Wow, thank you so much everybody ((((((hugs)))))). So many excellent points made, you’ve all really made a difference. I’m feeling much happier. This is a terribly long post, but my babies are sleeping and I’m so grateful to all of you.
Lissa I am so sorry for your loss! How sad. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure I’m not the only bummed-out mommy reading this thread; you’ve undoubtedly reached many people.
cher3 I like the way you talk about squeezing in a few minutes here & there - that’s a lot less daunting than trying to imagine “arranging my life” to better suit my needs, and it’s something I can do right away. You and tanookie (love those birthday pix of your little girl!) are so right about the impossible image of motherhood. One of the gifts I received at a baby shower was one of those calendars with stickers for the milestones, and it talks about what a “cuddly snuggly” time it is when you first bring a baby home. I think I’m going to burn that calendar - when I first brought my babies home, it was “terrifying and sleepless”. But I don’t suppose that would sell as well.
All of you who mentioned babysitters - you’re right, I know you’re right, I’ve got to find a way to do that. A Babysitter’s League sounds excellent! Maybe there’s a way to do it? We do live in Chicagoland right now.
And I should join a mommy group, as CaveMike pointed out; I do know of one, but frankly they terrify me. I just don’t feel like a real mommy & I don’t want these women to overpower me! I just know they’ll all be swapping recipes & whipping out their glue guns to do craft projects involving egg crates and toe jamb – or else they’ll all be breastfeeding their 4-yr-olds and warning people away from immunizations! It shouldn’t bother me, I should feel confident enough of my identity and choices to celebrate diversity, or at least accept and respect other opinions. But I don’t, I’m defensive and judgemental and I don’t want to inflict that on other people. I wonder if this is why a lot of moms are isolated, as MLS pointed out; I know I’m responsible for doing it to myself. After the sheer number of hours required to care for children, I think the “Mommy Identity Crisis” may be the biggest challenge, and I can’t think of any remedy except for time and practice.
AerynSun, that’s so true about borrowing fears - as you and rackensack pointed out, I’ll have to work on being more deliberately rational, keeping things in perspective. And I appreciate hearing from you and tanookie and smartini that your emotional journeys weren’t easy, either. That’s huge. Abbie Carmichael I’m glad to hear you remarking about the bonding process as a lengthy one; I wish that it weren’t the case, but I have to believe you’re right.
Re: housework, this is tragic - living out of the laundry basket was already our norm! It’s hard to lower your standards when you didn’t have any . Terrible, but true; I’m now doing what you do, Primaflora, which you see as a minimum, but for me this is new! Aaack! All those years of being a slob were not a good thing!
WhyNot, that’s an excellent point about getting the help that’s truly needed. I think we women have a hard time asserting our needs.
And I definitely agree with you AerynSun about letting them cry for a minute or two when you just can’t take it. I have to admit, I’m already using TV for brief spells when my resources are exhausted; Noggin is my friend! I mentioned to someone that the bathroom was the one room in our apartment in which I couldn’t hear the babies crying, so they gave me a baby monitor - I sent that bugger back! No way I’m giving up that refuge!
rackensack, that was wonderful, thank you so much for all of those insights! I keep reading and re-reading your post. It really resonated for me when you said Acknowledging that what’s infinite is the number of things you’d like to do for them, or that you would do for them if you could, is a very different thing.. How true! I really had never thought of it that way. You’ve given me a lot to consider.
OK, now I’ll tell you guys a funny story, just to show I’m not completely around the bend. Or maybe I’ve always been around the bend. One of those. It might be TMI, but I suspect everyone can relate.
I often feel that I’m channeling Erma Bombeck. Earlier this month we all developed a good-old GI flu (we’re fine now, nobody got dehydrated). My daughter picked it up first, vomiting and diarrhea over a weekend. It wasn’t too violent and happened during the daytime. My case showed up starting at 10:00 pm Monday, and my son started at midnight. So the first time he gets sick in our bed (I’m co-sleeping), it’s strip the bed, change the sheets, bath for the baby, fresh nightie. At 3:00 I settle for washing his face, changing his clothes & putting a fresh towel under him (I have to pause while washing him so that I can throw up a few times). 3:30 he gets a damp washcloth and scooted over to a clean part of the sheet. 4:00 another clean corner. At 5:00 we’re on the floor, as there is no clean spot left on the bed, and I’m like, face that way if you have to heave, kid!
He was mostly fine a couple of hours later, poor little guy.