We are on Week 3 of Mother Rose Best at In the Powder Room. There’s plenty of time to catch up! How can you resist reading articles that get tagged with things like “Cankles,” “Feet,” “Halitosis,” and “Penis?” That is some fine journalism right there and I could not be more proud.
I’ll be posting up a more in-depth recap of ep. 3 as soon as I’m done papering my neighborhood with this billboard. It’s for the kids!
It’s not a secret. I have said it before and I’ll say it many more times. Maternity leave sucked. Or rather, I sucked at maternity leave. There was a time when I imagined my July-born baby and I would be all chilling at the neighborhood pool and lunching with my unemployed friends. Yeah, umm, no. (But hindsight is 20/20 so learn from my mistakes.)
Looking back I can’t really say what was so awful. I just didn’t feel maternal. I had no idea how to care for my baby and no confidence I would ever figure it out. When he cried I immediately panicked. Surely this was it. He was broken. He will cry for eternity. He will become an urban legend. Hundreds of years from now people will retell the story of the baby who never stopped crying because his mom was nervous. There is nothing I will ever do to soothe this poor child. I spent a large part of my day sending Bart passive-agressive texts because I was certain he was having a way easier time functioning at work on 2 and half hours of sleep.
Quinn was a good baby. (Still is.) But add that to the list of things I was clueless about. What I did know with 100% certainty was I couldn’t hack being a stay-at-home parent. I have no idea how they do it and am constantly in awe. I counted the days until I could go back to work. My day job was way easier than this.
And then the sleep training kicked in and Quinn and I started to settle into routine. I gained a bit of confidence. I even met a friend for lunch once. And wouldn’t you know it? Right when I was really finding my groove it was time to return to work.
I remember bursting into tears as we were leaving the house.
“I don’t want to leave him!” I shouted in our driveway. “He should be with me!”
Wiping the tears off my face and blowing my nose, we walked into the daycare we laboriously researched and into the arms of Miss Brenda– Quinn’s teacher. (Miss Brenda has seen her fair share of moms on their first day back at work.) His classroom was spacious and serene. I half expected to see women in white terrycloth bathrobes enjoying a foot soak instead of Mamaroo swings and sensory tables.
I remember Miss Brenda’s smile and how she reached her arms out for Quinn. His little body dressed in the cardigan (with elbow patches!) and bow tie adorned onsie nestled right into the crook of her arm.
Yeah, okay, I thought. This feels right. This is where he’s meant to be. And I remember having a great first day back at work.
Quinn’s been in daycare since he was three months old. I know it can be a contentious subject but for us, it’s a parenting win. That’s all just a long, roundtable way to let you know the newest installment of my Mom in the Middle column is up. I bet you can’t guess what it’s about.
Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s a really dumb, obscure picture. But it’s all I could get to capture the moment. Tonight is Quinn’s first night sleeping in a toddler bed. We converted his crib this afternoon after much debate about his readiness. Of course we asked him if he wanted to ditch his crib and sleep in a bed.
“Would you like to have a big boy bed?” we asked.
“Really? You wouldn’t?”
“Yes! I would!”
So, okay. We’ll take that into consideration.
This past week he’s been getting up at the crack of dawn (because Daylight Savings is a childless witch) and yelling that he, “wants to come out!” When we finally stagger into his room we find him with at least one leg hanging over the side of his crib. There are only so many pillows I can stockpile on the floor beside his crib before you just bite the bullet.
I was all for the move because unlike toddlers, I love change. I was curious to see what would happen just like I was curious to be alone with newborn Quinn for a full day after my parents returned to NY and Bart went back to work. Curiosity almost killed the cat and by “cat” I mean “my sanity.” Also, the cat. But maybe this will be a better experience. Maybe it will be awful. Isn’t that just the crux of parenthood after all?
This afternoon, once the conversion was complete, Quinn was delighted with the change. He climbed into his new bed on his own and demanded covers and a pillow so he could sleep. Great sign! And then he jumped up, stepped out, walked past us into our room and shouted, “HI MOMMY! HI DADDY!” and then got back into his bed.
No need to knock. I want you to come in here with me. In the Powder Room is one of my most favorite sites. I love funny women. I love funny, sometimes inappropriate women. I love funny, sometimes inappropriate women who dish about funny, inappropriate things.
My friends recently had a baby and the new dad scolded me saying I didn’t appropriately warn them about how hard it was going to be. Umm, I beg to differ. If newborns could talk they’d all be suing me for slander. I have made it my mission to tell new parents exactly how shitty babies can be. (Literally, yes, but mostly figuratively.) Maybe I wasn’t harsh enough. Maybe I’m softening in my old age. Maybe my own, dear, awesome-sauce toddler is making me forget how dark those dark days were.
And that is exactly why I wrote this essay. So I would NEVER FORGET.
Read it and weep, parents-to-be. You’ve been warned.