It’s almost noon and I am sitting in the recliner in pajama pants and my husband’s hoodie. I just ate my fourth piece of fudge that I shouldn’t be eating, and I’m pretty sure it was a gift from family that had been left unopened in the cabinet for 3 months… and as I am chewing it, I am thinking a candida cleanse diet would be a great idea. I am trying to calm a newborn, entertain a toddler, and keep my sanity. I am both manic and sane. I am both fickle and unwavering. I am the product of my fluctuating hormones. This is my day today. And these are post pregnancy hormones.
Yesterday, my one day with the car, I sat in the Target parking lot crying while my toddler tried to “Hulk” her way out of her car seat. That night I stood motionless under in a hot shower trying to unwind from pent-up frustrations of not being able to accomplish a single thing on my goal list and the mounting anxiety I was feeling. I started replaying the night before where I had a coffee date with a group of women and it was the first time that sort of thing has happened in over 2 years… before I became a mom. My cup was so full that night, but then the next day came and there I was standing in the shower feeling like the water pouring over me was actually pouring out of my soul.
You see this post-pregnancy and early motherhood season of life is hard. And since I have lived so long without a parenting village, I have experienced so many days of feeling empty, useless, and helpless.
Now as a mom of two, it’s still no cake walk. It’s not the idealistic scenarios we dream of or the one so many see through the pinterest looking glass. It has meant letting the baby cry a little more than I would like, afternoon baths for the toddler to try to bring on sudden sleepiness, and cooking dinner at 1pm just so it’s done by 5. It’s meant hearing “I need milk” demanded about 1,000 times in single day from your toddler and little whimpers crying for milk from that sweet baby of yours. It means feeling burnt out and on the edge in every second… because I swear these two tag team me every day, destroying my motivation as nothing seems to get accomplished. And it’s meant crazy fulfilling moments of joy that are inescapable even in the midst of chaos.
The post-pregnancy hormones make me smell like a dying cat, breastfeeding two children means I am always touched out, and I am pretty sure those hormone-induced pimples have also created the perfect connect-the- dot board on my face as can be seen by the canvas my toddler has made of my skin. But I look in the mirror and chuckle to myself that at least my daughter has creativity, my kids want to be near me, and that my husband still loves me when I smell bad.
No one wants to publicly talk about their imperfections and no one seems to want to discuss how hard the first few months of new baby and new motherhood are even when not going through postpartum depression. How post-baby body odor is a real thing or how your hair can fall out in handfuls to the point of needing to google “why am I going bald in my 20s?”. But the reality is we all go through those stressful moments and struggle with the crazy side effects of hormones and have down-in-the-dumps feelings some times even if it’s just a day, a whole week, a month, or becomes a season in our lives.
Crazy mood swings and readjusting hormones make for complicated relationships with both spouse and kids. It means feeling manic and dealing with the craziness that kids bring on top of it. Sometimes the emotions the hormones bring come in like a storm that you have reel back onto place and ask yourself where that even came from. Sometimes just looking at the messy house or just thinking of the mile long to-do list seems to bring tears to your eyes and panic to your bones.
Some days I want to quit. To walk away. To question my role as a mother. Because, you know, I haven’t seen the carpet in my living room for three weeks and I am still folding the same 6 loads of clothes I was trying to put away last week.
But we all have to realize and prepare ourselves for it. Because it’s a season and this storm will pass. The hormones will subside and the sun will shine a little brighter… and I won’t lose all my hair. I have been up and down in this season of life as the past two years and I know that it’s par for the course even if it’s something none of us want to talk about.
As mothers who stay home with our kids, we get little interaction with an outside world and we feel trapped in a 24/7 job. So some days it does feel like the end of the world and then other does is does feel like a million bucks to be blessed with experiencing their little moments.
So right now, I am taking a deep breath, putting down the sleeping toddler, picking up the crying baby, and putting a smile on my face… even if it’s fake… because I do know this stressful, never-ending mom job has some of the most rewarding days because of these hard ones.