We Might As Well Buckle In For The Ride
Most mornings, in order to feel somewhat human again, I zombie-walk to the kitchen and pour hot coffee directly into my open mouth. It’s actually really rare that I wake up feeling totally energized to take on the day.
But for some reason that I absolutely wasn’t going to question, the other day I woke up feeling like I could take on the world. Hell yes! I wasn’t going to spoil this feeling. I was gonna roll around in that carefree, optimistic glow for eternity! Or if not eternity, at least for the rest of the day. My baby and I had big plans. We were going to meet my husband downtown for lunch. I was excited to get out of the house. I wasn’t going to let the usual daily obstacles of taking care of a three month-old get in the way.
Well, my first obstacle came bright and early: my son spit up breast milk all over our bed. “One minor hiccup!” I thought. I swear to God I was singing as I took off the sheets. His precious, innocent smile plus my excitement meant I still felt motivated. He fell asleep and I even managed to practice a little yoga in the living room. . . super mom status right there!
I thought I could do anything, until I started creeping to the bathroom for a shower. As soon as I thought about getting clean, he woke up screaming his head off. OK, I thought. Obstacle two. No big deal. I went back and forth. . . Do I try to calm him down first? Could I shower before the crying turns into full on hysterics? My optimistic glow was becoming a little tired.
I’m not 100% positive that I fully rinsed all of the conditioner out of my hair. But I comforted myself that getting into the shower at all was a win. As I prepared to nurse him one more time before loading the car to go to lunch, I realized I was actually on track to get there EARLY. I was tired, but I felt pretty darn proud of myself!
I walked downstairs, smiling, upbeat—and froze when I saw it. Obstacle three.
My ever-so guilty pup sat on the couch staring down at the THREE piles of blech he vomited onto my middle cushion. Did I somehow miss the memo about today being throw-up day at my house? Is it possible that my dog and infant son planned this together?
I might have said a few words I definitely didn’t want my son to hear. My dog just looked at me like I was crazy. Honestly, I was beginning to wonder the same thing myself. But, I knew what the couch meant. The couch meant I was going to be late. Why I thought there was a chance I would be early to lunch, I had no idea. It sounds dumb to say it, especially because I’m usually late, but the idea of not being early devastated me.
I called my husband to tell him about the madness that was this morning. I was beginning to feel like I shouldn’t even drive downtown. He reassured me that it would be fine, but honestly, at this point, it felt like he was asking me to run a marathon.
There’s this scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall where Jason Segal is hanging onto a cliff while Mila Kunis is all, like “Jump into the ocean! It’s easy!” While he clings to the cliff, he sarcastically replies “Totally!” Well, I was Jason Segal. Leaving my house was the cliff.
Despite my fears, I decided to jump into the ocean (AKA the car) and make the drive to meet my husband for lunch. As we started to drive, my son started crying again. I realized obstacle four was going to be the grand finale and I would need to pull out all the stops.
I tried channeling my inner yoga teacher. Inhale, exhale, deep breath in, slow breath out. That will make the crying stop right? I have to laugh now as I think about how I must have looked at that moment…practicing my ujjayi breaths, singing “You are my sunshine” on repeat, ready to do just about anything to make him fall asleep. He was crying hysterically in the backseat and I was on the verge of tears myself.
The hopefulness of the morning was nowhere to be found.
We eventually made it to the restaurant and had a really nice lunch with dad. But on the way I realized that being a new mom is totally like riding a rollercoaster of emotions. Between the constant ups and downs, consistent lack of sleep, and having to adapt to any situation, it’s amazing we make it through the journey at all! We can either choose to not get in line or just let go and throw our arms up in the air. There’s really no other choice.
I’m slowly learning to embrace ALL parts of parenthood. And, sure, some days I barely have time to pee. But, this rollercoaster is my new normal, and I’m choosing to enjoy the ride.