“Whaaaaa! Whaaaaa! Whaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!”
In my dream the sound was a siren. I was getting pulled over for speeding. In real life, the sound was my newborn and his siren cry was pulling me out of bed for a feeding.
I ricocheted down the dark hallway like a pinball. “Bump. Bang. Bump. Bang.” (Which could be lyrics to a Black Eyed Peas song.. but alas, they are not. They are the sound of a mom- literally bouncing off the walls.) A Great Salt Lake of tears streamed down my face. Not from the pain of ricocheting off walls… but from the pain of sheer exhaustion.
“You can do this.. you’ve done it before…this season of mothering doesn’t last long and you’ll miss it when it’s over. It’ll be ok.” I mumbled as I bounced. I considered slapping myself for being unsympathetic. Instead, I argued back:“I don’t care how long it lasts.. or if I’ll miss it eventually…I’m TIRED, NOW. I need sleep or I’ll lose it!” ( Just a tip… a sign that you’ve already lost it.. is when you are arguing with yourself and feel fully justified in slapping yourself. )
I took a deep breath before I picked up my little hunger siren.. I mean, my newborn. Together we headed for our nursing spot on the couch. I wondered if I’d be able to go back to sleep when we were finished… (ok- I desperately hoped we would.) I had to force my eyes to focus on the glowing read out on the stove top: 4:43 a.m. “I need to get up to get the other kids ready for school by 5:30.” While settling into the miraculous comfort of nursing…I struggled to do the time-math… “It takes 45 minutes to nurse…so I’ll have …UGH. 2 minutes to sleep. There is no point going back to bed.”
Which is the last thing I remember before being awakened by my middle schooler. “Mom, Am I going to school today?” He asked-in a tone that communicated he was hoping the answer would be: “No.”
I looked at the cable box...”Crap. We’re gonna be late.”
It was 7:15. “UGH.” SomehowI’d managed to not only not get enough sleep.. but also to also- over sleep. I didn’t even enjoy it.. that not quite two hours was more like passing out than sleeping.
“Mommyfail.” I thought, as I quietly shouted orders to the older boys to get ready for school. “Get your uniforms on, now! Don’t touch the TV. Get a pop-tart to eat in the car. You have to get ready NOW!” (Quietly shouted orders? I know I’m not the only mom with that skill.)
I changed the little one into a clean diaper and fresh jammies. Praying the whole time he’d stay asleep and wouldn’t need feeding again before I could get the boys to school. I set him down in his bouncer chair while I threw on a pair of “decent for public” aka: DFP sweats and attempted to drag a comb through my hair. I looked in the mirror. ” I look like a vampire” I thought, noticing how well the pallor of my exhausted face set off the dark circles under my eyes. I swiped at them with industrial strength concealer, then I put on bright lipstick. A sad attempt at drawing attention away from my eyes. I grabbed a hat to cover my hair and took a second look in the mirror. “Great, now I look like a vampire in drag.” I dug through my purse/diaper bag/tool box and medicine cabinet for my sunglasses. I put them on. ” I suppose looking like a celebrity vampire in drag is better than looking like an exhausted mommy, or not. “ I thought.
“Whaaaaa! Whaaaaa! Whaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!” Apparently, I hadn’t shouted the orders quite quiet enough.. The baby’s hunger alarm went off.
I decided to risk it… “Maybe he’ll go back to sleep in the car. If we don’t leave now It’ll be lunch by the time we make it in… and then, what’s the point of going at all?”
I wrangled everyone and their backpacks into the car.
The baby did not fall back to sleep.
“Mom, can’t you make him shut up?” Asked a child from the backseat. (in my haze I didn’t even know which one asked.) I shot back: “He’s hungry.. I can’t exactly throw a boob over my shoulder and let him eat while I drive. They aren’t detachable!.” I caught a glimpse of their faces in the mirror. Horror. I’d said “boob” to two pubescent boys. The mom of boys equivalent of yelling “fire” in a theater. “Great, Mommyfail number 2, and it isn’t even 8:00 a.m. I am on a roll. ” I thought.
He cried all the way to the school and cried on the way home until I pulled over and nursed him at the back of the closed CVS parking lot. When A police car pulled up next to mine.. .I wished I could become invisible. “Oh Lord.. don’t give me a ticket for indecent exposure… I don’t need that today, too. ” I half prayed and have silently tried to will into reality. He got out of his car and motioned for me to roll down the window.
“Just making sure everything is ok here.. ma’am.. I saw you pull off the road pretty quick…” Right about then, he noticed I wasn’t alone. His eyes darted away from my (obviously) nursing/audibly slurping, little bundle. He desperately tried not to see anything. “I’m OK.. the baby just needed to eat, NOW. “ I explained.. never so thankful in my life for the blanket that was covering all but the tiny toes….
The officer left in a blushed rush. The little guy finished nursing and I struggled to stay awake. By the time we made our way home, I was greeted by the answering machine’s flashing message light. I played it. “Mrs Solomon, your son is down in the office, he’s running a fever..” I didn’t bother playing the rest. “At least I already have a pediatrician appointment for this afternoon.” I thought. Trying to see a bright side that was hidden somewhere beneath the bags under my eyes.
Honestly I thought about calling him a cab. It would be easier, and cheaper than therapy. (Which I knew I was close to needing as I felt like my sanity was leaking out along with my breast milk…)
SAHM? I’m not sure when the stay at home part happens but it wasn’t that day…
Being a SAHM.. not exactly what I’d thought it would be like. I
(For the record… I was right.. that season did finally pass, both faster and slower than I ever thought possible. I do sometimes miss having a tiny one.. but not so much the baby-siren alarm clock:)
Questions for SAHM’s:
- How do you manage your mornings?
- What works?
- What doesn’t?
- Are they what you thought they’d be like.. or different? How so?