Parenthood and shit days go hand in hand, and if you thought any different then sorry but this is your wake up call. Unless of course you’re one of those annoying stepford-wife-robots and are completely in denial of how utterly shit your spawn can be at times.
Sorry, but I’m not buying it when you tell me they always sleep through the night, never cry unwarranted or have never at some stage poo or peed all over you. I am calling bullshit. After all, I could check all of these off in the first week.
Babies cry. It’s their only way of communicating. I get that. They cry when they’re hungry, tired, bored, uncomfortable, too hot, too cold, are teething, want a cuddle, need a change or, and here’s the kicker, they just want to cry. But does it have to be so incessant? Unfortunately yes. And sometimes they cry and cry and you have no idea why, you’ve done everything, and yet they still cry. You rock them, sing the song they love, play aeroplane, try massage, or a bath and nothing works. You’ve been up since the crack of dawn, your stomach is growling at you and the washing up hasn’t been done in days so there’s no clean mugs for tea. The place is a mess, there’s nothing grabbable in the fridge, there’s not one clean muslin in sight, and you forgot to put your breast pads in so you’re leaking through your pyjama top. It is about now you realise today is a shit day. Your child is wailing at this point too, so you might as well just join in.
I probably didn’t need to describe the shit day, those of you who have or had babies will probably know what I’m on about or at the very least remember (not so fondly). That was for the benefit of the child-less. My intention is to be openly truthful about my motherhood experience, and dammit you’re going to get the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
I meet a lot of new-mums who have family and parents around, they have a network of support for the shit days. I moved to England two years ago to a city where I have no family. D has an aunt, uncle and cousins who are fab and amazing and I know if I asked, they would be there if they could. But there’s the issue – the asking. I struggle with it. It’s not that I’m too proud, my own family will attest to that. I’m on the phone moaning to my sister every other week (I am definitely an annoying little sister). But they’re not ‘my’ family. Yes, D and I have been together 8 years. Yes, I have lived with said family on my own for 3 months. But I still find it difficult to ask. It’s embarrassing. But I did, I asked (I’ll admit, after I had been offered) and help was at the door in half an hour.
Other days I haven’t had the guts to ask for help I got out of the house. I put the Jellybean in the pram, threw a jacket on and just got out. Being inside your home where everything is convenient can fill you with dread at the thought of facing the outdoors, especially on a shit day. But 9 times out of 10 Jellybean will settle once we’re outside and she has new things to look at.
I’ve recently started going to a gym class at Southampton Barbell (shameless family plug) on a Wednesday night. I’m gone max two hours door to door. One Wednesday I got home and the flat had been tipped upside down. By the time I took Jellybean off D he had collapsed onto the bed and completely checked out for the night. After a long day at work, two hours of a screaming baby had him done. And that’s okay, I did our massage routine and calmed her down, she soon after fell asleep. Obviously if the crying persisted he would have helped. Yes, he has a daytime job and when he gets home he has to play daddy. But I am mommy all day, all night, twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. When she cries in the night I am up because he needs to be switched on for his job. And that is fine, but being Mommy always means shit days are inevitable. Sometimes it’s hard and tough and I need to ask for help. And that is okay, it doesn’t mean you love your little one any less, just that some days are harder than others.