Let’s be real. We all have days where we get up and we are just NOT feeling it. Today is that day for me. My day began when I heard Henry yelling… that’s his way of saying he is up. And it’s not a sweet angelic yell. It’s a rebel yell. A boy yell. HAYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!
My ears heard it but my body would not allow me to move. James in all his glorious and unfailing super-dad instincts just rolled out and returned with our snuggle buddy. James has been taking over completely with putting Henry in bed at night and retrieving him in the mornings since around our second trimester. He is an amazing daddy. I don’t know what I would do without him. My belly and height will not allow me to safely lower or lift our chunk-of-love toddler to or from his crib. We had our morning family snuggle.
Then it happened. It always does. This morning though I am not feeling it. In my half sleep-wake state, Henry pounced. There went another tiny fistful of hair and now he’s got that wild-eyed look and I am not fast enough. He has me. Head already pounding I try to release his tiny fingers and pry him from his spider monkey head lock. Okay. James has the boy subdued.
Now it’s time to do the escaping turtle move which is how I must get out of bed now – like a turtle that’s been flipped on it’s shell. James and Henry play blanket fort architect while I take stock of my body in the bathroom. Rounder than yesterday. Let’s announce it. James always says I’m beautiful, but as I look in the mirror I worry about his eyes. Maybe he says it out of fear of a hormonal breakdown. Yeah- that’s gotta be it. I’m not feeling cute about my big belly today like I do some days. Today I just feel lumpy and large. I feel achy and sick. Not surprising since last week it was 60-70 degrees and this week the highs are in the 30s. Thanks, Alabama. The scar tissue in my lungs are threatening to begin aching which leads to the stabbing pains that inhibit my ability to breath. Thankfully we are still on vacation and I do not have to get ready and haul us anywhere today. I trudge from the bathroom to take Henry to get a fresh diaper. I mumble to James to make the coffee strong today.
Breakfast. I turn on Elf, Henry’s new favorite movie. He starts clapping. I snap a bib on and throw puffs and yogurt melts on his high chair tray while I get his oatmeal. I sit and feed it to him: we will not work on independently feeding with utensils today. I do not feel like cleaning up blueberries from every surface of our home. I get Henry’s milk in front of him. The dog is now crying for her breakfast. I pull the 35lb dog food bag out spilling some as I grunt. I kick it back under the cabinet. The vacuum robot will take care of that later. Best Mothers Day gift ever!
James has made the coffee. I try to focus my eyes and wake up. I’m not pleasant. I feel like a troll. I feel bad about it and go by Henry’s chair kissing him on the head and throwing more puffs on his tray. I just hug my husband. How is he so pleasant reading the news and drinking his coffee? He plays with Henry for a bit before making his morning announcement that he will now be getting ready for work.
I feel it. Today will be a struggle. I will be a lackluster mother. After a feeble attempt some OT by playing with playdoh with a boy who is already wide-open to the day, I do some straightening up and go into the bathroom to gather a load of laundry. We will not be actively working on any PT, OT, or speech goals today. Today we plan to just survive. Henry has already emptied some kitchen drawers and is currently destroying clean and matched socks in our closet. I will definitely use the TV as a distraction so I can sit down with my feet up some today- and not educational stuff either. It’s gonna be repeats of Elf, Home Alone, and A Christmas Story.
I used to carry immense amounts of guilt for my days of ‘just surviving’ and accomplishing only the bare minimum. When Henry was a baby it was worse. James would come home to find Henry and I exactly where he left us with the house a complete mess- dishes piled high, laundry half done, and no hot meal on the table. I would crumple in shame and cry at least once a week. I would say I felt like a failure. I was failing at this. He would assure me that I was killing it as a wife and mom telling me that our son was clean, fed, happy and safe and that is all we need. God love that man. Love him for wearing mix matched socks because I haven’t done any adult laundry. Love him for acting excited over soup from a can, leftovers, or takeout. Love him for stepping over the mess without a word. Love him for acting like I don’t look like a hag with unbrushed hair, no makeup, and in sweats 95% of the time. Love him for never acting disappointed in me as a wife once as we have transitioned to a family of 3.
Here comes Henry. He is crawling as fast as he can while yelling. It’s his battle cry. And his rampage of destroying our home in the name of curiosity has officially commenced. Head pounding, chest aching, and back already pulling from the weight of our unborn son, I follow with the dog and my coffee to survey and monitor the mess. After I ensure the dog will stay with him, I sit at the bar and listen to them scamper about the house while I sip from James’s coffee cup that warns to not underestimate my power. Star Wars. I think it’s a Luke Skywalker quote. I do not feel powerful today. Maybe that’s why I stole his favorite mug- maybe the power I need for the day will come from it. He didn’t even say anything about it.
James says he’ll take the dog out- it’s cold outside. How did I ever luck out with this man? Can he read my thoughts? Maybe I better be careful just in case. He’s tricky like that – I could just see him telling me in 30 years that he’s telepathic over our morning coffee like it’s no big deal. Maybe that’s how he’s usually right about things. It’s frustrating but true. He just knows things. Mostly it’s a relief. He’s got it. But still, he’s so smart I could just deck him sometimes.
I feel guilty for not having it together more. I should really offer Henry more constructive play that will allow us to take a shot at working on his therapy goals but it is impossible to be 100% all the time. A lesson I am still learning. I’ve learned to relax a little with the impossible expectations I had for myself. I used to envision myself as such a great, has-it-all-together mom with fun activities for my family daily, meal plans, and a bomb chore chart to keep the house together. Bump that. Now I know playing catch up with groceries, laundry, and cleaning is all I can do most days especially while my family is young and VERY busy with all our therapies and classes.
I’m becoming more accepting of the wife and mother I have to be right now. I empty myself daily… sometimes it’s okay to recharge. Ive decided we are both going to stay in our pjs for the day. We will have leftovers too. I will not be excelling in the wife and mother roles I hold today. We will play, read, and snuggle while watching movies. We will only survive today and that’s alright.