Today, my weather app is predicting 7 consecutive days of beautiful, sunny weather. During this same time last year, we had weeks of snow and ice. The school district had to add a week to the end of the school year to make up for the days they canceled due to inclement weather. I had a lot of unplanned days at home with all of my kids. And during this time, we were all adjusting to life with a new baby.
“How are you doing?” people would ask.
“Fine,” I would reply. “The baby is sleeping better. The older kids are adjusting.”
But really what I wanted to say was this:
I’m barely hanging on. Even though the baby is sleeping slightly better, I’m still exhausted. The older kids are fine, but they are very demanding. There simply isn’t enough of me to go around. I wear a baby carrier half the day and never get a chance to sit down. The children all leave a path of destruction in their wake and I’m too tired to make them clean it up or clean it up myself. I desperately want someone to make me dinner, clean my house, or watch my kids for me…but people think I’ve got the hang of it.
I don’t. I hardly make it to lunchtime without wanting to cry. I’m resentful of my husband, who gets to sleep through the night and go to work every day. While he feels bad that I’m housebound with three kids, he also needs to be at work and can’t do much to help me during the day. I really need a break, or at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep.
A year ago, I desperately wanted someone to see through my “fine.” New babies are beautiful and special, and even now, a part of me misses that stage. But that stage can also be incredibly difficult. Everyone assumed I knew what I was doing and didn’t need help. They were partially correct; I did know what I was doing. I felt much more confident as a mother. But if I could go back one year, I would ask the people in my life for help. I wasn’t fine, and I didn’t need to pretend I was.