By: Brandy Black
I made it through my first two weeks of work after maternity leave. Susan even got me flowers congratulating me on what felt like the hardest weeks of my life. I juggle well. I always have, I like to have a million things going on. But this has surpassed the challenge that I suspected it to be. I’m spent. Overwhelmed. Missing. Lacking. Aching. Worried. Exhausted. I miss the weight of my children on my chest. I miss their cries and babbles. I miss my oldest. I hate pumping.
I’m trying to keep it all together. It’s not an option to fall apart. The worst of it though is my lack of patience and newly found temper with my four-year-old daughter. Suddenly, I forget to take a deep breath and count to ten before reacting to her high-pitched voice or whining. It is the terrible combination of her jealousy and feeling of neglect and my exhaustion and feeling completely overwhelmed. The other night she was yelling at the top of her lungs for no good reason and I asked her to stop. She kept yelling. I asked her again. And then I did a terrible thing or it felt like a terrible thing as I was doing it. I told her that if she kept screaming I would take her stuffed animals one by one until she stopped. She kept screaming so I began violently throwing her stuffed animals in the hallway. I was so furious I didn’t stop until she sat silent with tears running down her face. We made up and of course two days later her animals were back in her room having tea parties again. Am I a sucker?
I’m at my breaking point. She’s at hers. She’s over the babies, she wants them to “go to our old house and stay there.” I understand her frustration. I worry about her little heart every day. When I’m feeding the babies at 4AM, I think of her and how hard this is on her but each morning I wake up and expect her to rise to the occasion, to be a big girl, to be a good big sister and to act her age, which I desperately need. By the time I leave for work I’m discouraged all over again that she has literally taken 2 steps back, asking to be carried, wanting to be fed, not wanting to be helpful. And when I come home from work I remember how hard this is for her, how I need to be patient because this is a huge change. It’s a vicious cycle. I need advice. Am I expecting too much? Or do I stick with it and she will eventually step up? I am the same amount of strict as I was before the babies but somehow I have to enforce far more often than I prefer.
I’m all over the place and trying to be everything to everyone. I realize aiming to be a “perfect” mom is out of the question at this point. I was schooled to give that up when I got pregnant with twins but I’d love to be a good mom, a present mom, an alert mom, a patient mom, and a mom that isn’t relieved when the kids go to sleep because tonight, don’t tell anyone, I am.
PS- Happy Birthday Mom! I love you so very much and am so lucky to have your love and support.