There’s a new trend in the mom-o-sphere of moms baring all. No I don’t mean the breastfeeding photo frenzy, I mean moms blogging about the truly ugly side of parenting. I watched it from the sidelines and didn’t feel like I could honestly participate. I mean, really, everyone hates that person who jumps into a conversation about something dire, like say shark bites, only to go on and on about that kitten who scratched her last week. “See, I still have that tiny red mark on my elbow. See? Right there. It hurt soooo bad.” Frankly until last night I would have said that, on parenting front I was getting hit with the soft end of the q-tip rather than the pointy end of a sharp stick. Uneventful pregnancies – check. Smiling, happy, healthy babies – check. No colic – check. Right? You hate me don’t you?
Well, hate me no more, friends, because last night I joined the ranks of the moms who completely lose their shit in the middle of the night. Turns out that it takes 23 weeks and three days of not sleeping for more than three hours at a stretch for me to cross the line from slightly cranky all day to completely out of control.
It happened like this:
I was trying hard to get the little booger to sleep through at least one of her “I must eat every two hours or perish” feeds, and I was succeeding pretty well. She woke up at 12:30 and I managed to have her snooze until almost 1, at which point the get-out-of-bed-insert-pacifier-walk-back-to-bed-get-out-of-bed routine wore thin. She ate a full feed and went sweetly back to sleep. I crawled gratefully back into bed and was instantly asleep. At 3 the unmistakable sounds of an infant voiding her bowels interrupted my dream and I lay there, unmoving, eyes tightly closed, waiting to see if she was going to wake up. She probably would have slept on if it weren’t for the fact that her antibiotics have turned her poops to battery acid which starts to chew away at her sweet little tushy flesh the instant it’s evacuated. Thirty seconds after the explosion she started to stir.
I leapt out of bed, hoping to do a lightning quick diaper change before she woke up completely thus avoiding a “hey! I’m up! Let’s eat!” moment. And it would have worked, if M hadn’t started snoring at the very moment when I was trying to put her back in her crib. At each loud outburst from the bed she would startle and cry. I hissed at him to wake up, but was only answered by increasingly loud snorts and snores. Forty minutes, and much more hissing later I completely lost all composure and stormed over to the side of the bed. I tried to shake his hand and when he still didn’t stir, I slapped it, hard, much, much harder than was ever necessary. He flipped out. I watched him flail around the bed like a hoard of attackers were trying to gut him, and then, when he figured out that it was just me, I started yelling.
There was so much frustration and anger pouring out of me that I surprised even myself. A torrent of cussing and bitterness about the unfairness of it all spewed forth and when it was all out I turned tail and left a gaping M sitting on our bed. I slammed the door and went to sob in the kitchen, wide awake infant clasped tightly in my arms.
A few moments that felt like an eternity later my poor husband came to find me. He wrestled the child from my arms and ordered me back to bed. As I crawled back under the sheets I heard him settle himself on the couch and I sobbed myself to sleep in the now empty room. He brought her to me at 4 so she could eat and in the morning when I rolled out of bed he had already dressed C and had the sweet notion that he would take both kids to daycare so I could get some sleep.
In the light of the day my tantrum seemed so absurd and pointless. I got ready for work (Sleep? HA!) and tried to no avail to compose myself in the shower. Shame made me shy; I had trouble meeting M’s eye all morning.
Something happens in the dark of the night, when you stand in the middle of a sleeping house; all little injustices and unfairness seems monumental, and you have to scream right then and there or the angst will eat you up from the inside. You forget that you never discussed a plan with your husband and he has no clue that you are changing the night time routine. You never told him that his snoring disturbs the baby. You never told him what he could do to help. When he asked you always said you were fine, you could handle it. And yet, at 3 am, you feel that he should have known anyway and he has no excuse for sleeping while you rock on the balls of your feet praying the child to go to sleep already.
And then, in the morning light you feel like an idiot, a batshit crazy idiot, who attacks a sleeping man because he couldn’t read your mind and you spend all day wanting to go back in time just so you wouldn’t have to deal with the fact that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t handling this parenting thing quite as well as you thought you were.