I once called my son “Baby Houdini” because he could break out of any swaddle we put him in. It turns out, we might have this Houdini trait in common as I’ve been known to disappear into thin air from time to time. Before baby, that might’ve meant cancelling weekend plans so I could chill in my underwear, eat ice cream, and watch Netflix instead of a night out drinking. I often had these moments of wanting to disappear from life, not indefinitely, but just get away and go off the grid, ignore my cell phone notifications, emails, calls, social media , etc. This was all mostly caused by feeling like I needed a vacation that would never come. That vacation never did come, but baby did.
Being a new mom is definitely not that vacation I was asking for, but it has made me step off the grid quite a bit. Now this hibernation is almost forced on me. It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written a post or been active on social media (I miss you guys!) But, trust me, it’s been for good reason. Sometimes life hands you a curious crawling baby and says “Here, you do something with this.”
What I mean is this: this first year of motherhood is like an extreme form of hazing. You don’t know what’s coming no matter how many moms that have come before you tell you about this phase or that milestone. And when you finally experience it, you are in no way prepared for what it actually feels like to go through it. And then when it’s over, you breathe a sigh of relief, but quickly realize that there’s more to come. And in the process, your social life is completely and utterly turned upside down.
Not that this doesn’t continue basically until your child is an adult, but at least after a year of doing it, your skin is thicker and you have come to terms that parenthood is one of those things that you really do have to apply the old adage, “fake it until you make it”. I think 1 year does the trick, or just about. After all, they say you can master a skill with 10,000 hours of practice. I’m just working on my first year badge, y’all.
1 year = 8760 hours
On top of my crawling baby situation (damn near walking, really), RJ is also going through a 9-month sleep regression. So naps don’t last as long as they used to and we are experiencing frequent waking during the night. Though he has some swelling in his gums from new teeth, I pin these night wakings on his excitement to practice his new skills. Think back to the night before your first day of school, an interview, or starting a new job, you are filled with anxiety and excitement and probably rehearsing all of your key selling points in your head. Those are nights we find ourselves waking up frequently, or just not able to sleep. Babies experience it too. The main thing to realize during these times is that:
a.) It will pass, like all of these fleeting baby stages do.
b. You don’t want to create bad sleep habits for a couple weeks of sleeping setbacks so try night to entertain their brief spurts of energy. Instead try to get them back to sleep quickly.After all, your baby’s brain is still developing rapidly during their sleeping hours.
**At 9 months, babies still need about 4 hours of sleep each day.
Luckily, RJ usually falls back to sleep rather quickly, forgetting why he woke up in the first place.
But just because baby can get back to sleep in the blink of an eye, doesn’t mean Mama can. Which brings me back to this concept of disappearing. Yes, disappearing in the literal sense of the word, I haven’t seen many of my friends recently, but also figuratively. I needed to take a step back from writing and social media interaction, even disappearing from the things that have brought me much peace on my motherhood journey. The Man was out of town for a couple of weeks and I felt a little in over my head, to be quite honest. I was admittedly struggling with only 2 hands (and 10 feet, baby + 2 dogs).
With that General exhaustion/feeling of being completely overwhelmed came a bit of writer’s block and lack of inspiration. Sure, motherhood is beautiful and ugly all at once, but it’s not always exciting when you’re going through the rough patches. Sometimes you just need to get to the other side to understand how “fun” it was.
The Man is back now and I finally feel like I’m coming up for a breath of air. Today, I even got a chance to watch “The Get Down” on Netflix and paint my nails!
Truthfully though, This Mama’s got some exciting things brewing (stay tuned!) and just needed a couple weeks to sort out my affairs. The disappearing act is over for me, for now. But mamas remember that it’s ok to duck out for a bit. It’s ok to hit the pause button. I think we are expected to do so much as women and mothers that we often forget that we need to care for ourselves physically and mentally in order to take care of our families and friends. Just be sure to come back, and say hi while you’re at it.