When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had lots of fears and doubts (mostly about childbirth). Childbirth always frightened me. Growing up, your mom or other women you know spoke about pregnancy and birth. You learned about what your body goes through during pregnancy: your organs get smashed out of the way, you swell up, and your hormones go crazy.
While I was nervous about going into labor, I felt very confident in my abilities to care for a newborn baby. I babysat my infant cousin for months while I was in high school and had been around newborns before. I knew the basics and I trusted myself to know what to do once she arrived.
When my baby girl, Molly, was born I felt that instant connection to her. I knew raising her (and any other future babies) would and will be the greatest thing I ever do.
I had a smooth delivery. It was tough in the hospital though. We didn’t sleep. I was trying to breastfeed and make sure I was doing everything right. After that, it was still tough at home for the first several weeks. My husband had to leave town for four nights when Molly was just two weeks old.
I was sleep-deprived like I had never been before due to the endless cycle of feeding, pumping, washing, and sanitizing. I felt like I wasn’t bonding with my baby like I really wanted to. We finally started phasing in formula, as pumping was seriously affecting my mental health. It was such a relief to be able to make bottles in advance and feel like I was finally getting that time I wanted. I would watch her sleep in her swing or her bassinet just in awe of her. I have been lucky enough to stay at home with her while my husband runs his business, I have been able to witness many unforgettable moments that I will treasure forever.
Fast forward to now…
My daughter is a bit older and will be two in July. At around 18 months she started her terrible twos. This is a whole different ball game now!
A friend of mine calls toddlers “domestic terrorists,” and she isn’t wrong. I love my daughter more than life itself but my goodness is it tough right now! I always knew my daughter would be spunky but I wasn’t prepared for this. The screaming, tantrums and fits are enough to break even the toughest of adults. It is hard work caring for a toddler!
Molly once had a fit because she couldn’t wear two pairs of shoes at once. We can barely go out to eat in public anymore, I have to ask my mom or mother-in-law all the time to watch her for me to do the simplest things (luckily, they don’t mind). What used to take me 30 minutes or an hour is now double the time and triple the stress.
Thankfully, I was able to get her into a wonderful preschool two mornings a week, and it has helped me so much. I have some time to spend time alone, run errands, take care of the house, and sometimes I even get to eat my lunch without interruption. Having her at school has helped me structure my time more efficiently, and has also helped me realize I can let go of some control and know things will be ok.
One of the challenges of being a SAHM is just not taking that time for yourself. I have neglected myself for a while at the expense of both myself and my family. I can be a better mom and wife by having my toddler at school, and that is OK.
Make sure you are taking care of yourself, however that looks to you.