Monday morning. 7 am. I had already been up for an hour enjoying the only 60 minutes of my day that are entirely quiet, entirely alone, entirely mine. The previous night had been fraught with restlessness as we found ourselves awake and cleaning up toddler vomit.
As the clock turned from six-fifty-nine to seven-oh-oh, I came back to bed, sat on it, and looked at my husband.
“What’s the plan?”
Cameron had just been sick not three hours before hand. Despite the fact that we thought he was taking a turn for the better on Sunday evening, I was unwilling to send him back to daycare after just having been sick so recently. After some back and forth, discussing days off and who had any left, my husband and I came to the conclusion that it would be best for me to stay home with Cameron that day.
We all stumbled groggily from our bedrooms which had not seen nearly enough action the previous night – or, maybe, had seen too much, depending on your perspective – and started to blindly spoon cereal into mouths caught open in yawns.
“I bet you’re looking forward to a quiet day at home with Cameron.” My husband had decided that The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That wasn’t nearly enough mental stimulation for such a sleepy morning and had decided to start up a conversation with me.
“You know,” I decided to be honest, “when I was contemplating how this day would turn out, I honestly didn’t know if I would rather stay home with Cameron or go to work.”
What a statement, especially from someone who had such a hard time handing over he son to a daycare; from someone who, more than anything, would love to be a stay-at-home-Mom.
Although being at home with my son means staying in the PJs for most of the day and not rushing to and from daycare in the morning in the hopes of catching my ferry; although it means the possibility of a daytime nap and the opportunity to get a few things done around the house, it also means spending the entire day playing with cars or watching Cars or reading books or making lunch or convincing him to nap.
It really doesn’t sound all that bad.
And it isn’t. I love my son. I love spending time with him.
But I’m kind of failing at hanging out with him all alone. I find it exhausting.
Cameron’s getting to a stage where he is clingy. Maybe he is noticing that Mommy finds it harder to play with him or pick him up. Maybe all of this talk of a “New Baby” is making Cameron feel like he needs to be the centre of our worlds. Or maybe, this is just a stage that 22 month-olds go through. But I can’t get anything done when it is just he and I. This kid wears me out.
When nap-time came, I was determined to crawl into my own bed and “nap-when-baby-naps”. But first I straightened up… just a little bit. And then the phone rang. And then my husband sent me a message asking me to do something. And then…
Well, then I made my way to the bedroom, pulled back the covers,
and heard my boy cry. Nap-time was over.
I went into his bedroom. He didn’t stop crying. I tried to pick him up. He didn’t want to be picked up. He just sat there. And cried. And there was nothing I could do. Finally, I picked him up. He wanted down. Then up. Then down. And he kept crying. Together, we went into the living room. He cried. I turned on Cars. He cried. And then, he fell to the floor, on his belly, kicking and crying.
There was nothing I could do.
I just sat in the chair and watched my little boy, feeling completely helpless, utterly overwhelmed.
How the heck am I going to do this in just three months with a newborn?
I know that a lot of this is because I am almost into my third trimester and I am finding it harder and harder to muster the energy that a two-year-old requires. I know that this is because I have fallen out of a routine that works for both myself and my son. I am now in “work” routine, and that works well because I am working. I know that after some frustrating and exhausting weeks, Cameron and the new baby and I will work out another routine that will work well for us while I’m at home.
I know it will get better. I know I will be able to do it. I know these feelings are normal. I know these things logically.
But I still can’t help feeling like I am failing at being Cameron’s Mom and utterly unequipped to be the mother of two children.
Do you ever question your parenting abilities? Did you feel like this when bringing a second child into your lives? How did you cope?