Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Am I Normal?

I feel like motherhood is slowly wearing me down. It has always been hard, although many aspects of it have gotten easier for me. Honestly, I wouldn't want to go back to the infant stage with Ryan no matter how much you paid me, because it was pretty horrible for me. But for some reason I thought it might get a tiny bit easier as time passed.

Lately everything has become a battle. This is probably completely normal for a 1-year old, but that doesn't make it any easier. Here are a few examples of what our days are like lately.
Ryan often wants to be picked up, but the minute I do that he squeals and wiggles out of my arms. Once I put him down he bursts into tears because he wants to be held.

Ryan still doesn't nap. Or sleep well at night. This results in no break or shower time for me. This results in a cranky stinky mommy who walks around feeling like a zombie.

Every diaper change is a full on battle. Ryan kicks and rolls over and screams until he turns red. Many times I have to pin him down with one arm or sit on him on the floor.

Ryan is not capable of playing by himself. He screams anytime I put him into his playpen.

When I do get a break from Ryan I often want to lock myself in another room and not come out for a very long time.

So I realize most of those examples are completely and totally normal. I understand that being a Mom means having to deal with tantrums and lack of sleep.

But if I'm being 100% honest, I sometimes feel like I'm not enjoying motherhood enough. I hear other moms talk about how happy they are and how much they are enjoying being a mommy, and how sweet their kids are. When I hear this I think 1 of 2 things. Either A) They are lying. Or B) Their child is easier than mine. Maybe I tell myself this in order to feel better. Like "Oh, well no wonder they love motherhood so much....their child SLEEPS!!" But then I second guess myself and wonder if my feelings are normal or if maybe I'm not that great of a Mom because I don't love it like I thought I would.

I think this was the most honest post I've ever written. I'm not looking for sympathy or anything like that. I guess I just really want to know if what I'm feeling is normal. Please be honest.


  1. This is exactly how I felt when Maeve wasn't sleeping. And on our rough days, I want to hide, too. Maeve is not easy to please, she can be so whiny and grunt-y that I just want to tear my hair out. But I also think you may still have some PPD. We're here for you :)

  2. Big hugs sweetie. What you are feeling is completely normal. Being Mommy can be very difficult and some children are more challenging than others. I have experienced many of the same feelings you have written about here. Sometimes I feel really guilty for not being perfectly happy with motherhood when it's what I wanted for so long but this is the toughest job I've ever had and I had no idea what being a mom truly entailed until I became a mom.

  3. Oh Steph, first of all, BIG GIANT HUGS.
    Secondly, I think that you're completely normal in how you feel. Tantrums and neediness aside, the lack of sleep thing is enough to make ANYONE feel like they're borderline crazy! Neely hasn't been the greatest sleeper I've heard of (Ryan is much worse though, I'm afraid) and the days she doesn't sleep much I feel like I'm on the brink of insanity all day. So I can imagine a year of this would be so much to handle.
    Also, you're right, a lot of those examples are totally normal toddler behavior, but so what! It doesn't make it easy!
    I really really feel for you. I think you're a great mom. Seriously. And you love Ryan. You just need a freaking break! And a shower!
    Do you have family around? Or does your husband help? Have you tried baby melatonin? Have you changed his milk? We stopped giving Neely cow's milk and it helped her sleep better. She ended up being allergic to soy so she's now on coconut milk and almond milk.
    Sorry this reply is SO long. You're not alone, you are loved and highly regarded as a momma.

  4. I think that the fact that Ryan gets so little quality sleep makes for a cranky child. What happened to letting him cry it out until he falls asleep? I thought that had worked until he got sick. But if I'm being honest, I NEVER put Jessamy in bed with me when she was sick. I did get up and check on her, but nobody gets good sleep night after night with a baby/child in the bed. I think if you work on one thing at a time, sleep being the most important, you will find that both his disposition and your feelings will change. Jessamy was a VERY challenging baby/child (ask anyone of her Aunties) HOWEVER, she slept through the night starting very early, so I had the physical stamina to cope during the long day with only a short nap on her part. Alot of the behaviour you describe sounds like an overtired child. When Jessamy started talking alot, she was a little less active, as she turned some of the energy into chatter. I did have her watch Sillyville video tapes for about an hour a day (in the afternoon when I needed a break) and she would dance around and work off some more energy. But I would bet anything if you just grit your teeth and bear it for say...a week...let him cry every night but he stays in HIS bed until he gets the gist of sleeping. Doesn't matter if he teeths...gets the croup...his bed is his secure place to sleep. That's your Aunties Advice!!!! (PS...I learned this from your Gma who was extraordinarily good at getting babies into a routine...it made for happy babies and I never saw it not work)

  5. Not sleeping can have a HUGE affect on how we deal with things - he's not sleeping nearly enough and you're not either, making a volatile combination. You're both going to be cranky that way and then feed off eachothers crabbiness. We just went through about a month of the moodiness and it was TERRIBLE. I wouldn't say I hated being a mom (but Ben sleeps 12 hours a night and about 4-5 hours a day soooo...breaks help) but I definitely wasn't sad to put him to bed at night either.

    Anyways, even though it's normal to have bad days you've been having a bad time for awhile - please let your dr know and talk about ppd and meanwhile, it might be time to check into some type of sleep program to get that baby sleeping more. Crying won't kill him, especially at 1, and in the long run it will be much healthier for both of you. Meanwhile, maybe you could get some help during the day so you can get a break. Even if it's just an hour or two for you to take a nap, a shower, or step out. You HAVE to do it for yourself!!!

  6. I should mention that my Mom lives nearby and is great. She comes over maybe twice a week and plays with Ryan for about an hour so I can get some things done.
    He sleeps on average about 7-8 hours per night and maybe 30 minutes during the day. I don't know what's normal, but this is probably below average.

  7. I know exactly how you feel, though for different reasons. Being a mom in the way that I have had to be is not at all what I planned. I want to tear my hair out in the hospital. I want someone else to clean up when she's sick. I want to enjoy normal things with her without worrying that I will hurt her, make her sick or have to go to the ER. As much as I love her, I will not miss much about her first year. Hang in there.

  8. All of this sounds pretty normal to me. The reality of motherhood is often not what we had imagined. It really is one of the hardest jobs there is. For some it comes more easily, but even for them there are the hard times. Sleep is such a huge issues, and it is hard to deal with other things until that gets better. All I can say is that in my opinion to be a good parent we need to make sure to take good care of ourselves (even if that means asking for a lot of help). When we are doing better, then we are better able to fully be there for the little ones.

  9. *hugs* Yes... normal. Yes, hard.

    Some babies will.not.nap now matter how hard you sleep train them... however, Ryan might not be one of those. I would call your Doc and see if they have any recommendations or even a sleep therapist (i don't even know if they exist... but... it'd be nice, right?)

    It was at this age that I finally buckled down and weaned my oldest from his night time feedings. And then I did let him CIO... for three days it was heartbreaking. But once he got to sleep, he actually slept. After that? He was running to his room when it was bedtime. It was crazy! We will be doing that soon with Jonathan, after we move. We are in an apartment type place right now, so the thought of CIO is... um... not pleasant.

    You are doing a great job. This age is fun/hard/exhausting. And they aren't always equal.

    hang in there.... *hugs*

  10. Another thought came to me. You know how the Duggars have 19 kids? And she nursed them all for the first year? Well, the 19th one turned out to be allergic to her milk. Go figure. But once she stopped nursing the baby thrived. After one year there really is no additional benefit to nursing and it can be wearing on a Mom. You can still get closeness with a night time ritual of bottle and rocking for a short time, or just rocking. You still get snuggle time and it relaxes you and the baby. Then it's down for the night little buddy!!

  11. Ditto. Yesterday i wanted to run away. I think it's boys. Sometimes I feel like I'm a horrible Mom, but tomorrows ALWAYS a new day.

  12. Both mother and child benefit from nursing beyond one year.


    If Stephanie wants to nurse her child then she should. It is good for her, it is good for Ryan.