This past week has been tissues, boogers, gunky eyes, and doctors’ appointments. Baby P and I have pink eye and respiratory issues. It sucks to be out of work and working from home because you are sick, but it’s even worse when you need to take care of someone else who is also sick. Exhaustion kicks in after a couple of days and you want to snuggle them to make them feel better but you don’t have the energy. As a parent, you pull all of the remaining energy you have to ensure that they are comfortable and are starting to feel better.
I’ve been feeling really emotional over the past week. It might have to do with baby P having more of a personality lately resulting in me missing her even more. She snuggles now and looks up at you with a sly smile because she is drooling milk all over your shirt. Today she was chewing on my leg in an attempt to help her aching teeth. It doesn’t hurt and I don’t believe she is going to learn to bite people based on gnawing on my leg at five months old (I could be raising a vampire, who knows). Right now, she is wailing from her bed because her little nubs of teeth are trying to break through. My amazing husband is giving her baby Tylenol to try to help her.
“I’ll wash your mouth out with soap” was a phrase that I heard quite often growing up. You could also get a pop on the mouth or the ass depending on what you said. This wasn’t talking back because no one wanted the belt but saying something as simple as “shit.” I was driving listening to hip-hop in the car and I thought to myself ‘maybe I should change this so baby P doesn’t hear cussing.” The funny thing is I cuss in front of her all the time. My parents used to cuss when talking with adults and we heard cussing at family functions. It was known you weren’t allowed to cuss and no one was telling the other adults not to cuss in front of us. So when did the change happen, where adults are supposed to monitor themselves around kids?
All day today, a friend of mine has been trying to get me on the phone. I’m usually not the type to avoid a conversation but the times she wanted to chat I was knee deep in grocery shopping, driving, cleaning, putting away laundry, putting baby P down or feeding baby P. I felt awful and kept telling her, “sorry can’t talk at xyz” but I can text if you want. All I could think to myself was ‘I’m not a terrible person, I’m just a mom.”
I’m thankful to live in one of those towns that only really exists in the movies or on a television show. The weather is beautiful a majority of the time, there is plenty to do, everyone (mostly) is friendly and it is close enough to commute to a larger city. I didn’t always live here so I think that is partially why I have such a respect and admiration for it. There is rarely a time when there isn’t something going on. There are movies and music in the park, festivals that celebrate the holidays, festivals that celebrate beer and wine and so much more. So many folks that grew up here say crap like “ugh I hate living in a small town.” Too bad this isn’t really a small town and you don’t know what you’re talking about.
When you think about what a good parent is, you have such a large frame of reference for “good parenting.” There are magazines, blogs, shows specifically to show how shitty parents can be, news articles and Facebook groups that hand down judgement as if they were Saint Peter himself. When our parents were growing up, they just had what they were taught by their parents, wholesome television shows and maybe a book on parenting.
Today baby P was fitted with her helmet that she will wear for the next several months. When I found out that, she had to wear one I was crushed. I felt like I did something wrong. I immediately reverted back to what I had always grown up thinking helmets were for. The only kids that wore them when I was young were children that had developmental issues. I know that is such a far place to jump and logically I know that she doesn’t have any of those issues and that this is to help shape her skull but I went there so quickly. The mom guilt fell on top of me so hard that I thought I would collapse. Did I not pick her up enough? Did I not play with her enough? Why didn’t I do something that would help her to not have to deal with this?