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  • Writer's pictureElana


Remember how I seemed like Supermom in the first few weeks after Ezra was born? I wasn't going to let sleep deprivation or round-the-clock feeds stop me from doing all the fun things I wanted to do! I had a toddler to keep busy and wasn't going to hibernate at home. I didn't want to miss out on the chance to make fun memories. And while I think this was driven more by craziness and stubbornness than anything else, it felt good to keep "living" even after such a major life change as introducing a new person to our family.

I'm so glad a friend of mine with a baby a couple of months older than Ezra warned me: "at around 6 weeks, with every one of my babies, I am a mess," she said. "The adrenaline runs out and the exhaustion kicks in." I don't remember that happening with our first babe. I think I ran out of adrenaline on day 4 or 5 with him, it was just so hard right from the get go. But she warned me. And she was right.

Right around 5 weeks I crashed. I went from attending parades and concerts and doing fun family outings to pumpkin patches and apple orchards, newborn-in-tow, to binge-watching Netflix and staying in my pajamas much longer than I probably should, bursting into tears for unexplainable reasons throughout the day. And to top it all off, my birthday fell right in the middle of this magical time (side note: my goals for my birthday were to shower and not cry, and I did manage to accomplish one of those things)!

It was a relief when I admitted to myself that I was running on fumes and allowed myself to slow down. But it's a hard adjustment to re-enter the stage where an incredibly productive day now includes showering, laundry and taking something out of the freezer for dinner. If I fit in groceries or walk the dog then it's been an unbelievably impressive day. And if the only thing I manage to get done all day is keep my baby fed, that's actually okay.

As nature clearly planned, right around the time where that adrenaline runs out and the exhaustion sets in, the sparkly-eyed smiles appear. Thank goodness he's so cute!

I've had to make sacrifices and miss out on things that mean a lot to me. But I'm trying to get out and do some things that fill my bucket; like today I visited a friend's art exhibit, or every Monday Ari and I attend a musical theatre program together at the library (which we are both loving so much).

One thing I've worked on since Ari was a baby is to not evaluate my own competence, skill or value as a mother by things that are really out of my control. When Ari was a baby, I remember asking with tears filling my eyes, "what kind of a mother can't put her own baby to sleep?" The answer I discovered was: a very normal one.

And so now when I happen to have everyone sleeping at the same time, for example, and I want to text their Daddy to celebrate, I am very careful not to say things like "I am nailing this day" or "I feel like Supermom", and instead will say something more objective and factual like "everyone is asleep" or "naptime went well today" (or even better, I will say nothing because as soon as I send a text like that, inevitably I will jinx it and everyone will wake up). It is not a reflection of me. Because if I can personalize these positive events to mean that I'm a good mother, then it means when things are not going well that I'm not a good one. And that's just not true. Things go well and things go bananas and neither one happens because I did or didn't do a good job.

I know that this stage is time-limited. I know that eventually, laundry and showering will be things that happen in the background of everyday life and won't be my main accomplishments for the day. So I'm doing whatever I can to survive this challenging time, and in the meantime, I'm soaking in all those adorable sparkly 8-week-old smiles that make it all worthwhile.


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