It’s bringing back all kinds of memories. That feeling you get when you realize that this baby is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you are too. The decision to be a stay at home mom and full time student is not an easy one, especially when you are a 19 year old living at home single mom with very few mom friends, who has to re-make a life for herself.
This is my daughter. She’s a mother. And I’m still her mother.
I get home from work at 6 o’clock – I’ve missed my little guy for the past 8 hours, but have been busy enough to plow through the day. I walk in the door, look in Maggie’s eyes and I see the “I’m close to defeated” look. That’s the moment when I know I have to scoop him up, take him in the other room and give her some time to breathe. Inevitably she doesn’t want to be alone, having craved adult company during the day, and comes to find me. We snuggle in bed, we coo over how perfect he is and how lucky we are – and then he begins the scream, the head bob, and the arm sucking that only means it’s time to eat again.
And once again, she’s on the every-two-hour-nursing-duty – and no closer to reading those chapters of Civil War History. But Lil B has and will always come first.
And she comes first with me.
Did I expect to put my life on hold for her and the baby? You know I believe everything happens for a reason. I went back to work in a real office a year ago because I was bored being at home – stir crazy by the deafening quiet all the time with Maggie off at school. I needed that adult companionship that working from home didn’t give you. During this infant stage, I can’t imagine if I’d continued working at home. I’d never get anything done while the baby is on the newborn schedule of “try to figure me out if you can, I’ll change it up tomorrow”. Do I secretly wish I worked at home to spend more time with him? Every single day. But it’s not right for now.
And so I’m here when I’m here. I’m not sure how much good I can do her, but I’m here for whatever she needs. I can hold the baby for hours when he’s fussy and inconsolable. I can do the laundry, wash bottles, fix her dinner, listen to her. I can be at home in the evenings so she can go to the grocery store which is code for “get out of the house”. I can even take him for a few hours while she gets out for a manicure or enjoys some “me-time”.
Friends and family have good intentions, but relationships change when you have a new baby – it’s like a divorce situation. Everyone thinks you are fine unless you specifically ask for help. And they assume you will ask, but that Supermom complex sets in pretty early. And in the infant stage there is only so much one can do to help, or so much the new mom can trust them with. It’s all on mom.
That’s why I’m here. Because I am a mother. Because I’m her mother. Just like Lil B can and will count on her as the only constant in his life, she can count on me. Unconditionally.
Maggie is my hero. I’m just the lucky one that get’s to be her mom.