There are times when I get smacked in the face by the reality of my life. Some days, it is so hard to get into the routine of mommyhood when so many times I just want my bed and bowl of ice cream. The evenings are always chaotic having to drop my mom off at home after she's watched Elliott all day, and there are errands and phone calls to squeeze in on top of dinner and diaper washing and bottle washing and baby food-feeding and bathtime. And many times, I throw it out the window, routine be damned. A long walk in the stroller, an extra bottle and rice puffs for dinner (Del Taco for the big kids). No bath. I fall asleep before the baby and he ends up sleeping on the couch with my husband in a spit-up stained onesie until he's transferred to his crib at 2 am. A lot of realization at work at 7 am the next morning that, "oh crap! I should have called the billing office yesterday!"
On Wednesday it seemed my day actually worked out the way I've always planned it. Elliott has been oh so whiny lately, a combination of possible teething and being thrust into the chaos my husband and I live in, and on Tuesday I didn't let it shred my nerves as I am so often apt to. He ate heartily, a mix of peas and green beans and sweet potatoes and oh! That isn't enough? Here is some peaches and oatmeal for dessert! followed by a hearty swig of a normal sized bottle and another two hours later at 9 pm before bed. Somehow, in the midst of that, I managed to make a semi-healthy meal of spaghetti & meatballs with Brussels sprouts on the side. A long bath, the longest, with no crying or stress, just lots of splashing, singing, and rubber duckies. And for the first time, in the longest time, he let me feed him and sing to him and rock him in the dark, and old bedtime tradition that I haven't seen since before he could sit up.
The evening that followed was just as chaotic as usual, a trip out to dinner and then to the grocery store, followed by cranky baby-ness and bottles being washed and realizing that the dog hasn't been fed for over a day. I am not sure what came over our family on hump -day this week, a day we allowed for productivity and routine to rule the roost. I have to say, I rather liked it.
Was it was because I was in control? A sense of order in the evening that hadn't been matched in months?
It might have been those last thirty minutes, those precious thirty minutes of snuggle time and bottle. I talked about it in this post a few weeks ago. The moment of connection I felt to my son that had previously gotten lost in the throes of daily hubbub. There was nothing else. Nothing but me and Elliott and that moment as mama and baby.
That is when the sting of a hand across my face gets me. I am ever criticizing myself, feeling inadequate and wondering if Elliott loves his dad and his daycare grandmas more than me. I sit on the floor with Elliott at playtime and I catch myself spacing out, pregnant brain meets mommy brain squared, and then the wave of self-criticism pounds down on me telling me I am not doing enough. That I am not good enough. But the proof was in the pudding this past Wednesday. I am doing enough. It's not about routine. It's not about bathtime and it certainly isn't about keeping my eco-friendly cloth diapers baby fresh. It's about Elliott. It's is about he and I and the only thing holding me back from life and love is my own insecurities.
I am not quite sure how to battle those insecurities, but if you've been reading the last few weeks you know I've been dealing with them. I know how to start. To soak up baby snuggles and smiles and sing-song bubble baths, and also realize that it isn't about me. It's about my boy, and whatever I do I have to do it for him.