Ramblings Of An Overtired Mother

I remember a speaker once saying that any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a Daddy.

I remember thinking that’s true.

And now I think there’s a missing second line to that:

Many a woman can be a mother, but it takes a special one to be a good mother.

Yeah, okay, I won’t win accolades, but it is true.

This has been a particularly trying week in our home, and my patience is running very, very short. The disturbed and broken sleep of the last three nights certainly doesn’t help, and the fact that our lives are up in the air, we’re living with friends and family, moving around to accommodate our need for accommodation without inconveniencing anyone else, and the fact that my hubby is working 12 hour days, all add up to me being – well… not the best.

Being a mother isn’t that hard. Get pregnant, have a baby, get the baby to adulthood alive and with as little scarring as possible. But everything beyond that basic baseline instruction takes effort. Time, energy, motivation. Effort.

Of course it’s not always tough, and sometimes it’s downright fantastic, but even in the worst job you have good days. What differentiates motherhood from a ‘real job’ is that you don’t get to go home, you don’t get to take days off, and there’s no changing jobs to get away from a bad situation. Oh, and in a ‘real job’ you get to hand over to someone else when you need to.

As a mother, however, you’re on call all the time. Even ‘scheduled’ me time falls away when something else comes up. There’s no explaining ‘me time’ to a frantic, teething toddler.

Engaging young minds is hard work. Enthusiastic work. Energy consuming work. Whether you slept or not. Going on outings, for walks, teaching, drawing, singing, reading. Sleep is irrelevant. But keeping a child active and engaged is definitely the lesser evil – a bored and frustrated toddler is just plain scary.

Not snapping and getting irritable at the ‘Mama, mama, mama, mama’ that follows you around the house, or currently for us, ‘up, up, up’ is really hard. Especially when you haven’t slept.

Being a mother might be the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It might be the thing that’s made me grow more than anything else, and it might be the biggest thing that I would never ‘undo’ given the chance, but being good at it… well… it’s undervalued.

If I put this much energy, effort, emotion, thought, passion, self and time into a ‘real job’, I’d own the company by now.

* We do still cosleep, but our unsettled lives, and teething, are making for an unsettled little one who wakes up moaning a lot. Added to which I’m under a lot of stress, which means I don’t sleep much or well when I do.
* I still breastfeed and for the first time ever, my nipples hurt. This makes me cranky and not feel like nursing. This makes Ameli cranky. Two crankies don’t make a happy. Or something like that.

Dear Ameli- Letter to a Seven Month Old

I know I say this every month, but I cannot believe that it’s been seven months.

I sat you in your Bumbo this morning while I was hanging the washing and I was telling you about your birth and about that exact time seven months earlier, when you couldn’t sit in a Bumbo, or eat a biscuit or any of that. It’s phenomenal. It’s miraculous, this whole growth thing.

Let’s see…

A month ago I thought you were mobile. Thinking back, I had no idea. I think you’ll be walking soon. You pull yourself up on everything: tables, your cot, my trouser legs. In fact, you’re pretty much incapable of sitting still. It’s a neverending squirm with you. You have so much energy, I am surprised you don’t eat more.

Speaking of eating, you are doing really well with your baby-led weaning. Your favourite food so far is smoked salmon, but apart from grapefruit, there’s really not much you don’t like. I can’t blame you on the grapefruit, though, it had no sugar or honey on it!

You had your first flight this month. We flew to Norway to visit your aunty Deshaine, and you were great on the flight. You breastfed for take-off and landing and slept for the rest of it. There was this huge volcanic eruption in Iceland the day we flew out and it caused a bit of panic, but we got home on schedule and had a fantastic time.

You’ve definitely reached the clingy phase. I can’t really leave you for too long and you start crying for me. It makes me feel special, but also a little bit tired sometimes.

My Beautiful DaughterOn the plus side, you have stopped screeching so much, which is a major improvement, and you laugh a lot more. Especially when we hang you upside down or play aeroplanes with you. Or sing ‘Open and closed, open and closed, don’t get in a muddle, open and closed, open and closed, give yourself a cuddle’ – that does seem to be your favourite.

On the other hand, you’ve started clawing at my breasts when you feed, a little like a cat on a scratching post when it’s been removed from its mother too soon. As a result they are currently various shades of green from the bruises.

We’ve had a reprise from your teething pains for a while, but that came to an end recently, and I suspect you’ll have a whole bunch of new teeth to show off soon. At least your sleep has improved, even though you still wake two or three times a night for a feed.

Well, honey, mommy will be going to sleep shortly, and I’ll curl up next to you and hold you close to my heart. I’ll watch you in the moonlight and hold on to these moments, knowing that they pass all too quickly. I’ll wake up in the night and listen for you, for your breathing, just to make sure you’re okay. When you stir I’ll pull you to me, and I’ll drink in your baby smell, holding my breath in an attempt to capture your scent forever in my memory. When you suckle at my breast and make little ‘hmmmm’ sounds, and after when you nuzzle in to me, those are the moments that I know your whole being is an extension of my heart.

You are more precious than I ever thought possible.

I love you for always.


Dear Ameli- Letter to a five month old

Dear Ameli                                                                                                                                 4 March 2010

I can’t believe how quickly this month has flown by, nor can I believe that five months ago this minute, I was opening my eyes from my first decent sleep in days.

You have grown in leaps and bounds this month. You seem in such a hurry. It has been beautiful to observe. It has been magical to be a part of. We are so blessed to have you as our baby.

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