A Moment of Honesty

I try to keep this blog upbeat.  It is not in my nature to complain, especially not these days, when life is full of such wonderful blessings.  I also try not to delve too deeply into personal matters.  I appreciate bloggers that share everything from their birth story, to their baby’s embarrassing potty training moments…but there are some things that I find to be sacred, moments meant only for my family.  I also feel that my little guy is not choosing to have his life chronicled in detail for the the whole world to read…so I try to keep details concerning him to a minimum.

But (you knew there would be a ‘but’)…this has been a tough week, and I feel like exploring the “why’s” even though I might wander into personal territory.  Perhaps what I am feeling can be chocked up to a case of midwinter blues, or maybe, as my friend suggested, it is a case of the “four-month slump.” Either way, I don’t feel like myself.

I love every moment that I spend with my little man, and he is the happiest, most content baby around, but right now, the days feel very long and lonely.  We make it out for a walk every day, but I am growing so weary of bundling us both up from head to toe.  Often, by the time we are ready to go, I am exhausted. We have explored all of the indoor activities I can think of…from the botanical gardens, to the library…but those trips also require super-human efforts.  Bundle up the baby, pack the diaper bag, schedule it perfectly between naps and feedings…finally, we are in the car and on our way, and the little guy starts his fussing.  He hates the car (that picture above is his “car pout”)…he much prefers to be in his stroller, or Baby Bjorn.

And so…we spend the majority of our time at home together.  I love it when he is awake…we play and giggle, listen to music and dance.  But he spends so much time napping, and although I have so much to do, from house work to writing, I mainly just want to lay down and take a nap.  Or pop in a movie and knit.  That is all I feel like doing these days.  I am frustrated with my lack of motivation.

Perhaps I need to be more gentle with myself, and allow time off for movies and knitting, napping and slacking off.  Perhaps I need to give myself a break when dinner ends up being take-out instead of home cooking.  I don’t know.  I don’t know what the answer is, but I do feel a bit better just getting that off my chest. 

33 thoughts on “A Moment of Honesty

  1. huyoungheaven

    I hear ya! My little one is 5 months old (today) and while I couldn't ask for a better job than being a stay at home mom, it does get lonely. And it's so hard in the winter. But Spring is almost here! My daughter hates the car too (guess our kiddos didn't get the memo about babies sleeping in the car) so we are looking forward to lots more outdoors time soon. Hang in there!

    Reply
  2. A New England Life

    Being a mother of two teenage girls I can tell you that what you're both going through is completely normal. The days can be very mundane and it feels like Groundhog Day for months on end.

    The baby has to stay on schedule, you're exhausted (and by all means, sleep when you can!), the house is a mess, and there's so much to do but you don't have the energy to do it. Believe me, it will pass, though it will take time. When they're really little it can be very emotionally and physically taxing. My older daughter cried every time I took her in the car so I just stayed home. I thought things would never change, but they did.

    Spring and Summer will definitely be better for both of you!

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Winter is draining in general. Allow yourself to take the well deserved breaks during nap time. Your foot is always on the gas and will continue to be,(just at different speeds now). Spring is so close!!!

    Reply
  4. Tess J.

    I have a 15 year old and a 2 year old, both boys were the same age as yours in winter. Being stuck inside is so hard and lonely and even day trips can be isolating as well.
    Do you have any friends with kids, they don't even have to be the same age… just someone to hang out with while the kids “play”. I noticed when my older son was young that I wouldn't hang out with people who's kids were not the same age. This time around I find it doesn't matter because an older child may have something to teach my little guy and a younger baby can be fun etc…
    We have 2 indoor play areas that just opened and it's a good way to meet moms. Maybe walk with another mom instead of going out alone? Try not to isolate yourself, it just makes it worse. Even if you feel like curling up in a knitted ball of alpaca 🙂
    I am giving you advice but I feel the same way you do 🙂 Wait until nextt winter until you have a toddler 🙂 I am already planning a getaway!

    Reply
  5. Aura

    Spring is almost here, and with it will come new energy and inspiration. Hang tight, just a few more weeks until we will all feel the sunshine on our shoulders and feel alive, again.

    Reply
  6. Michele

    I think the answers in your last par. It is a season. so been there and its hard. You kind of have all this time in one way but cant do all the things you wish to and so tired and sleep deprived. Bad weather doesnt help either – easy to get a major case of the SADS. I would say little outings when you feel up to it. And lots of movies (happy ones) and rest and knitting in the sleeptimes. Write a list of things you DO love doing even small things like a special cup of tea out of a nice pot and fancy china cup, or using a nice hand cream or a foot soak and maybe add those to your movie/knit times to mix things up a little. Use your slow cooker so have a meal ready at night and get friends and family to help fill the freezer with meals but nothing at all wrong with takeaway on those nights where you need it. You are right it is all about being kind to yourself. If still feeling down/flat after a while or after improvement in weather then it may be heading into PND territory and I am all for getting this checked out and sorted rather than denial or plodding along hoping it will get better by itself. There is no point being down and out and miserable. Life is too precious and baby years too short. Altough as someone once said to me THE DAYS ARE LONG BUT THE YEARS ARE SHORT.

    Oh and one more afterthought – do you have any other adult company during the day? Sometimes a bit of social interaction with another mum (you can take turns going to each others house or meet up somewhere easy and central) can perk you up even if oyu dont feel like it

    Oh an done more idea – do you have an iPod – nice music or download audiobooks (I use Audible) to keep the grey matter churning is a good idea too (although I have to say most of my audiobooks are not too meaty I find too hard to follow plot when stopping and starting so tend to use easy to read books on iPod to listen too). Hang in there – there is always sunshine after rain

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Do be gentle with yourself. Before you know it he'll be down to one nap a day and scheduling of things will be much easier. And I'm sure the car thing is a phase. My 22 month old has times had periods he'd hate the car then be fine with it. I try to remember everything changes so fast with little ones and not get caught up in worrying about things because it will all change before I find a solution anyways. Best wishes for some warm sunshine!

    Reply
  8. Gaby

    I don't have a baby, but I really enjoyed reading this. You're such a wonderful writer. I don't know what the answer is either, but I do think that winter can tend to make everyday problems tougher. I know that now that I live in Australia, it's easier for me to be spontaneous and spend lots of time outdoors. SO I feel like things will get easier for you once spring arrives. x

    Reply
  9. kim

    Life with a baby can be onerous at times, even if said babe is sweet & easy-going. Just wanted to second those above who say what you're feeling is normal (sometimes it helps to know you're not the only one!).
    Also, it's probably what will be a short-lived funk, but if you don't start feeling better (or you start feeling worse), think about talking to someone about postpartum depression. We have a support group in my town that's invaluable. As someone who didn't realize what I was experiencing until after I recovered, I wish someone had suggested that to me.
    Keeping you in my thoughts. Better days are ahead.

    Reply
  10. Živilė

    I would definitely let myself some lazy time with movie, or napping or whatever else that feels nice 🙂 Be gentle to yourself and enjoy these quite moments 🙂

    Reply
  11. JoAnne

    Cut yourself some slack for a little bit; this has been a hard, hard, winter. I'm just in Mystic so I know what it's been like for you, weather-wise. You're also dealing with physical, chemical changes in your body which affect your mood, and you're TIRED…having a baby, taking care of a months-old infant? Those are consuming responsibilities. Make the effort to get out, but when you don't…if you feel like sitting and knitting for a naptime or two, or you feel like napping yourself? Do it. It won't last forever. Also – what about someone keeping him for an hour or two a week, so that you can do something for yourself – a class, a manicure, some shopping, some people watching, a walk alone. Anything that floats your boat, really.

    Reply
  12. naturally nina

    Oh Christine. I'm so sorry to read this. As a non-mom, all I can say is you're a beautiful writer, thanks for being so honest and candid, and can I come over again, so we can hang out SOON? 🙂 P.S. I'm all for just watching movies and knitting too. Sounds perfect to me.

    Reply
  13. Megan

    Christine,
    I have battled these same emotions since the beginning. All the other Mom's I've met have the same issues too. You are not alone!!! My motivation has been GONE for almost 2 years now, it is a full time job to care for a little one. To do anything else makes it feel like working 2 or 3 other jobs on top of it all. I like the idea of being gentle with yourself in this role. It is tiring and exhausting as rewarding as it can be. It is MORE work than a full-time job. I've found that it helps to plan less projects and goals. I used to do a lot with my time and now I realize that it can take a long time to just do ONE thing. Once you get used to that idea, you can keep up your motivation in remembering it is just one thing. If you slowly chip away here and there, over time, the goal is completed. But you don't have to cram it into all your free hours. You need a break and rest each day! I like to spend about a half hour in the day doing a personal task and the rest of the time that I have free is spent relaxing, resting, enjoying, chores, etc. My other piece of advice (especially in this nasty weather) is to try and join a baby class with other mothers in it who you can relate with. It's a very isolating occupation and gets lonely. I joined our local Gymboree so that I could have a place to go where other mothers would be and feel like they understand me. I connected with a few and we get together once or twice per week for little “play dates.” (Time for us to sit and talk and laugh and share challenges/concerns with) As the kids grow, they start to play and notice each other. This is also a nice way to find someone to watch your child for an hour so you can run to an appointment and such. I had heard this advice early on but found it so cliche. I eventually signed up for a Kindermusic class when P. was 9 months old and she LOVED crawling around and seeing the other kids and I enjoyed being able to laugh with other moms about the same stuff. I later went on to join Gymboree and then tried some other little classes here and there if I thought P would like them. It's a way to get you out, be a social creature, and get out of your own head/thoughts for a while. It worked wonders for us, which is why I'm sharing with you. Sorry about the long post, it's a topic I'm passionate about! 🙂 Many hugs; know that you are finding your way along and doing great!!!!

    Reply
  14. Heaven

    Oh, Momma, what you are feeling is very normal. Those first few months with a new baby are exciting. I used to think of those weeks as a golden period where everything is precious and new and (for most of us) a big, big dream has come true. We float around on that for a long time.

    But then, things do become a chore. Oh, not the baby, itself, but all the work that a wee one requires – the nitty gritty. The diapers, the laundry, etc. And, in your case, the extra steps involved in getting out of the house in this weather make staying home and vegging oh, so tempting. I understand. I have 7 boys, and the ones born in the spring were, by far, the ones I struggled least with as far as “the slump” goes.

    You could be having a touch of PPD (it doesn't always start immediately after the baby is born. Your hormones are fluctuating a LOT). If your feelings or lack of motivation really bother you, visit your OBGYN to talk about them.

    February and March are tough months, anyway. We are entering the phase of winter where the cold and snow (or mud) have lost their fun factor. I also have days (and weeks) where I just don't feel like leaving the house. I allow it! I know it's a passing phase.

    The days are growing longer, and soon leaving the house will require nothing more than a little sweater and a cute hat. You'll want to be outside all the time then, so enjoy some movies and knitting now. 'Tis the season for it.

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    love you chickie.
    i think there is an entire world of mommas who are right there with you…
    be gentle..

    jen gray

    Reply
  16. Alli

    i definitely went through this with my first one.. it is very very normal.. you almost feel like you have to be doing something evrey day but just relax and enjoy it all. you will get over this slump!!
    xo

    Reply
  17. kyla

    I am right there with you. I want to get something done but my motivation and actual energy level are not matching up with the things I'd like to get done. It doesn't help that I has been sub-zero and snowing ;{

    So hang in there. Spring will be here before you know it and the little mister will be able to go outside to his little hearts content!!;} He really is the cuteset little man!!! Thank you for sharing.

    xo.kyla

    Reply
  18. little fire

    i have been exactly where you are…having a baby can be so very draining and lonely. as moms we are always 'on,' and it's hard to take time for ourselves, isn't it? but we have to! (i'm learning that doing so is better for EVERY one involved). and i always feel better after talking about it, too. let's talk anytime. xo

    Reply
  19. Snap

    Be gentle to yourself. there is absolutely nothing wrong with watching a movies and knitting. winter will soon be over and the sun will shine again. give yourself a great big hug. you are doing just fine.

    Reply
  20. Emily

    I love your honestly. I remember feeling the same way when my daughter was that age. I realize that is not much help to you, but maybe you can find some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. AND it is a stage that passes.

    Reply
  21. about a fox

    be so gentle and kind to yourself– BIG letting go– sink into the couch, the bed, the floor and put pretty things around you and just be.

    you are so awesome — I don't know how you could have a baby AND be in New England winter and feel otherwise– seriously– who could? xoxoxoxo, e

    Reply
  22. Lindsay

    I moved to SLC, Utah from Coastal Maine nearly four years ago, and this time of year feels a touch easier than it did then. Then I had my first son, who is turning 6 in May and a husband who worked at a boarding school (aka-his time was almost always spoken for). The long, cold and dark north eastern winters are not easy on a mama whose partner is not by your side each moment to share the load; and even if perhaps the long, dark and cold winters are hard on us all. I just wrote about my reluctance to settle into the darkness that creeps into our lives; about how I always fought/fight it when it starts coming my way. I am trying to adjust this practice, to allow myself the space and time to be with my darkness, and accept the balance which it brings, instead of seeing it as imbalance or something wrong. It has been helping tremendously, and so has that glass of wine, or good book, and sounds like maybe a movie and knitting would, too!

    Reply
  23. deetles

    Your post is personal and I understand your hesitation to share beyond certain boundaries, but I'm glad you did! I appreciate your honesty. I have thought about what you wrote several times in the last day since I read it. It's comforting to hear that someone else out there goes through “slumps”. I don't have a baby, but recently my stepson (13 years old) has come to live with us. It's been a bitter sweet transition to have him full-time. Of course I'm happy he's here and that my husband finally gets more time with his son, but the circumstances that brought about the change were rough, my stepson is dealing with a host of issues that stem from things being pretty bad at his bio-mom's house. Change in general is exhausting, but feeling like I've become a “mother” for the first time, but to a 13 year old rather than a baby and without any time off of work to adjust has been hard. My husband and I decided right away that we should all go to counselling right away, and that has helped keep all three of us open and honest about how we're doing and feeling with this transition. I can imagine that having a baby – though it is a happy and wonderful thing – is also a source of stress because it is a life transition. Change is tough, but being honest about how you feel and being willing to admit that you have mixed emotions is great. My best wishes to you!

    Reply
  24. Holly

    Thanks for the reminder for all of us to be a bit “gentle” with ourselves. Being a mom (and a working mom!) is tough. Spring is on the horizon…and hopefully it will bring some renewed energy (please, please, please!).

    BTW – Four months isn't really that long to adjust to such a HUUUuuuUUUGE life change. It takes some time to settle in.

    Reply
  25. gypsysticks

    hang in there. there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting and Needing a nap — remember your body is using Lots of energy to make milk, go without sleep at night, take care of baby and home, etc.
    spring is around the corner, just take it easy on yourself and those winter-tired-of-bundling-up blues will soon go away.
    🙂
    blessings,
    Athena

    Reply
  26. Stephanie

    My kids are 10, 21 and 24 AND I feel ike you do. It's winter. I saw that our local grocery store has their garden center framed and ready to go and I was SO excited! I think Spring will be much better for all of us who are sick and tired of being cooped up or bundling up to even get fresh air for five minutes. Hang in there. The sun WILL come out!!

    Reply
  27. becca ann

    I don't yet have babies, but I can see how hard it would be. I think especially for those of us who always like to be keeping busy, creating something, exploring something, processing something else…it's hard to be still in one singular place. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job and I truly do think that spring will help. When I've felt exhausted and in a bit of a slump I just try and accomplish one extra thing per day. It's small, but you'll find the feeling amazing when at the end of the week you think back and say wow I did seven things that weren't really part of hte day's flow. Your writing is lovely and your baby beautiful.

    Reply
  28. Malena

    I can only imagine how tough it is to work from home and care for a baby all day by yourself. I can barely just handle my job sometimes! Be easy on yourself. Do things that make you happy and peaceful. And if you ever want to take a little break to Chicago let me know! 🙂 Lil' Vijay is sooo cute. His “car pout” is ADORABLE!

    Reply
  29. Luke and Hailie Girl

    Listen to yourself.. I have found myself being very critical when I just am not feeling that motivated or creative and then I remind myself that my body and brain are trying to tell me that I need to just take that time to recharge.. dont be so hard on yourself.. I hate that we make ourselves feel that way.. relax and knit or watch that movie..

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    I'm not a Mom as yet, but I've been a reader of your blog since inception. And while I've noticed you've started posting less and less about your little one, whenever you do I so enjoy seeing and hearing about your experiences with him. I store the information mentally for the day when I become a mother also (I learnt so much from that post of yours on cloth diapers as opposed to disposables, something I've never given any thought to before as a non-mother). I understand and share your desire to keep some things private, but issues such as this, and other things you've shared before help me (and I'm sure other readers as well) so much in understanding what it means and how to be a good mother. I urge you not to keep everything to yourself, there are readers out there who truly learn from you and appreciate it. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  31. sarah ahearn bellemare

    c-
    i am right there with you! it's SO hard balancing everything!!! you are doing great, hang in there… right around 6 months things started getting SO much easier for me. i know that we're all different, but it seems that around 6 months there was a shift- better sleeping, better schedules and best of all less fussing and crying… really! i promise it will get better very very soon.

    i totally hear you on the not wanting to share too much personal stuff, but i'm proud of you for doing so. i actually just did the same over on my blog, because otherwise i just stop blogging- another thing i just don't have the energy for!
    there's a lot of great advice here too. sweet readers!

    we are so very lucky to be able to stay at home AND work, but ohmygod it's incredibly hard to juggle it all. i know just how you feel. really. some days my husband comes home and asks what i've done (to be supportive and interested in my non-baby work) and i just say NOTHING! i've feed ada, changed her, done the laundry, and gotten her to sleep… then it all repeats! ugh. it's frustrating! BUT then there are the days when you do feel like superwoman and get a lot done… you will find your way, but you have to be very very gentle with yourself. we just can't do things the way we used to… it's a hard lesson to learn.

    i'm going to send you an email too… .i could go on and on. just know you are not alone, i definitely had the bad days like you describe and still do here and there, but soon enough things will get easier!!! i promise.
    how about we plan a date where we can come down for the day and visit!? we're totally up for that! two red frogs! : )
    sending lots of love! xo *s

    Reply
  32. erin

    glad to see you've gotten lots of support here, christine. i'm always a proponent of being kind to yourself. willing on spring in hopes of easier outings! xo.

    Reply

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