So far motherhood has been a teeter totter between feeling like I’ve got it together to feeling completely inept.
Last week was a good example. We drove four hours to San Francisco to see my parents who were in from Ohio staying with my sister. Lila did great in the car and was a happy, calm baby the whole first day. That night though, I think all the change of routine caught up with her and she was up fussing every 2 hours, which is very rare for her.
The next day I was totally exhausted, but excited for the evening. We were going out to a brazilian steakhouse for my dad’s birthday and it was the first night out without baby. My sister had arranged a great baby sitter from my niece’s daycare and I had pumped and brought along a bottle to leave with her.
About a half hour before the babysitter was to arrive, I took the bottle out of the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature. And it was completely rancid. Apparently there are a lot of rules about storing breast milk that I had no clue about, so when I transported it in the car four hours and then re-cooled it, it turned the milk sour.
I felt like such a loser as a mother. How did I not know this about breastmilk? What was my baby supposed to eat while I was out??
Totally defeated, I told everyone I would just stay home from dinner. But my sister jumped in and put together a game plan that involved a last minute feeding and supplementing with some of her frozen milk. Part of me felt guilty that I had to give her someone else’s milk, but frankly, I needed a night out.
I think Lila can tell when I’m feeling down about my abilities as a mother, because as soon as I feel pretty low, she will have a great few days. Sure enough, when we got back from dinner, the report from the babysitter was that Lila slept like an angel the whole time. And for the next four nights she slept eight hours or more!
It’s so true when people say motherhood is the greatest and hardest thing you’ll ever do. I have never second-guessed myself as much as I have during these first few months of Lila’s life. I’m constantly worrying that I’m doing it all wrong.
Deep down I know I’m doing the best I can and that I’d have to work pretty hard to mess her up too much at this age. I think the stress just comes from the crazy amount of love I feel for her. I love her so much that I want the absolute best for her. I want to give her MY best.
Because she deserves it.