If I only had a brain…

I stood in my child development group, bouncing up and down, swaying back and forth, trying to soothe my screeching child, when our leader looked over and calmly reassured me,

“You are a great mom.”

It seems like a thoughtful and encouraging comment, right?

But I couldn’t stop the devil on the shoulder from whispering, “No, you aren’t.”

At 5:30am, when my daughter has decided that it is a perfect time to kick her little feet in the air and declare it morning (and breakfast time!), I often struggle to resolve how I am going to get to the end of the day. Merely bare bones survival. How will I find it in me to wake up, feed her, feed myself, and make it to the precious time when I will crash into the soft caress of my pillow once again. With such low expectations, it is impossible for me to reflect on this attitude and exclaim, “Woo hoo! I am SuperMom!”

Wait a minute...that's the cat...so, where's the baby?

Wait a minute…that’s the cat…so, where’s the baby?

Combine this trudging through the day with a complete lack of brain activity, and, well, yeah, the result is keys in the freezer, coffee poured on cereal, loads of laundry run without detergent, and hair washed with shave gel.

I recently read this article about how a child’s DNA has been discovered in their mother’s brain. Creepy. But, seriously, I am beginning to think another DNA exchange may occur. One where the mom’s brain cells attach, and leave, with the placenta.

It would explain sooooo much.

Honestly, due to the zombie-like status and self-doubt, I often feel like my daughter ends up being a 15lb shadow. Hanging out in the baby carrier as I fold laundry, chop onions (which you should NEVER do with a baby… it only leads to tears), or pay bills. It is on these days that I wonder if “a mother’s love” is really enough (this was especially questionable on the onion day). After all, when I became a mother, I knew NOTHING about raising a child. Does motherly instinct automatically embed itself with all this traveling DNA?

I am left confounded at the erosion in my confidence over the last 6 months. If you had told me during my professional life, “You are a great organizer” or “Wow, that is one good-looking spreadsheet”, I would probably have agreed and taken the compliment (after all, if you need a sexy, multi-tabbed, inter-linking, color coordinated spreadsheet, I’m your gal). So, why do I find it so hard to believe that someone thinks I am succeeding in motherhood? Is it because the stakes are now so much higher? Because I am responsible for another living being? Because adults are always blaming their parents for one thing or another and with each move I wonder if this will be the thing my daughter discusses in therapy 30 years down the road???

Why is it that we are our own worst critics?

And, really, is anyone actually good at motherhood? Or are we all just flying by the seat of our pants?
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