Tonight we visited with family from Florida. They come up once a year and we really enjoy getting to spend time with them. Our conversation tonight sparked the idea for this post. I finally got asked if I get any time to myself. Where was this question four years ago after Alli? Granted, it may have been asked and my mommy brain may have just forgotten it and now that I’m focused on helping other families, this question may have stood out more tonight than in the past if it was asked.
My time to myself is naptime. The kids all go down for nap at the same time and I usually get a couple of hours and typically I don’t get sleepy until they’re just about ready to wake up. Figures, right? This will all change come Tuesday when Alli starts Pre-K. I am still struggling to believe I have a child starting Pre-K. I am looking forward to this and dreading it all at the same time. Looking forward to the break from having three kids all day long but dreading it because it is a disruption to routine and neither Alli nor I do well with disruptions to our routines. I know we’ll be fine after an adjustment period.
I’ve also noticed lately I’m feeling rather unattached to the girls and over-attached to Cameron. In fact, I’ve even joked with Chris that I’d love to have another baby. Not right now of course – we are struggling way too much in the financial district to even consider that a reality. Down the road maybe. Then I wonder how normal what I am feeling is – Is it normal to feel like this? I had two rough postpartum periods with the girls and this one with Cameron has been such a blissful honeymoon experience (ok, so minus the stuff Chris has put me through but hey, that’s not really related – baby stuff has been great) – has it put me into a lullaby delusion of wanting another? And what’s with the detachment from my older two? I still love them and want to be with them but there’s just something missing and I can’t quite put my finger on it. But yet I can pick up Cameron and feel this instant bond with him. Is this normal? I’ve been struggling with this for a couple of weeks now but finally figured out how to express these feelings today.
As for the time to yourself question – Just because a mom has only one baby doesn’t mean she’s got time to herself. Ask if she needs help with anything – the laundry, errands, meals, etc. Ask if she wants to talk or just wants some company. She’s not going to come right out and tell you these things. Offer to watch Baby while she gets a shower or takes a nap. New moms are struggling to navigate an entirely new world just as awkwardly as their babies are – Moms need to be mothered too, something we in the US seem to have conveniently forgotten in this era of the Microwave Society, ie., I need it done four minutes ago! When did we get stuck on fast-forward? Slow down. Time isn’t going anywhere but forward and there will be time in the future to do the dishes and clean the house. Right now, focus on YOU. Focus on the new mom who is finding her way and developing her new routine. Be patient with her. Be kind to her. Guide her with compassion and warmth. She will be eternally grateful and you will always be kindly remembered.
I sometimes struggle with this, too. There are points where I have felt so completely in tune with my older child and little to no connection, or a disconnection, with my younger. And there there are times when it’s the reverse. I don’t know where it comes from.
I do know that when my daughter, my youngest, was about 6 months old I had MAJOR baby fever. If my husband had said lets have another right now I probably would have pushed aside reality and said, hell yes! It was also around this time that my hormones FINALLY started to even out and I was starting to feel better.
It’s weird how things strike us and the emotions that come with it. I think recognizing the disconnection is helpful because it makes you more aware and makes you work at the connection more. You know?