Important days

Yesterday morning at 2.30am I was awake. Maggie still hadn’t woken for a feed (sure 45 times for coughing fits while she still slept) but still asleep! Shit, don’t tell me she’s starting to work out this sleep thing? In any case, there I was…PING! Wide awake. I started thinking. Too much. About all the things. 

That niggle I had the night before about how I felt like I was losing connection with my friends because of Maggie and work became a REALLY big deal. I’d been dumped by my mates! They continued to catch up with each other without me because we were always sick and couldn’t come, or I had to work when Maggie slept, or I had to stay home because Maggie was sleeping. Whatever, I work from home and have a baby and so very rarely see anyone outside of Maggie, Rob and Frank during the day and to me at 2.37am, it meant that I had no friends.

This started me down a TOLD YOU SO BETH path. All of the things that told me to not have a baby all those many, many months ago at the start of my third baby journey came up again. The thoughts that I’d be left behind, that work would suffer, that friendships and freedom would be lost. That my worth, all the things I was good at would be insignificant now because all I really had to deal with was babies. All that old shit, up it came too.

And then the baby stuff. Why didn’t I express? Why was I still breastfeeding? It means that I can’t have a night away from Maggie or go out on a date with Rob and have some FREEDOM all because I was lazy. I had been back at work almost double the time Maggie had been alive with the other girls – dates, weekends away, FREEDOM FROM A BABY and yet this time I still am doing all the things that don’t allow me that freedom. Why?

So now I had NO friends, and no life, and no career and no success and a noose of a baby around my neck. Huh.

Maggie woke around 4 I think, I fed her and eventually got to sleep around 4.45am when she woke again with a dream? I think? Something that had her inconsolable that saw me barking at Rob to HELP WHY WON’T YOU WAKE UP AND DON’T GET ANGRY AT ME BECAUSE I’M PISSED OFF BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN LAMENTING MY LIFE SINCE 2.37am. We all got to sleep again around 5.30 going into one of those awful deep sleeps that you can’t rise from when the day has to begin.

Sleeping, such an exhausting business.

leunig-3am

The morning came and those 2.30am feelings were still there. I decided to bring them back out, let them have some time in the daylight and see if they were still bad. They were. No friends. No life. No me time. Just me and a baby and work. I really wallowed in them. In fact, I even let a hot tear fall down as I was making the bed. Worthless. Nothing to add to the world. Nothing to give for myself.

And then, when no one was really giving me any attention for my sadness, except me and my sad feelings I tried to spark up a bit. I got a text from a friend asking me to something, got another text from another friend saying we would catch up this Friday and she was looking forward to it. I got paid, and it was a good whack of invoices I had been waiting for since October. So let’s look at that: friends. Yep. Work. Yep. Huh.

It took me most of the morning to slap myself back into line. It took me a phone call to Nikki who ALWAYS talks me off the ledge and gives me wise mentoring advice about work and Motherhood the third time round after a big gap (seeing as she did it herself). It took me time on the verandah in the afternoon with my little friend Maggie watching her crawl and do ALL THESE THINGS to really shift it all out.

While I may not have written a book, created a new homewares line, or whatever it is I think I should be doing for the past 18 months, I have created this whole new person in our family. I’ve grown her in my body, I’ve delivered her, nurtured her. I’ve helped the family adjust to life as a group of 5. I’ve been a wife. I’ve kept a clean home. I’ve kept clean clothes on everyones back and cooked them meals. I’ve worked, still, every day and have contributed to our family income so that we can save and do wonderful things.

So many things that I do, that we do, that matter. That count.

It’s so easy when you are home with babies to listen to those voices of self doubt. Those ones that tell us that the only thing we are good for is stacking dishwashers to maximum efficiency and there’s little left after that. To look at others and wish we had something they had, because we are just stuck at home. Hell, the media will tell you that the highlight of your day is getting a good stain out of your husband’s clothes because apparently that’s all that matters now.

These home days. These little kid days. Those days that seemed so much longer with my other two that are now whizzing by.

Try not to listen to those voices. You, yes you. At home on the couch reading this under a breastfeeding baby. Or at the park as your kid toddles about. You matter. All the things you do matter. More than anything you think you might be missing out on, or should be doing. They might be long days, they might be frustrating and demanding, but they are very important days and they will be over all too soon.

I’ve been in these days before, and then out of them, and being in them again I know that those voices can still be loud, but we mustn’t pay them much attention. These are important days my friends, and what you do, I do, it matters. Things might fall to the wayside for a little while – friendships, careers, whatever it is, but they still matter. Adjust the expectations, and be.

IMG_0615

We’re all doing the best we can. Isn’t that what we always ask of our own kids? If only we could be as kind and patient and loving with ourselves.

Had a 2.37am visit from a whale lately?
What’s the best way you pull yourself out of your self loathing back into the sunlight?

Comments

  1. And now I’m sitting here, on the floor of my youngest sons bedroom (he’s 1.5yo) while he flicks through books and plays with things, and my 3yo finishes watching a movie (yep, it was an early one today!). Feeling ALL the feels! I’ve been a stay at home mum for over 3 years now, and can relate to all of this (except the work bit), and it’s so good to know I’m not alone. These are long and short and precious and challenging and special and mundane days indeed.

  2. I am currently in the same mood. I’m not stuck at home with a baby, quite the opposite. I’m a mum who has kids leaving the nest and two teens still at home but have their own lives now needing me less. When I went back to work my friendships suffered and even though it has been a while now, I am still feeling quite alone. I no longer work but my friends are now settled without me it seems except for a passing hello. I really want to move and start again. That is where I am.

  3. Take care of yourself Beth because you matter and all the important work you does matters. I suffered from PND after my daughter was born and the groundhog feeling was the worst but as you well know it does get better and ‘This too shall pass’ – albeit a little too quickly at times
    Much love
    W

  4. yes! These things pop up in my mind too. Although I think this third ( and last) time around I am seeing how fast time is going, so I’m mostly treasuring it. When I feel I’m missing out I remind myself that all those other things, the Drinks, dinners and weekends- they will all still be there in the not to distant future, I have a lifetime to do those things- the only thing I won’t have again is this little Bub and this time when my kids want as much time with me as they can

  5. This made me cry and is pulling me out of this as I type!!!

    This was me yesterday…. The big 30 next month but my 18 month old still breastfed Bub has serious seperation anxiety so cancelled my party as I can’t leave her overnight knowing how upset she will be! Sad about missing out and not feeling relevant but then guilty for wanting to leave her! Eghhhh!! Really needed this today x

    • My 30th party SUCKED if that’s any consolation. I had a 6 month old Daisy who cut her first tooth the day of the party. I invited both mine and Rob’s family for lunch except none of my family came and all Rob’s did and I had to do ALL the cooking. I got my first period back after having the baby and had a terrible headache. I was in a FOUL mood and fought with Rob. Great memories! You can have a re-do in 6 months time, or next year. Promise!

  6. Hugs Beth they are the tough hrs middle of the night waking.

    You don’t need to be at home with a little one to be questioning your purpose in the world.

    Lots of hugs
    C xoxo

  7. Cate Taylor says:

    Oh yes, the 2.30am voices. They are so loud at that time, they must be true right?
    The voices that say i’m doing it all wrong. I must do it better. I should feel guilty, and if I’m not, I better feel guilty for not feeling guilty. The stuff i can’t change. Stuff i should change.
    I spent the last 10 years at home with my children. No regrets. No guilt. We did it tough, i’m still not good at housework.
    Now i am back to work, casually. And enjoying it, despite not expecting to. Not interested in full time or even part time position. No guilt. No regrets.
    Except for occasionally at 2.30am.
    She’s worth it Beth. They’re all worth it ☺

  8. gosh Its like you read my mind at 2.30am! thankyou so very much I needed to read this. I only have the one baby (13 months) and I don’t think I was prepared for the feelings that you get- the frustration, the monotony of it all, loss of freedom, wondering what everyone else is doing, a bit of jealousy thrown in that everyone else is out doing things and you are missing out…. yada yada yada. It’s so very easy to get bogged down but I think i’ll keep referring back to this blog post to give me a bit of a pep talk x

  9. Why can’t we just leave ourselves alone? If anyone else talked to us like that we’d quite quickly take our bat and ball, go home and never talk to that person again. Take what you need from last nights episode and chuck the rest! You are awesome Beth – we all are!! Here’s hoping Maggie sleeps until 4 again – that’s a win right there x

  10. peta venus says:

    I am at the other end of motherhood. Two sons have just left home. I am left with a 21 year old severely disabled son who i have looked after since he was born. I gave up my teaching career when he was born and have been in the disability trenches ever since. Now that my other sons have left home i feel like my pretence at normal life has gone. I am left with just the disability part. Both sons have moved a long way from home so there wont be many visits. My friends from years ago have fallen by the wayside because I am constantly needing to care for my son.

    So I hear you Beth. You feel abandoned and alone. BUT you have a beautiful healthy baby and a great life. Be thankful and I know you are. Childhood years race by.

    • Oh wow, you must be doing it tough. I can’t think of anything to say that could even begin to make you feel better. I hope you can reach out to someone and find a way to make some precious time to be ‘you’.

      • Sharon – you said this beautifully. Peta Venus – just know you are being thought about.

        • I hope you’ve been getting my thoughts too Peta Venus – as warm, loving and uplifting as I can make them xxxx

    • Oh Peta! This just about broke my heart. Abandoned is not a good feeling at all. I hope you can get some support and time for yourself in amongst all your caring. I take my hat off to you, it’s a hard road but what an amazing caring, loving and supportive Mother you are. Thinking of you, I wish there was some way we could all help you out x

  11. Reannon says:

    2.30am is my nemesis time. It’s the time I lose my fucking mind. I think AAAALLLLL thoughts & every single one of them is unhelpful. And thank you Beth. Thank you for voicing thoughts I’ve had/have so many times over the last 18 months. Thoughts that I hate myself for having becaus how can I think those things when I have these kids I love so much? But the love for them doesn’t always drown out the thoughts of hatred I have for myself, the thoughts of doubt & worry & envy that come marching in at 2.30am ready to fuck me over when I’m vulnerable.
    I really hope one day you take the Babymac show on the road & get to Perth so I can have a chance to hug in you real life, to say thank you for being the friend I need & for saying things I need to hear xx

    • Oh sweet lady, you are so kind and SO hard on yourself. You are a wonderful Mum, a tired one, but a great one. Thanks for being here. I wish we could meet up too…one day my friend! x How about my BREAD?!!!

  12. I have 3am anxiety. I worry about MANY things…the future, the past you name it! I don’t have children but I lie awake thinking about turning 36 and that I wasn’t in the right relationship place for a child in the last 10yrs. Having now met someone lovely I don’t want to rush the relationship to make the marriage/baby thing happen as we enjoy our time and freedom to spend time together and I want to be surprised with what our relationship holds. Can’t win in my brain at 3am!!!
    Once the sun is up I feel tired but not so stressed and get on with the day.

    • Lovely Andrea! Don;t overthink the love thing…let it all BE. You know it will all work out…it will be the way it is meant to be x

  13. Lisa Mckenzie says:

    Well said Beth ,you do matter and you do have friends so keep those shit thoughts away!

  14. Well I had been breastfeeding my 9 month old Sophie up until last week and then I just decided I wanted some freedom and I was just over it really. I breastfed my first for one year and was pretty proud of myself however this time I just felt it was time to stop. But of course I felt guilty and woke up in the early hours of the morning stressing that I had made the wrong decision. And then mental case Heidi came out to say hi and I started bawling my eyes out as I discovered my boobs were still making milk a week later and I felt so bad! And I would never breast feed again!!!!!And my husband thinks I’ve lost the plot but ANYWAY babies are hard work and I’ve been neglecting my friends too, I think it goes with the territory and good friends understand. So my point is that yes we all need to be kind to ourselves because motherhood is hard work and looking after the house, kids, partners, working etc etc is tiring. Anyway must run as I’m going to get Botox for the first time ever as I look 100 years old from all the worry and guilt, ha ha.

  15. This resonated so much with me. Love the whale. I am there at 3 am more often than I care to admit. The other night I stupidly read an email from my agent about a rejection from a publisher. That was a dark hour. Don’t beat yourself up about not expressing. I can’t express without dire consequences so yes, I am chained to the babe for now but I know it will end and on that day I am booking into my favourite hotel for a night of solitary writing and consumption of more cheesecake thank I care to admit.

    • Good idea on the hotel Julie! I might take Rob along with me too – bring that on! Sorry to hear about your rejection…don’t read emails at night. I never do!

  16. Felicity says:

    Thank you.
    From a tired first time Mum who spent a couple of hours beating themselves up in the wee hours of this morning and questioning all that I am doing.
    Thank you – it is reassuring I am normal*

    *whatever that is

  17. Oh Bev … love your guts. I’m here on that ledge any time. xx

  18. Some of us ask a lot of ourselves and some are better at being easy going. I tend to the former. So I have 4 kids born over 11 years, now 22yo down to 11yo. I have done part time work, full time mum, 2 part time jobs, more me time, less me time., lots of variations. Never worked full time after I had kids as I know I would turn into a crazy person and I think when both parents do that kids often miss out on the time and energy from parents that they need. I know that’s un-pc but I really believe it. So I will never win the Nobel prize or make a lot of money but that’s ok with me and my partner. I suspect that if you are a person who asks a lot of themselves as you seem to be Beth that whatever path you had ended up on there would be 230am black clouds. You manage a lot because you ask a lot of yourself. Occasionally it all looks TOO MUCH!!! But if you drop something eg work, or not completing your family then you lose a part of yourself too.

  19. merilyn says:

    I think it’s the moon hun! too bright!
    monkey minds play tricks in the middle of the night!
    mags is winning with her sleeping well done!
    what a face she has! … soo knowing!
    hope tonight is better! love m:)X

  20. Lisa Aherne says:

    You could not look at the gorgeous little Maggie without knowing that your worth is huge!

  21. This was me most days after my third was born and I was watching everyone’s lives get easier and mine get harder. But like you say, it’s where you need to be right now. We’ll all still be here, and so will work, friends and a career, but baby Maggie won’t be little forever. Thinking of you

  22. I love this a lot. x

  23. Lauren @fairview_farmhouse says:

    I’m feeling this hard Beth and saving your post for my own 2.30am self doubts. Thank you for sharing xo

  24. Must be something in the air because I did the same thing this week. Bu
    Any slept past her usual wakeup and I lay wide awake for 4 hours! Getting really irrational anown. dj

  25. Your blog about the decision to have a third last year, about the child you see out of the corner of your eye but you weren’t sure you could do…… well that post clarified my thoughts perfectly and we now have a 3 month old. You make a difference to others in ways you can’t imagine.

    • Oh Bek that is the BEST! Congrats to you and your family. Hope it’s all going well. How good are those third babies? Magical I tell you!

  26. Rowena/VintageNobility says:

    Rode a similar wave of ‘self-pity’ on Tuesday!
    All the feels, the frustration and ‘woe is me/my life’ was steaming out of my ears for a moment!
    As I sweated it out and got on with the one armed picking up n cleaning routine of bits of stuff that they’ll (family) never notice or see – then I recalled my days of travelling an hour on public transport each morning to get to work, the days I would look at mums n bubs, watching and remembering ‘those’ days fondly, I was the woman on the train, smiling at babies and imagining going back to that beautiful stage of motherhood!
    The realisation is that it alway looks greener on the other side!
    Those long days standing and running about at work, running for my the tram in the city, cramming myself into a ridiculously packed train on Parliament Station and getting home to my (then) three kids – to have to try and do all the housework I left as I grabbed a piece of toast and scurried to the station that morning!
    So now that this beautiful surprise Ruby has been bestowed on us – I can quickly tell my stupid nastyniggling voice to shut up and bugger off!

    Real friends (I’ve learned) don’t give a rats about your laundry on the couch, or the dishes in the sink/on the kitchen table – they will be there to pick up again where you left off – even if it is once your baby starts kindergarten!

    Believe me – for as many mummas sitting on the floor at home, waving a toy at the baby, rewatching a Disney DVD for the eleventy-sixth time in a row, feeling these same feelings – so too equally – there are busy women earning good money, with plenty of time to catch up and have nights out with the girls looking at us ‘stay at home mummas’ wishing and wanting and secretly smiling a longing smile at our babies!

    The freedom days will someday return Beth – I promise you they will!
    xxx Row xxx

  27. You know what, Beth – you are AWESOME.
    I think EVERY person gets the 2:30am’s at some point. We can only do what we ca do. Don’t be tough on yourself. Turning newborns into babies and then children – it’s hard work, and then we have to adult on top of that, and we have to Mum, all whilst trying to be ourselves. It’s a tough gig. Day by day. xx Apparently it gets easier……. 🙂

  28. Oh Beth! You are amazing. It was like you were in my head. Thank you x

  29. Oh god this was me yesterday tired, headcold, trying to toilet train & wee/poo everywhere trying to keep on top of household things well u know keep the kids fed, washing, clean, bake a cake for hubbies birthday. Oh I told my feelings of self doubt to go away, when this happens I often try to get outside mix up the humdrum of routine a bit get out for a walk w the pram, a cafe, a library anything! I’m staying at home not working w one in prep & 2 here with me it’s hard to feel like what your doing matters but it does. That voice inside your head can be your own worst enemy be kind to yourself indeed xx

  30. I love your honesty and “look at me – I’m feeling shit just now” openness Beth.
    And Leunig’s whale says it so well. Leunig says everything about our place in the world so very well.
    I love your Maggie. She makes me smile every time!

  31. Oh Beth….. see …. we really were separated at birth, I am sure of it. I have been there, in fact I am only just on the other side (sorry!). Oh I have been there – in the third baby trenches where all of my friends with 2 kids are off and doing things WITHOUT a baby and I am in the trenches, up to my eyeballs in nappies, vomit, poo, highchairs, cots, strollers……. blah blah blah…. when I am in the trenches it feels like it will never end, but guess what – I AM OUT – it only took 4 years I think but I am through. So hang in there – you have been doing so well – and with all the bloody sickness you have had this year with everyone…. you will come out the other end and your friends will still be there ready to drink Prosecco. xxx

  32. Just revisiting this beautiful candid post having a bit of a tear

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