And then there are the days when your son throws the biggest tantrum of his young life, one so intense that it interups the uninterruptible sleep of a newborn so there are two small beings screaming at the top of their lungs in the house. When this happens you will be shaking with hunger and will resort to shoveling granola into your mouth because you are resigned to not eating a meal for a long time. You will also be deliriously tired because the baby was up until 1am the night before, you had to get up before 6:30am so your husband could get to work. And you will be panicking because your sister and her family will be flying in that evening and your house will not be anywhere near as clean as you want it to be. The longer the tantrum goes on the more desperate you’ll feel because his very limited capacity to listen to reason slips further and further away. And you’ll hold him as he sobs hysterically and tries to explain why he is so upset, but your mind won’t be completely with him because you are listening to the newborn wail and you feel wretched for not holding that son. You’ll be grateful for the nursing pads you are wearing because the sound of the newborn crying will trigger your letdown and you’ll feel milk shooting out of your boobs. And if you are me, all this stuff will make you feel so anxious and so terrible and so defeated that you’ll suddenly feel tremendously fat.
So far this SAHM thing with two kids has been going incredibly well. There have only been a few days that have descended into absolute chaos. My anxiety has receded far enough in the background that I have been managing to leave the house on a regular basis and I’ve been wearing something other than yoga pants all day long. But when the anxiety comes back it does so with a vengeance. I’ve been functioning so well that it almost takes my breath away when the anxiety manifests itself in a way that reminds me I’m not normal. I’m guessing that most moms don’t feel physically repulsive when things get a bit out of control. Maybe I’m wrong about that, maybe it is a perfectly normal response. I’d love it if you moms out there would tell me what it’s like for you. It would make me feel less alone.
Thanks to the 3rd trimester diet combined with the unfortunate postpartum hemorrhaging I rapidly lost the baby weight plus an additional 10+ pounds within 3 weeks. That sounds much braggier than I’d like. To put it in perspective my BMI is still in the overweight column. It’s not like I became a skinny-minny overnight, if I want to get to the “normal” weight range I’ve got another solid 10-15 to lose. But I do weigh less than I have in about 8 years. My food choices really shifted for the better during the latter part of my pregnancy and I’ve kept them up since C has joined us on the outside. I do have a lot to be proud of when it comes to my relationship with food. And yet, when I start to feel overwhelmed and out of control my automatic response is to feel fat. Not only to I feel fat, but I feel like anyone who sees me will be both disgusted by me and filled with pity for me. Which is bizarre because I certainly don’t feel disgust or pity when I am around overweight people. Whenever it happens I feel profound relief that I’m not parenting girls. How could I model positive self esteem when mine is so damaged? I don’t know how to stop the feelings, even though I want to. At this point I’m just grateful they have been rather intermittent. For the most part I’ve been able to cope with the craziness of parenting two boys two and under.
On the flip side, there are also the days when you are trying to not cry because your sister and her family just left for the airport at the end of their trip. And you are only doing a half assed job keeping it together as your toddler whines and begs for goldfish crackers while you try to figure out what it is he’ll eat for lunch that day. The baby will be sleeping soundly when you start make the grilled cheese sandwich for the toddler and you figure you have enough time to make a quick one for yourself because yet again you are shaking with hunger. But as soon as you start you’ll hear the baby take a tremendous crap from the other room. Moments later he’ll start wailing. So you’ll run to him and change the tremendous crap while you pray your sandwich doesn’t burn. You’ll run back to the kitchen to flip the sandwich with the baby in your arms and you’ll have to do it with your free hand because you won’t be able to find the spatula. Too late you’ll realize you’re using the hand you wiped the kid with and you didn’t wash it. You’ll realize that as the sandwich opens up and spills all over the place. The baby will still be wailing because he is starving and you’ll gently place him on the filthy kitchen floor in order to fix it. Then you’ll grab him and awkwardly attach him to your breast while standing at the stove (a maneuver you wouldn’t have dared attempt with your first kid). As you try and put baby carrots on your plate he will start to choke because he has a cold and your letdown is so strong it would drown an olympic swimmer. He comes off the breast and you spray milk all over him, your clothing, and the already filthy floor. You’ll get him back on the breast, get the sandwich off the stove, and go sit and eat with him still attached. And on this day you won’t feel desperate, even though you were crying when lunch started. You’ll laugh at the lunacy that is your lunch hour and life as a stay at home mom. And you’ll feel pretty triumphant that all three of you are sitting at the table eating at the same time.