....Instead I am watching my daughter snooze:
And I'm writing this.
I usually post photos on social media of my daughter looking peaceful and sweet, like in the photo above-- and usually she is this sweet. But she also has moments like this....
She is a baby, but more specifically, a newborn baby.
Sometimes my husband and I encounter a few nights in a row of epic sleep-- like pre-baby 6 hour stretches. But then the very next night, Sophie will wake up at 1:30 am and I find myself laying in bed for hours, not able to settle back down.
It happens at least once a week. Because...Sophie is still a newborn.
We receive lots of advice from people-- all well meaning. But I often find myself taking a deep breath, offering her a breast to calm her in the middle of the night and letting it all go. If I didn't take pause to remind myself that she is still a little baby, I might get much angrier about walking around like a zombie half-the-time.
But babies are just babies.
Maybe this is an oversimplified explanation-- or validation-- for the many sleepless nights; the trying-- and failing-- to figure out what she needs (after I've gone through the checklist: eat, burp, change, sooth, swaddle...). But the only explanation, most of the time, is that she is still a young baby and figuring this "life" thing out.
So I'm not doing the cry-it-out method. I'm not doing any method, really. I'm trusting my intuition. And surprisingly, it works a lot better, for me and Sophie.
Being a Mom is much harder than anyone can realize until they are a Mom. It is all sorts of wonderful, don't get me wrong-- I love my daughter so much it's disgusting. But I have tried to take on clients again and it is much, much harder than I thought it would be. Sophie is awake a lot more than she used to be. Her naps are much shorter. Much too short to do anything more than sit and catch my breath.
If I'm lucky I can fit in a quick 30 minute Peloton bike ride. But instead of doing that right now, I am writing.
Do I have a purpose outside of motherhood? Absolutely. I have a business, a platform, a voice, and personal goals, like completing my education requirements to become a registered Dietitian. I'm checking each goal off one at a time, even with my limited time. Unlike jobs I've had in the past, being a Mom is the only job I get no break from. It is 24/7. Even when she is being watched by family, and soon by a nanny (can we talk about how stressful the interview process is? Trusting your child with another human is so freakin daunting), not a moment goes by that I am not her mother and not solely responsible for her.
My husband has been a huge help giving Sophie a bottle during one of her night feedings. But I still usually end up needing to sooth her to sleep shortly after he has put her back down.
So no, I don't get a break. Not ever. And I am fully accepting of-- and equipped to handle-- this.
I admit, I used to judge Moms who stay home. I thought they lacked real purpose. And I feel guilty now for ever thinking that. This is by far the hardest job I've ever had, but also the most rewarding. It's work that's bigger than me. It's work that doesn't care about the accumulation of cellulite on my thighs or residual fat around my belly (yes, I have these, too). It's work that doesn't pay me monetarily, but in smiles and milestones.
Most of the work moms do goes unnoticed. It's trivialized or turned into a punchline in movie scripts. But it's fucking important. And I couldn't be more proud of this role.