11 May

Just when I thought that I had gotten the hang of things.

It all started with my cat. He must have eaten something bad, because he had been vomiting all over the house. ALL over the house. I wanted to clean it, but I was holding a fussy baby. Then I changed her diaper. “Poop explosion” on the changing table. I changed her, and put her in the last clean diaper (we use cloth diapers, and the clean batch was drying). We sat down on the couch together and I was trying to comfort her as I cleared out our dvr. I watch a lot of DIY Network and HGTV. In the show I was watching, the designer was remodeling her mother’s kitchen. I turned into an emotional wreck as she began to talk about how her mother was the best person in the world. Then the final straw: My leg and part of my stomach began to feel warm. I touched it with my hand, it was wet. I didn’t snap one of the leg snaps on the diaper, and my daughter’s pee was leaking all over me.

Cue sobbing.

I broke down. My sobs were synchronized with my baby’s cries. All of these little things together were too much for me to handle. I couldn’t change her into another diaper, so she had to sit on me (wet). The changing table was full of poop. Cat vomit was everywhere. I was emotional. I had to call my cousin for help. She is really more than a cousin. She is basically my sister and my best friend, the godmother of my three-month-old. She rushed over. All I needed was for her to hold the baby. Then I could get another diaper, clean the changing table, change my clothes, etc.

I thought that after three months I had gotten the hang of this “mom” thing enough to not break down like that. Not that I’m an expert or anything. I’m far from that and I’ll be the first to admit it. I just didn’t expect to get so emotional. I’ve had days that were even more overwhelming than this one, but I didn’t break down. I think that’s what frustrated me. I felt like a bad mom, because if these minor things caused me to stop functioning, how would I react with serious issues? I feel like I’m supposed to be calm and strong (the typical “mom stereotype”), but I definitely wasn’t feeling that way when I was crying in front of my baby (who was also crying). I’m supposed to be able to comfort her, but instead I needed comforting. I’m fine, now. I guess everyone has to break down, sometimes. It is probably completely normal. I say “after three whole months”, but other moms out there would probably rephrase it as “only three short months.” It is still early. Probably too early to feel like a failure. I think should wait to feel like a failure until she needs therapy. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t screwed her up, yet. I’m also sure that she doesn’t think any less of me for crying. She’s only three months old.

Why did I write about this today? Because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want anyone to think that I don’t know what I’m doing, or to think that I’m a bad mom for reacting that way. If I wouldn’t have posted this, I would have been just like the others, who pretend that they are always perfect all of the time. I am human. I am not perfect. I’m not too good to admit that I’m not perfect. Maybe another new mom who had a similar experience will read this and feel better, knowing that she isn’t alone in her imperfection.

The cat is better now, by the way.

7 Responses to “Breakdown”

  1. NannaB May 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    Kimmy – you are not a failure!!! You just had one of those days! I get them and my youngest is almost 17!! You are entitled to be human and that means having emotions. Give yourself a break and next time call me so we can cry together!!! Love you always, Nannie

  2. Deborah the Closet Monster May 12, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    I agree that it’s so much better to admit imperfections than to continue feeling bound to strive toward (unattainable) perfection. I was all-around happier after an ex asked me why I always had to try to provide an excuse for everything. His take was that we all mess up sometimes–so why not just be forthright about it and move on? It took a little while to really feel it, but I’m glad I hit that point eventually.

    Still, as with most things, it’s easier some days than others!

    I guess everyone has to break down, sometimes. It is probably completely normal. I say “after three whole months”, but other moms out there would probably rephrase it as “only three short months.”
    You beat me to it.

    You’re doing a fine job, and an occasional emotional day has no bearing whatsoever on how you’re actually doing. Some days are good, some days are bad . . . and sometimes it’s impossible to tell what’s the root of the distinction!

  3. Heather May 12, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    Kimmy, you are doing a great job. I love reading out your adventures in motherhood. While I have yet to experience motherhood, everyone has days like that, even those of us without children.

  4. Dawn Burbridge May 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Kimmy, this website is awesome! I know you are going to be a GREAT mom!

  5. Robyn May 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Reading this type of things makes me feel better about being a mother later on. Women (and men, too, I suppose) seem to think it’s better to put on the show of, “Oh.. this parenting thing? It’s so natural!” But in reality, when things go wrong, people freak out because they think, “OMG I’M NOT NORMAL I SUCK AT THIS!”

    So. I’ll file this away in my memory and when I have a bad day like this one day when I have a little munchin of my own–I won’t feel so bad, and I won’t feel like a failure because I know that it has happened to someone else.

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