Spoiler alert: no!
I can’t, in good conscious, recommend parenthood if your grip on reality is already tenuous. At least once a week I text my husband, “Motherhood is insane.” I have many theories on why this seems to get worse with each generation, mostly hinging on the Internet and social media and the ubiquitous nature of constantly seeing other parents in action, all the time, but only the pretty parts. My brain has decided it will literally never be satisfied no matter how I arrange the sizes of my life pie chart: baby, self, marriage, work, etc.
The first 16 weeks of baby’s life: Please sleep. Please take a nap. Please nap longer! Your brain needs good sleep to grow, baby. I need more than 40 minutes in which to cram sending emails/ showering /eating/ unloading the dishwasher/ paying that bill/ will I ever work out again? Insert here a lot of pleading with all known and perceived deities to just please help my baby get quality naps in.
The 17th week, when we implemented the Ferber Method and the kid now consistently naps more than an hour: I am a horrible person. I just got in a virtual work out AND showered AND had breakfast AND am starting work emails and he’s not awake!? He probably thinks I hate him. He doesn’t even need me anymore. He’s so cute– I wonder what he’s doing in there. Probably looking really adorable while he sleeps. I feel so guilty for enjoying this time without him. What kind of monster person wants their kid to sleep this long.
Truly, this is mental hell. Women in the 1950s couldn’t possibly have given this many shits, right?? I mean, I know a lot of not-that-well-adjusted people born in that era, so I think a cultural swing towards more involved parenting was warranted, but still. Something about pouring a mid-day martini while baby is safely alive in a playpen sounds very chic (or maybe they just needed something to help turn off their brains from the barrage of parenthood contradictions playing on a loop in their heads? IS THAT WHY THE SHOW IS CALLED MAD MEN?!)
I spend all day with my chunky dinosaur boo-by baby. When he’s awake, we’re playing or I’m feeding him or I’m shaking a toy in his face and trying to not feel terrible for also working on my phone with the other hand. The other day was just a long day. Baby wasn’t grumpy, it was just physically many hours on the clock until my husband got home from work. I knew I needed to leave the house, so I booked the last available in-studio Pure Barre class and kissed my loves good-bye. And halfway through my workout, I thought, “I miss him.” WHY. WHAT. You’re exhausting me, hormonal brain. He is safe at home with his father! It’s important for them to have alone time! You spent all day waiting for a break, and when you got one, you feel an insane pull to immediately return?!
Just… give in the insanity, Natalie. There’s no use fighting it. It is helpful to talk about it. You can text me when it happens, and I will say, “Yes, you are crazy. I’m crazy, too. But please don’t pour a martini at noon or I’m calling the cops.”