before it gets to that point.

The truth is that having kids changes our lives, for the better mostly, but we also have to give up creature comforts. We all miss something we had before we had babies. What is it for you? Intelligent conversation? Perky breasts? Your perfect figure (not I!)? Freedom? Money? Time? Independence? Brain power? Energy? Hubby's undivided affection? Attention? Naked romp weekends? Alcohol? Smokes (not I!)? Sleep? Control? Being able to leave scrapbooking materials lying around? M-rated movies? TV shows? A clean car and/or house? Knowing that people came to visit YOU not your child? ;)It doesn't matter how silly you feel, somebody else will probably feel the same.

So I challenge you, be brave, let it out. Have your say, then move on. What do you miss most about life before kids? For me it's: being able to find something in the same place I left it; having plans and knowing with relative certainty they will not be changed; intelligent conversation; being able to stay up late and sleep in; and speeding down the highway with angry music on screaming at the top of my lungs (it's fun, but I'd never do it with Alexis in the car, nor without her in the car really coz now I have to be responsible).

Please leave a comment, the more the merrier. It will be more fun if we all get involved. :) You can comment anonymously if you don't want to use your name. Don't be scared of the word verification thing, the page will reload after you submit your comment and you'll have to type the little word and submit again. Be patient, it can be a little slow. Dad's are welcome to comment too. And people without kids, what are you most afraid of losing?

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6 Comments:

At April 1, 2011 at 10:16 AM , Anonymous Catherine said...

I'm with you Karlee. I love being a Mum but there are definately times I think 'this sucks'. Mostly for me it's when Rachy's throwing tantrums because she's not getting her own way. If there's something actually wrong, I find it easier because I get grumpy and difficult when something's wrong too.
Things I miss from pre-squiddlies: energy, the ability to stay up until ungodly hours hanging out with hubby or friends, the ability to be spontaneous. Wouldn't trade her for the world though :-)

 
At April 1, 2011 at 11:32 AM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

Thanks Catherine. I totally agree, except I'm actually more spontaneous now than before Alexis was born! (I worked rediculous hours. Gosh I don't miss that place..)

 
At April 1, 2011 at 5:02 PM , Blogger tiffa said...

I think I would miss having the ability to decide to have a weekend away somewhere on the spur of the moment. And probably the freedom of opening a bottle of wine and having a quiet night with a movie.

 
At April 1, 2011 at 10:35 PM , Anonymous Kristy said...

Once again Karlee.... I could have written this blog post myself... especially after the day I've had. Piper is going through the 3wk, learning how to deal with life outside the womb stage, and surviving on 3 hrs sleep a night just isn't doing it for me at the moment!! I've been on the verge of tears all day and just had a meltdown to my husband, who can do nothing but hug me and let me cry. (It's just sleep deprivation and hormones and I know that when Mackenna does something cute tomorrow it will all be good again, but I can see how many women end up with PND, especially if they don't have supportive husbands.)

Anyway... now that I've had a rant... I really miss - my sleep in's (Todd and I used to sleep until 11am on the weekends!), money to 'treat' myself things, rather than having to spend what we do have on my babies (I am happy that I am able to give them everything they need/want though.... just wish there was a bit more to spend some on myself once in a while), my job (I know... but I do... I was good at it and have lots of good friends at work!), intelligent conversation (Todd has stopped listening to me, cause all I talk about is what time Mackenna pooed or how many times she touched the water cooler when I told her no etc. etc.)

There are a lot of things I miss actually! I'd keep writing, but this is long enough already (Just like you though, I wouldn't give my kids up for the world ...even when they are awake for 5hrs and counting and not looking like sleeping any time soon and frustrating the begibbers out of me!! :( )

 
At April 2, 2011 at 6:46 AM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

Thanks for your comments ladies.
Tiffa, quiet movie nights are something Corey really misses. Youight be lucky and get a bub who goes to sleep at 6 and sleeps through to 6, then your nights are free. It hasn't worked that way for us but it does for some. Weekends away. Well we have decided to drive to kempsey twice and gladstone once all with one day notice. It's do-able, but the car is packed to overflowing and a 6 hour trip takes 10 hours. Lol.
Kristy, I hear you sweety. Week 3 was hell for me too. * hugs*. You will get through it though. Gimme a bell if you want us to come take Mackenna to the park or something.

 
At April 5, 2011 at 2:49 PM , Blogger Julie said...

The things I miss most are: those spur of the moment weekends or holidays aways with hubby. Going out for a quiet, romantic dinner or evening out to watch a movie, or catch up with friends.

Now, everything has to be a lot more organised (especially holidays or trips away) and going out for dinner or a movie is very rare.

As much as I miss it all, I wouldn't change being a Mummy for the world, I love being a Mummy, yes it's hardwork, but the cuddles and smiles are worth it. ;-)

 

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