Those of you who know me on a day-to-day basis should have no illusion about my perfection as a mother. But for those of you who don't, perhaps this entry is for you. Although I believe in trying to be as positive and uplifting as I can, I also believe in honesty. And this entry is about to bust any myths you might have about the outward image we so often wear.
After a week of very trying days and nights in our house, I finally reached my limit today. And while we were out at a children's play centre, I broke down in tears. I had my own all-out melt down, and not within the safety of my own home, but out in public in front of friends and other mothers and complete strangers.
Caleb is sleeping less and less at night. He does a stretch from 8pm to 1am, and then begins to scream starting around 3:30. By 5:30 he is up for the day. He sometimes takes a morning nap around 8am, but not always. Add to that Colin deciding to forgo afternoon naps, and you can see that my own sleep deprivation is starting to really compound. In fact, even if I try to go to bed early, I toss and turn for hours!
So today after struggling all morning with an exhausted Caleb, I finally decided to go to the Early Years Centre, hoping that he might fall asleep in the stroller. No such luck, but he seemed to be content to play with the toys.
Then he lost it. Screaming, crying, throwing his head against the floor, not wanting to be held, writhing everywhere. With only a few other children there, I decided to stay for a while, instead of making a quit exit like I normally do. After half an hour, I took him to the entry way, so we wouldn't upset the other kids. I looked up and my eyes rested on a poster of a crying baby that said "I cry to tell you something".
Well, that was it for me. All I could think of was how if that was true, then I must be a terrible mother, seeing as I can't even understand what my own baby is trying to tell me.
It was only a moment before the staff (who all know us really well) stepped in. One took Caleb from me and took him to a quiet area, another stepped in to play with Colin. And I just wept and wept and wept. A concerned mother stood quietly nearby, delaying her getting ready to go routine, just in case I needed something. She didn't pester me, just spoke a few soft words and then tarried in case I chose to talk.
I gathered myself up after a few minutes and gratefully scooped up my kids, plopped them in the stroller and walked home, tears still streaming down my face.
I'm feeling better now, although still tired. I am desperately hoping Colin naps today, as Caleb has already passed out in exhaustion (he had been up for 8 hours straight).
This motherhood thing is tough - really tough. We all have struggles. I don't air mine here necessarily for sympathy, empathy or to brag. Simply to make sure everyone knows that not a single one of us is alone. Our struggles are hard. It may look easy to someone else, but they have their own battles. And each trial is designed for us, to make us stronger. And a good cry is always in order once in a while.
You can do it!