Most of my parenting life is spent in the weeds. You know them, I’m sure. Probably you’re in them right now. They wrap around you, weaving fatigue and loneliness with joy and delight, boredom and monotony with wonder and love. Because motherhood is nothing but a total duality of emotions.
The weeds are reheated coffee and broken sleep. They are temper tantrums over the wrong sippy cup, cartwheeling breastfeeding toddlers, and yet another healthy meal thrown on the floor. They are stress and worry, repetition, and midnight Googling. And when you’re in the weeds, it’s impossible to tell you’re also in a river — that you’re being carried along by the current and that every day, which feels exactly the same, is actually minutely but importantly different. It’s impossible to tell things are changing, time is moving. But they are. It is.
I am experiencing a brief moment where my head is out of the weeds and aware of the river. A rare moment of epiphany that I am basking in — trying to soak up its truth before the next thing bowls me back down into the murk. Before I return to thinking that nothing will ever change and this will be my life for all Eternity.
So I thought I’d share it with you.
My son will be 2 next month. He’s still breastfeeding. Not so much because I want him to as because he seems to need it to center and calm him and I can’t handle an uncentered, uncalm 2-year-old. Until about a month ago he was breastfeeding approximately every 10 minutes.
I’m not exaggerating.
My nipples had callouses. He particularly liked breastfeeding while doing a handstand and then falling from the couch while still latched.
It was getting embarrassing. No matter where we were or who was around us or what I was wearing, he would pull at my shirt demanding “milk!” I would offer other things and he would counter with “milk!” Then he would start to cry a panicked cry, and I would give in and he would breastfeed while practicing acrobatics. I was losing my mind.
Then one day we had to go out early in the morning and I was driving or running errands and “milk!” simply wasn’t an option. Then the next day I had to prep for Christmas dinner so his dad took him out hiking for the morning and “milk!” wasn’t an option. So on the third day when he requested “milk!” I told him he had to wait ’til nap time; I offered other options, and he chose apples. It seemed like probably it was a fluke. But the next time I told him to wait until bedtime, and he chose broccoli.
So here I am. Only nursing three times a day. Overjoyed and terrified at how he is growing and changing. Momentarily out of the weeds and aware of the river hurtling me along. Offering hope to all you weary mamas out there:
She will sleep through the night.
He won’t only eat buttered noodles forever.
She will one day let you cook dinner (you just might have to accept it comes at the cost of all your Tupperwares all over the floor).
You will poop alone again. Eventually.
Every day feels the same, but every day is different. Even the things that feel like they’ll never change will soon be behind you, and you’ll be wistfully remembering that time you Googled whether any toddler had actually bitten off a nipple.