This past weekend at the garden store, Noah happily followed this cool little girl with sunglasses up a little bridge, but then he asked for help coming down the bridge.
He reached out his hand…
He’s all grown up but still my baby, and on Friday we party!
This Friday, Noah will be celebrating his second birthday and I am so proud of myself for getting this far. Yes, I’m proud of Noah and my husband Davy and hearts and rainbows packed to the rafters, but I really am fucking proud of myself. I don’t think it hurts to admit you’re a good parent when you’re being one, or to let another parent know you see their efforts too. Sometimes it’s a thankless job and we could all do with a kind word. It keeps you all in check when you’re feeling like a shitty parent anyway, because half the time it’s out of your control.
Sometimes I feel like a shitty mom. Not often, but sometimes. It happens.
But I realize now that being a good mom means being good to yourself too and not just to your child first. Equality’s great and all, but there’s no real equality when it comes to childcare around-the-clock under your own roof. In real life, moms are just in a whole different arena than dads. I can say this wholeheartedly now that I’m a mom and still-feminist. Oh my god…the f-word.
I have a lot more defects than you’d think, and there are demons that I fight every day, personal ones. Just because you become a mom doesn’t mean your precious child fixes everything in your life by default. Hell no. You now have to manage another life in addition to yours and whomever else’s, and juggle your insecurities or handicaps, anxieties and minor fails. Plus, if you’re a klutz like me, you’ll give yourself at least one new bruise or bump a day. It comes with the territory, and shaving your legs in a hurry so you can run off and play like a maniac with your son who’s about to turn two!
If sponges could be happy, then I’d describe Noah as a happy sponge. He is one of the happiest children most people have ever met, because they’ve told me so. He’s at the age where he’s soaking up everything in his environment and retaining so much of it, then recalling it at whim, and sometimes it’s freaky just how much he knows. Noah is, hence, a happy sponge.
I don’t know about other moms, but I’ve heard countless times of how I “shouldn’t be” down or sad because I have Noah to look at. It’s not just on Twitter or Facebook or blog, but in-person and in e-mail and text message. “Don’t be sad! Look at Noah!”
It’s like saying people without children are more qualified to be sad because they didn’t birth a child, or perhaps people without children are supposed to look to their dogs or iPhones instead?
Yes, I post countless photos of Noah all sponge-happy and yes, he brings joy to my heart and soul. And there’s nothing sweeter than Noah’s smile to me when I need it most, especially before coffee, but it doesn’t make everything else bad go away. Life goes on like anyone else’s, with or without children.
Happiness can be found in many places, but I’d be lying if I said that just looking at Noah made my day turn around. Days are meant to up and down, and Noah helps me through it. Believing a baby is a cure-all is dated and delusional.
I do realize that most people who say “How can you ever have a bad day when you have Noah?” or something to that effect, mean it in the sweetest way and they’re right. At the end of the day, my biggest accomplishment and new love is Noah. But there’s a real and dangerous epidemic beneath the surface, with new motherhood, in minimizing any mom’s bad day. To put it plainly, postpartum depression isn’t mythical or cute or “her problem” no matter how brief or long it endures. I’m not sure if I ever had it or have it now because the time has flown by so fast, and my hormones are raging under a new birth control pill anyway. In the end, nobody is to blame for it. Fun times!
But I look at my Noah now, and I see in him all that he’s absorbed from me in the last two years, and I know I’m a stronger mom because of it, good and bad.
Thank you to all the moms (and non-moms) out there who’ve helped me along the way!