I went in for Winston's two month checkup a few weeks ago, scheduled with precision to allow me enough time to run through the Starbucks drive-thru after dropping London off at preschool and still arriving ten minutes early (a feat that never happens with two young kids and a chronically late husband). After the standard weight check (11'10 WHAT WHAT!!) and brief questions with the nurse, our pediatrician greeted me the way I imagine she greets old friends. She's warm and candid and actually remembers stuff about me and my kids. We complimented each other's hair (hers, darker and mine, shorter) and talked about our parents.
And then, she asked how I was doing. Not in a "postpartum depression checklist" sort-of way, but in a genuinely concerned way that is a rarity for me to hear as a new mom of two. I told her the truth - that I was OK - and quickly, guilt overtook me for not giving a canned response about how full my heart was with this new baby, so I added in that Winston was sleeping pretty well at night, so I had a lot to be thankful for. Her response was like a breath of fresh air for my weary mama soul: "just because you have a lot to be thankful for doesn't mean you have to be happy all the time."
Winston is a tough baby, I'll be the first one to tell you that. But being a mom is tough even when your baby is "easy". And being a mom to two is even tougher. Kudos to all of you who do this three or four times because I just don't think I'm cut out for that. Yet I know that I am blessed to be at home with my littles, while other mamas have to tear their hearts into pieces each morning at the daycare drop off. And as the sleepless nights with the newborn turn into early morning wake up calls with the toddler, and as they take turns crying (or sometimes, in unison, for a lovely little chorus of ear torture), and as the laundry and dishes continue to pile up... It's hard not to let my mind wander about whether it'd be easier to go back to work. To wonder if maybe I wasn't made to be a SAHM. To feel so guilty about not enjoying every little waking moment with these tiny terrorists.
I know in my heart (especially after I've had a cup of coffee) that I love staying home with these two and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But now, when things get really tough and I feel guilty for not fully appreciating the fact that I get to be a SAHM, I'm trying to remind myself of this:
Just because you know it's a blessing doesn't mean you always feel blessed by it.
And that's ok. And it's ok to want to throw in the towel or start drinking at 2 some days. It doesn't make me a bad mom; on the contrary, I think it makes me a better one, because it forces me to take a minute and breathe deep and not strangle anyone. A day where I don't strangle anyone? I call that a win.
So, for those of you who are struggling to be thankful for staying home with your kids - whether you're willing to admit it or not - it's ok. Tomorrow will be better and one of those little psychopaths will ask to cuddle with you on the couch, and you'll thank your lucky stars you get to spend your days looking after them.