You know there are many times when I'm doing some distasteful task like changing a particularly disgusting diaper or staring at the fridge... pleading with it to make dinner that I wonder what the holy HELL am I doing.
There was a time when I thought myself "important." I held positions with others reporting to me. I did productivity reports and wrote recommendations. I traveled and presented. I billed back and expensed. I innovated and expanded offerings. I shook a little. I moved a bit.
But there are these moments in motherhood that bring you to your knees. And to the veteran's out there... I know that I'm just on the brink of many many days ahead of such moments...so cut me some slack and the "You have no idea..." I know that the challenges change as the child does. And as my "skills" do.
But still. There are days that I look at Liam and pray to God that I'm not screwing him up in some way. When I think of the jobs I've held and the positions of power or titles. The client companies from Fortune 25 that I interacted with. They were so much easier.
Now this isn't to belittle. Definitely not. It's just... to be fair - many times you can leave work at the office. You can have your weekend. You can go on vacation. At least I could. People like Dan have a different story. He works all.the.time. He has this Goddamn Blackberry that I would like to chuck far far away but also happens to affords us the opportunity for me to be at home. In fact during his review, Partner A thanked him for helping out on Christmas Eve with his son's To-Be-Gifted iPod. Christmas Eve, people. Anyways, I know out-of-home work is hard. But for me - I could leave it at the office more often than not - if I chose.
I sometimes think of how compentent I felt at the office. How in charge of myself and my output. Stressed? Yes. Irritated? Sometimes. But overall I knew what the hell I was doing MOST of the time. Now?
I truly feel I'm faking it about 50% of the time.
To be honest this number has gone down. The first 3 months? Oh Lord I would say I was faking it about 75% of the time. I had never changed a diaper before Liam. I was nervous to say the least...but I faked it.
Liam has this requirement that after his nap there be a drink and the choice of two snacks available to him on the end table in the living room. The end table is pretty close to the bottom of the stairs so it is one of the first things he sees when we come downstairs. We discovered this requirement when he started screaming after naps. I knew he was hungry and usually would get him first and then get the snack wehn we came downstairs. No... this was not good for the little mister. He wanted, of course, the immediate gratification of the snack.
So we started this new routine of two snacks (small offerings) - a bowl with diced fruit and a bowl with either cheerios/goldfish/puffs/etc. Then a drink - usually milk or water. Yesterday when he came down, he saw the offering and screamed. Big fat tears. Honestly I think he woke up too soon - not a long enough nap and he was super cranky. But he did it again today. But today. He cried off and on til dinner. A change in the rules perhaps.
Now in my head I know - he's hungry, he's probably still tired and so he's cranky. Additionally, his teeth have really been bothering him this week. His nose is like the Niagra Falls of snot and the coughing from it is disrupting his sleep. I know all this.
But the overpowering thought is Oh my God what can I do to make.the.crying.stop
. Because it's the whiney sob. The standing in front of me, blocking me, and demanding to be held. He usually wakes sometime between 3:30-5pm. I start prepping dinner around 4:30-5. The crying, the wanting to be held/read to/climbed over, this inhibits me making the dinner which will make him feel better.
So the crying and whining continues as I try to pull dinner together... of course one of the sides fails miserably... and my head is pounding feeling like it may blow. And I speak a little too loudly or curtly and it just makes it all worse. I feel bad, he is worse.
I'm not faking anymore...I'm just not managing well. The feedback I'm getting is that I'm failing to meet the need. I'm not innovating. I'm not presenting fresh ideas or turning tides.
I don't feel compentent in these moments. I feel lacking. Very very lacking. And this lacking kills me and I end up apologizing to Liam because I don't know what to do to make him happier/less like he is chewing on nails. Typically we look at each other... and if I'm really losing it I start to cry too.
And guess what Liam does?
He leans way in and hugs me. And simply says, "Mama."