I’ve been having a lot of feelings lately. I’m not sure if they are more guilt or sadness but little things keep happening that make me feel like I am failing at motherhood.
Mostly it is comments that other people make. Good or bad sometimes they are taken the wrong way by me. These are things that I rarely confront but often stew on. I’ve been surprised because when I am with my child I know I am doing a great job – yet these things have been knocking me down.
The first is weaning. Gus is fully weaned. He has not had breastmilk in a week, I have not pumped for about a week and a half. He did remarkably well with this transition and while he is still up a bit more than normal in the night that is starting to get better, too. We were planning on weaning slower but a week and a half ago I got what I thought was food poisoning (now think was norovirus) and I didn’t pump or nurse him for two days. When I pumped again after that I got an ounce and a half after two pumps and just gave it up. He was already not taking a bottle to go to sleep for us and we planned on going strong at that over the four day weekend last week so it made sense. I’ve had a hard time with this because I had planned on nursing longer. I’m in all of these online breastfeeding groups and now feel like a fake. It’s hard to remember that this has nothing to do with his relationship with me. He loves me, is attached to me, but we were both ready. He has never been a comfort nurser and it makes sense he is done but a nagging part of me feels like he’s not attached to me and because I work I ruined everything.
With him not nursing he has also been sleeping in his crib all night. Before he would go to bed in his crib at night, wake up and be put down there again one or two more times, and then come to bed with us and nurse and sleep somewhere between 2 and 4. Before I had Gus I said I would never cosleep. Once he was born there was no way in hell you were removing that baby from me. Lesley took to putting him back down in the weaning process. If he came to bed he’d expect to nurse. What I’ve come to admit is what Lesley has long been telling me – he sleeps better in his crib. In bed with us he tosses and turns and is just not settled. He’s up half the night but in his crib he sleeps. He sleeps well. He’s up often, sure, but easy to go back down and not restless when he is sleeping. We are cosleeping failures. He loves me, is attached to me, but sleeps better in his own bed. Gus is easily stimulated. When putting him to sleep I cannot look at him because it excites him too much. Seriously. I have to close my eyes. It makes sense he sleeps better on his own but a nagging part of me feels like he’s not attached to me and because I work I ruined everything.
With all of our daycare drama a friend of a friend has watched him twice (today is the second time). When I picked him the first time the woman said that she used to be a nanny for years with different families and it was the easiest first day she has ever had. Gus and her 17 month old played great, he didn’t cry, he napped easy, and was a ton of fun. We hear this all the time when someone watches him. He’s easily adaptable. This is a great thing – in reality I know this. But I look at other kids who want, no need, their parents. Who need their comfort. Who need them close. And that’s just not my kid. I know that this means he feels safe and secure and knows that he can do whatever and we will be back. But a nagging part of me feels like he’s not attached to me and because I work I ruined everything.
I’ve got to get rid of the nagging part. In reality, I know it’s not true. Our kid is happy and healthy and beyond thriving. Last night someone in a facebook group I am in said they want to be a stay at home mom because they don’t want someone else raising their kid. This exasperated all my self doubt. Lesley and I raise our child. He loves us, is attached to us, but adapts easily. He rolls with changes and that’s something I need to be better about doing. There are so many expectations I had, either before him, or after he was born, that have changed because my child is an individual and those expectations are not realistic. When I think about it, the things that were my hopes that have nothing to do with his personality have all stayed true. The way we feed him, the way we diaper him, the way we take care of his health – I was able to do all those things while being a working mom. It often means staying up late washing diapers, making food for him while he naps on the weekend, and extra time off work to go to extra doctor appointments but we make it work. We are two parents who work and take care of our child – part of taking care of him means tailoring our plans to his needs. These aren’t failures. I am not failing at motherhood. I’m doing what’s right for our family.