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Some Days I Give Myself Compliments

October 10, 2012

I spend my morning walking around my house and collecting diapers that accumulated during the middle of the night. How did that one get there? Did I really forget to throw that one away? Good Lord, how many times must a newborn poop? I attempt to navigate through the various piles of laundry that are stacked around the floor – baby clothes, my husband and my clothes, baby blankets, random things baby has peed on. Will this all get washed in the next week? I try not to trip over it as I make my way to the beeping coffee pot. Sweet elixir of life, I am coming for your caffeinated goodness. My salvation has come to me.

But a baby boy cries from the other room. Salvation stands waiting in the wings.

It’s a land of chaos I currently live in. I often can’t keep track of the last time I fed my son. Did he spit up on that outfit he’s wearing, or is it my own clothes I smell? Did I sleep the last time he took a nap? Wait, when did he last take a nap? Is that mark on his face normal? Am I a bad mother when I can’t figure out exactly how to clip a newborn’s fingernails? The questions go on and on. The list of things to do keeps mounting. And my eyelids keep closing involuntarily.

But I get moments like these when my son is sleeping and the washing machine is running and I somehow find myself still standing for another day. I get to see the rise and fall of his chest to remind me that I’ve somehow done my job – I’ve somehow managed to keep him alive and breathing for the past 3 weeks. I get to tell myself that this is a victory, even if it’s a victory on the most simple and basic human level. My baby and I, we are surviving each other.

It’s in these moments that I allow myself the grace to sit back and say the thing women almost never allow themselves to say. I sit back and tell myself I’m doing a good job. I’m doing a really good job. Without apologies or humility or shyness, I speak to myself with confidence and say, bravo. I am a nighttime warrior, an on-demand chef, master of the one-handed-pee-tent-leg-hold diaper change, champion of the complicated onesie snaps, and provider of my little boy’s needs. I am snuggler, back-rubber, and bath giver. I am immune to the smells of baby poop and spit-up, unfazed by high-pitched screaming, and otherwise unaware of the date on any given day.

I don’t have any answers for any of my own questions. I doubt myself at every turn. But I’m doing it. One step at a time, I’m doing it.

I’ll maybe get to all the laundry. I’ll maybe find that missing baby sock that I swear I just had in my hand. I’ll maybe even get a chance to shower sometime this week. Perhaps I’ll even spring for some adult conversation with a friend.

But for now, I’ll walk down the hall to pick up the little boy who needs me. For now, I’ll kiss my son’s face and stroke his little fingers and rock him in my arms until he falls back to sleep.

For now, I’ll be Mom.

I’ll let the title speak for itself. I’ll let the title speak for all the praises the mothers out there deserve.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2012 2:52 pm

    Made me tear up, you sneaky thing, you. LOVELY. Thank you. May your tribe of willing-to-say-true-things-about-yourself increase. Yea and amen.

  2. October 10, 2012 3:04 pm

    Well, you are certainly a role model for me in your willingness to say true things about yourself and lay it all out there. I am a notoriously bad leaver of comments on your blog, but I am learning so much through your writing and reflections on your own family, Diana. So glad to have a companion for the journey…blessings!

  3. Sarah Keadle permalink
    October 10, 2012 4:11 pm

    Love this!!

    I often thought I needed to be doing something, but then I thought holding/watching him while he sleeps was really all I wanted to do and that’s ok.

    I could NEVER remember when Ben last ate, or slept… a black timex watch was my first post-baby purchase. (it didn’t help with the remembering, but helped me figure out what time it was…2am/6am? so I felt some control)

    Glad you’re doing well! Grayson is a lucky man.

  4. Franny permalink
    October 11, 2012 10:18 pm

    The days can seem so long with a newborn…or the toddler days when they won’t nap and want to be held ALL day..but then one day, they go off to school and you can’t wait for the school bus…and then comes the day when they are a teenager and you are waiting to hear their car return safely… treasure these long days when they are ALL yours!!! Love you sweetie

  5. dancingbeastie permalink
    November 28, 2012 12:44 pm

    Congratulations on your precious baby boy, and congratulations too on a beautifully written blog. I have been chuckling to myself reading your recent posts, recognising with painful intensity the experience of new motherhood, from breastfeeding to re-defining feminism to the vital importance of a hot shower. By the way, it’s no coincidence that you are dancing with God again…something about that little miracle sleeping in the cot over there…?! Very best wishes to you for this most exhausting and soul-singing time of life together.

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