Motherhood is emotional.
The abundance of love for that little one; the amazement at how quickly they grow; the exhaustion of trying to keep up (and possibly the lack of good sleep); the fear and worry that something bad could happen and the determination to try to mitigate, foresee or prepare for any such eventuality. Need I also add the guilt when we get frustrated and lose our temper and the pressure of being the main carer for such a precious thing.
This is like no paying job I have ever heard of, seen or had. It makes no sense to "act professionally" because you are so emotionally involved, yet we need to moderate our emotions as the child will always pick that up first.
There is no gym that prepares you for the amount of shoulder, back and arm strength that is required to pick up, carry around, rock and play with a child; whom while you are thankful they get heavier each day, your body really starts to feel its age.
There is no change management tactic I know that works here. I've always prided myself on being adaptable and open to change. So it frustrates me that I keep expecting, or rather hoping, for things to work consistently. Perhaps my logic is, "Since I'm not doing anything different, things that worked before should continue to work." Rocking to sleep used to work, why won't it work now? Dummies were my fall back and now she won't take it! I have to keep reminding myself of my husband's words, "she's changing all the time, you can't expect the same things to work." It's true, I just wish my mind would keep up with that and find new solutions to ever changing situations and challenges.
And then there's Google. We all fall into the trap of googling anything and everything, and let's be honest, this started even before we became parents but probably peaked during pregnancy and the first 6 months of being a new parent. Add to that any well-intentioned advice from professionally qualified individuals and those who have been "industry tested" (friends, grandparents, other mothers, etc), parenting books and any other tidbits of information we glean from blogs, random conversations in childcare or playgroups etc and you've got a mind blowing amount of contradicting opinions. "Do what you are comfortable with" seems to come up quite often but you know what, when I have a screaming baby perhaps I need to change what I'm comfortable with in order to make a change.
That doubt is what gets me. When things are manageable, I cruise. But when they're not, I re-evaluate what I have read and reconsider my decisions and then worry that I haven't been making the right decisions to start off with, that I have started my child on some horrible practices and that the routine we had for the last 4 days are bad, and that when she is in childcare she will scream inconsolably because I haven't sleep trained her. Don't tell me to trust my instincts because that flies out the window when she is screaming and my ears and heart hurt from her cries, yet my mind refuses to back down from whatever routine I am trying to instil, and finally when she does fall asleep, I scold myself for making it so hard on both of us.
But at the end of the night when she's sleeping, I miss her and all I know is that we will be alright. Soon she will not need me as much as she does now, and I will miss that more than I can imagine.
I've said this before but I'll say it again: I have a huge amount of respect for stay home moms, more so now that I have had a taste of it. Even more respect for moms doing it alone and moms whose kids are not well. I keep you in my prayers.
To all moms, you are doing a great job, and it's okay to be frustrated or angry or confused or lost. Sometimes all you need is a listening ear and if you have someone to share the load, even better.
Partners, share the load, actively. Mothers don't have all the answers, we are also just figuring things out (at least I am).