Do you remember when you became a mom? That special moment when the title was spoken and you answered? Maybe it was the first minute you held your baby in your arms and instantly changed your name. When it happens that we adopt a new part or personality (and she is called mom) we find a part of ourselves that's more charitable, forgiving, helpful, selfless, and full of hope for the future.
We also see a darker side. The side that wakes up with bags under her eyes and goes days without mascara. How do some mom's manage to make it look so easy? Humor. Being able to laugh at the moment while in the moment can make all the difference.
Author Rachel McClellan's new book, Confessions of a Cereal Mother, is full of stories, whit and wisdom every mother can relate to and use. Rachel has so graciously provided an excerpt and guest blog about her own expectations as a first time mother. I hope you enjoy it and pick up a copy of Confessions of a Cereal Mother for yourself or for a special mom in your life.
Take it away Rachel
First time moms are an interesting breed. They take so much upon themselves and think they can do it all. I remember when I was a new mom. I swore I would make my own child’s baby food, and insisted I’d never feed my kids macaroni and cheese or hot dogs. I also vowed to never raise my voice to my children, have perfectly decorated kid’s room, and to teach them to read before they turned four.
Unrealistic? Completely, but I didn’t know that at the time. In this short excerpt from Confessions of a Cereal Mother, the mother hasn’t quite learned how to take care of a newborn and pushes herself to exhaustion after trying to get her baby to sleep for hours. And of course she blames herself for not being able to live up to what she thinks are normal new mom expectations. How many of us can relate?
I feed the baby again, thinking that’s what he needs. It takes a full hour to get him asleep. During this time, my mind wanders to a dark place. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. My whole body hums with exhaustion, and I’m too tired to even cry. Something’s wrong with me. I don’t remember other moms complaining about how tired they are. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mom. I’m clearly not strong enough.
My baby lets out a long sigh, and I know he’s asleep. I lay him down and crawl back into bed. I can’t sleep, however. I keep thinking I hear the baby crying. It’s not long before my imagination becomes a reality.
But I can’t move.
I stare into the darkness, begging to be a part of it.
Baby cries louder.
I wish the mattress would swallow me and take me to Alice’s wonderland. Tim Burton’s version. With Johnny Depp.
Suddenly I’m being elbowed. I remain still.
“The baby’s crying,” my husband mumbles.
I stay motionless. Dead.
Another nudge. “Wake up. The baby’s crying,” he says louder.
I’m a log, drifting in the calm waters on a high mountainous lake.
My husband sits up. He takes hold of my hand, lifts it into the air and then drops it. It flops to the bed. A dead fish.
Suddenly he’s shaking me, his voice alert. “Wake up!”
Like Lazarus, my eyes open, and I can’t help but laugh.
And then cry.
“What’s going on?” my husband asks.
I choke on my tears. “I’m too exhausted. I’ve been up with the baby multiple times, and I’m going on days without much sleep. I can’t do it anymore. I’m so sorry.” I bury my face into my pillow.
“Why didn’t you say something? I could’ve helped.” He smooths my hair. “Get some rest. I’ll take care of the baby.” After a quick hug, he leaves.
The words “I failed” lull me to sleep as my eyes close on a cold, wet pillow.
I finished reading this section and was instantly taken back to those days of no sleep, emotional exhaustion, and wearing a super cape (that I'd stitched together with my own expectations) that was two sizes too big. I remember crying because I was exhausted. I thought I knew what tired was before I had kids - I was fooling myself.
Just like Rachel, I got through those times and, now that my kids are all out of diapers, I look back - not with fondness - no, I look back with satisfaction. If I can survive that, I can survive anything.
I can hear you out there. You moms with teenagers. You're saying, "Just wait, Sweetie, you ain't seen nothin' yet."
I'd be so grateful if you'd take a second and share your own heroic mommy moment and how you made it through. Thanks! and Go Team Mom!!