Mamas, have you ever experienced a moment with your little(s) that was so difficult it left you in a puddle of tears? It’s almost like it’s a rite of passage into parenthood to have these experiences. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve ALL had times like these (unless you have perfect children in which case we are all extremely jealous of you!).
There was one night during Jonas’s second week of life that we humorously refer to as “The Night from Hell.” Sure, we might be a bit on the dramatic side when we call it that, but holy cow, in the moment it certainly felt like hell! At this point we had been parents for about a week and a half, and Taylor and I commented several times to each other that “this wasn’t so bad”! Prior to becoming parents, we heard all the horror stories. We heard about the sleepless nights, the colicky babies, the fountains of poop, etc. At this point, we thought we were killin’ it!
“The Night from Hell” started as any other night with a newborn. It was 9:00 PM and I had just finished feeding Jonas. Taylor (my husband) rocked him and put him down. That’s when the fun began. The shrill screaming pierced through the air. Not a big deal, right? Well, when it lasted for 8 hours straight, it certainly became a big deal. We tried everything… and I mean EVERYTHING. Rocking, singing, bouncing, baby wrap, shushing, running the dishwasher, feeding constantly, etc. We had absolutely NO clue what to do. We felt the most helpless we’ve probably ever felt in our lives. He fell asleep probably 15 times during this 8 hour period, but every time we set him down, he immediately woke up screaming.
Finally at 4:30 AM, I said to Taylor, “I’m taking him for a drive”. 15 minutes later, we finally all went to bed. Right before Taylor and I fell asleep, I let the tears fall. I hadn’t cried all night up until now. I was trying to hold it together and be the strong mom that I wanted to be so badly. But I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I whispered to Taylor “I don’t know if I can do this.” He said all the right things to encourage me and then started to sing “Don’t worry ‘bout a thing” by Bob Marley. Now Taylor is tone deaf to begin with (seriously, he will tell you this!) but after not sleeping all night, his voice was even worse than it usually is! We laughed and sang that song until we fell asleep.
So why am I sharing this story? I’m sharing this because it’s an example (one of many!) where I felt like I had no idea what I was doing as a mom. I felt discouraged. I felt like a failure. I felt like having a child was supposed to be the happiest, most amazing time of my life and now I was experiencing a moment where it just wasn’t. I believed the lies that kept creeping into my head saying maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a mom. I vividly remember the morning after I sat at my kitchen table with my face buried in my hands and said to my mom “I feel like Jonas hates me.” The truth is that being a parent is HARD, and it isn’t always pretty. And that’s OKAY.
So what do I do when times like “The Night from Hell” happen? I take time for myself and do things that are life giving to me. I invest harder than ever into my marriage because I know that we need to keep that as strong as possible so we can lean on each other when parenting is tough. I run because running is one of the best stress relievers in my opinion. I pray. I talk to my mom friends. I focus on remembering that tomorrow is a new day and it can’t possibly be worse than today was. Ladies, if you are having one of those days today, remember that you are amazing and in the words of Luke Bryan “most mommas oughta qualify for sainthood.”