Why Motherhood is Kicking My Ass

Can I be honest with you? Motherhood is kicking my ass these days.

Most of the time, I love being Charlie’s mom. He’s so beautiful and amazing. There are days when he’s loving and cuddly, when he smiles from morning ’til night, when he laughs at our funny antics. These are the days when my heart is bursting with joy and I want 10 more babies – STAT!

And then there are the days that I feel helpless and stupid and overwhelmed and generally bad for Charlie that he got me as a mother (pity party, begin).

First of all, he’s been sick since Christmas. That’s probably not true, but it feels like it. First it was a cold, then it was croup, then an ear infection, then teething, and now he’s having crazy diarrhea from the antibiotics – it’s never ending! I know he’s exposed to a ton of germs at my MIL’s school, and I know it’s good for him to build up resistance, but COME ON! I feel like I’m waiting to discover who my kid is when he’s healthy.

On top of that, my loving and amazing helicopter mama is kind of a helicopter grandma. I know she cares about him deeply – and I LOVE that she does – but I hesitate to tell her when Charlie isn’t feeling well (“He’s sick again?”). Then she’ll call/text throughout the day to check up on him (“How does he feel?” “What’s his temperature?” “Did he eat?” “What’s his poop look like?”). I know she absolutely doesn’t intend this, but I kind of end up feeling like a failure. Why can’t I keep my kid healthy?

Also, I’m at my wit’s end with the changing table. Charlie screams bloody murder when I carry him toward it. This morning he started thrashing like a caged animal and I almost dropped him. I’ve tried singing games, explaining what I’m doing, distraction with a special toy, and standing him up to change his diaper (not easy, by the way). I’ve even plopped him up there just to hang out. He hates it ALL!

I’m sure this is related to his development. He’s always been pretty independent, so maybe this is part of his distaste for being confined. Either way, it’s not like we can NOT change his diaper, and I’m getting tired of getting beaten up and screamed at every day. Please, someone suggest something else that I can try.

I just don’t have the answers for this kid. The other day, he lost his shit when I tried to put him on the nursery floor after a morning bath (the changing table was obviously out of the question). He would not stop crying no matter what I tried. The crying gave way to screeching/sobbing and pretty soon the entire neighborhood was up. Charles stumbled into the room (it was his turn to sleep in), and managed to calm him down.

People are always commenting that Charlie is such a happy baby. Sure, he’s a peach when he’s out and about and in his element. At home, I tend to feel like nothing pleases him. His toys are boring. His food is bland (and probably lacking adequate nutrition). His bottle isn’t made as good as when MIL makes it. I know I’m probably projecting.

This is incredibly cliche, but being a parent is so darn tough. As a chronic overachiever, I want to “succeed” at motherhood, but I’m far from having the answers.

Perhaps this is the Grand Lesson of being a parent. Charlie is doing all of the developmental things he needs to be doing, and I just have to ride it out. My son is not an extension of me, but his own being with important lessons to learn and complex emotions that he is far from understanding. It’s got to be really tough to be him!

So let’s hope that tomorrow is better.

It better be – I think my warranty expires after one year.

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7 Responses to Why Motherhood is Kicking My Ass

  1. Colline says:

    Try giving him something to drink while you are feeding him. And relax a little – he is probably feeling the tension that is building up inside of you. Don’t beat yourself up – people say he is happy and that, to me, shows he is being loved and well cared for.

  2. Rocky Salmon says:

    Your sentiments echo Julie’s. Ronin had colic but when that ended he ended up being a sunshine of a boy. Easy to deal with and hillarious. Cat has been the opposite. She was a great baby but now she is always sick and so head strong and a bully. Julie recently commented, “So this is what it’s like when Cat is not sick…It’s beautiful.” That was then followed by two ear infections, an allergic reaction to medication, pneumonia, breathing treatments, molar teething and now today….strep throat. Hang in there Jess…When Ronin hit 3 the illnesses became less and less frequent.

  3. Ioana says:

    Hey Jess, what you’re going through is perfectly normal. Clara is sick ALL THE TIME from stuff she catches at daycare. One thing I would suggest to help with diarrhea from the antibiotics is acidophilus. I give it to Clara every time and it seems to work. Put it in yogurt or just sneak it in milk bottles. You can find it at Whole Foods and Henry’s. I just take one adult gel cap, open it and give Clara about 1/2 of what’s in there. The changing table could be a reaction to the diarrhea. His bottom is probably sensitive and it hurts when you change his diaper. Try giving him some milk or some water. That could help soothe him. Also, try changing him on the floor. We do that with Clara sometimes. But yes, in general, hang in there. Sophie stopped being sick all the time around age 3. This is all perfectly normal, like I said.

  4. Jules says:

    Your momma and my momma are soulmates, I think. Or sisters in a past life.

    If it makes you feel better, at Ayala’s last appointment, her Dr. mentioned that kids who go to daycare early in life tend to get sick less than their stay-at-home counterparts when they hit kindergarten.

    And yes, the grand lesson in life is that you can’t control your kids all the time, even though you want to. Go with the flow, Jess. Go with the flow. And, Riunite, when appropriate. 😉

  5. Heather says:

    I have absolutely nothing to offer except empathy. Motherhood often kicks my ass as well! Most of the time, actually. I would probably break down and give him candy at the changing table (not really, but I would be so, so tempted). I guess he’s probably too old to be entranced by a mobile – or you probably already have one there and he’s over it by now. Install a laser light show on the ceiling? This is how I get when I’m desperate. Outlandish. Sorry, love. Hopefully someone more experience than I am has the answer.

  6. marienkafer says:

    Hi there! I have no brilliant advice to share as I’m not officially a mommy yet, but I was going to suggest something similar to Ioana. Try changing the scenery? Grab a changing pad and change him on the floor in the living room. Or in the car. Or wherever. If he doesn’t know it’s coming, maybe he won’t panic so much? And please, keep in mind that you’re the best mom in the world for your son. 🙂

  7. Barbara and Charles III says:

    Sorry I didn’t read this sooner, Jessica, as your warranty has, indeed, expired. “MIL” here with a few thoughts. No one is actively responsible for germs, so let yourself off that hook. Sanitize your house twice a day? Many will argue that too clean an environment leaves a child’s immune system looking for something to fight, promoting allergies. I have certainly seen the incidence of allergies rise since I began teaching young children in 1983. Personally, I’d rather get sick now and then than suffer the daily impact of allergies. How often do young children get sick? From my reading, two colds a month is not unlikely in children under 2, and a cold can last one to two weeks. Frequent ear infections, sinus infections, or antibiotic prescriptions indicate something more than the norm is going on, but these Charlie does not have. Illness in childhood seems to be a matter of timing. Children exposed to many other children (in a child care program and also with a stay-at-home mom’s frequent outings to theme parks, shopping centers, restaurants, play groups, and the like) get sick sooner, and illness tapers off, so they miss less less elementary school. Children living a more protected existence tend not to get so ill when young, but have to go through their set of infections when they enter school. Every article on the subject of childhood illness includes the mantra of frequent hand washing as the readiest, best protection—for everyone. In Charlie’s case that includes keeping his hands out of his mouth as we leave the diaper area on the way to the sink. Alas, no warranty covers thumb sucking.

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