I am a 29 year old stay at home FTM with an 11 week old son. As I expressed in my introduction last week, we have good days and bad days. He is a very well mannered baby and I love spending time with him. I feel so lucky. While he was unplanned, he has given my life new meaning. But some days I feel like I'm doing everything wrong.
I have this terrible habit of "shoulding" myself. Sometimes it's shoulds about every day life: I should be cooking more meals/eating healthier, I should be doing more chores/keeping the house cleaner, I should be paying more attention to my pets, I should be reading or writing or bettering myself in a variety of ways, I should be exercising more and working on getting my body back, etc. etc. Other times it's shoulds about being a mom: I should be holding him every minute of the day and never putting him down to do a chore or take a break even if he's sleeping, I should be reading parenting books while I am constantly holding him, I should be taking him on more walks or singing to him more or reading to him more, I should be doing a better job of documenting his milestones or video taping him, etc. etc.
I keep trying to tell myself that I am doing amazing and it's all meant to be hard and nobody is perfect and he's only 11 weeks old. I tell myself that he's only a baby once and I can be fit and clean and organized for the rest of my life, but now is my time to be with him. But I feel like he's growing so fast and time is just flying by and every time I let him occupy himself with a toy so I can shower or put him in the bassinet to sleep so I can write in my journal I feel like I'm a bad mother and I'm missing out on opportunities for bonding or encouraging his development.
It's all so overwhelming and when I think about it (like right now), it drives me crazy and makes me sad. I'm sure this is all normal par for the course kind of stuff, but I thought it would be good to reach out. Has anyone else felt this way? How did you handle it? How do you find a balance without being filled with guilt and regret?
Hugs to you and it is good you are reaching out for support!
Thank you tracyamber and FarmerMomma. I kinda figured these things were normal, but it just helps to hear from other moms instead of writing them in my journal and silently reassuring myself. I know I won't ever get all my chores done and that I can only do so much. And I do feel very strongly that this baby time is so limited (I definitely don't wish him into the next stage - I want to freeze time!) and I want to cherish it all I can. I want to believe that if I respond to baby's needs and be there as much as I can for him then all will be well, even if I can't do all the things I think I "should."
- I don't hold her enough
- I hold her too much and don't get things done
- the house is messy
- we eat a lot of takeout
- she's not on the breast (we had a rough start and I EPd for 10 weeks before transitioning to the breast)
- I'm not pumping enough milk and need to supplement her with formula
- I don't have the fanciest baby gear like many moms do
It was all consuming at times and really impacted my quality of life. I actually needed counselling to put things into perspective and let things go. These thoughts were helpful to pull into focus when I felt myself starting to spiral down:
- I'm doing the best I can and need to look after my own needs too. Sometimes that means baby crying for a minute in a safe spot while I use the toilet. I'm only human with a finite bladder.
- I'm responding to her every time she needs me even if I can't do it 100% ideally. She's never left to cry (apart from a minute while I pee) and always knows that I'm here when she needs me.
- I'm busting my butt trying to get breast milk into her. I'm new and learning and so is she. Sometimes this means that I don't get to hold her as much as I want but I'm doing what I believe is most beneficial for her.
- she's a BABY! She doesn't care what brand of stroller she's in or whether the house is tidy. If she's loved, fed, clean, warm, safe and happy then mission accomplished! She won't remember when/how I fell short of my ideal. As long as her needs are met, her infancy is a rousing success.
- It doesn't matter what others think. They don't have my life, my baby or my spouse. In fact the majority of time other people don't care because they are busy with their own problems. A lot of the time the judgement we perceive simply isn't really there - and if it is, it just doesn't matter.
Anyways that's been my experience. My second is 2 months old now and I'm much more confident. These days my motto is "there's only one of me" so I do all I can to meet both their needs and get through another day. Anything above that is gravy.