There are days when I think, "man, I really have it all together." Coffee is all set for Will in the morning, dinner is in the crockpot, kitchen and bathrooms are scrubbed, floors are vacuumed, bedrooms are nice and neat with fresh sheets on the bed, furniture is dusted and polished, laundry is under control, Tony is in a darling little outfit eating a healthy snack, and I'm showered, made up, have a cute hairstyle, and a fun maternity outfit that shows off my bump. When my husband walks in the door, he gets a hug from a happy toddler who is overjoyed to see his papa, and a hug and kiss from a calm, happy wife. Those are GREAT days. I'm not foolish enough to strive for Perfect Mom, because logically I know Perfect Mom doesn't exist. Most of the time, I strive for Together Mom. Together Mom has life under control, and if a few mishaps occur, it's not the end of the world. Together Mom can handle the occasional temper tantrum from a cranky child, a naughty dog who is waiting ever so patiently for your back to turn so he can steal food, the random $200 doctor bill that you totally weren't expecting, and a myriad of other day-to-day issues that pop up out of nowhere. Most days, I am Together Mom. Or at least, I'm Trying To Hold It All Together Mom.
Today was not one of those days.
A large part of today's frustration is due to the fact that I'm experiencing pregnancy pain. Sciatic pain, to be precise. My lower back feels like someone is pounding away at it with a hammer. I tried going to a chiropractor last week, but I didn't have the greatest experience and I won't be going back (not to that particular person, anyway). So the pain certainly isn't helping. Then Tony woke up multiple times last night, which usually means he's coming down with something. He slept until 7:30am, then woke up crying. He's congested, lethargic, and completely unwilling to let me out of his sight. Okay, no problem. We go downstairs, armed with his two favorite "bankies" and snuggle on the couch for a while. Whenever Tony is feeling under the weather, his pediatrician always recommends that I push probiotics to ensure a speedy recovery. Again, no problem. I made him a super healthy yogurt smoothie (nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt, 2% milk, spinach leaves, banana, frozen strawberries) and bring it to him. He drinks about half of it, and sits straight up and gives me a weird look. Crap. I know what's coming, but unfortunately I'm too late. Tony projectile vomits all over me, himself, and Clarence, one of his blankets. Then he bursts into tears (I feel ya, little guy-I always want to cry after vomiting), and I throw his clothes and blanket into the wash, and get Tony cleaned up. He doesn't have a temperature, so I don't panic. I make sure he gets some fluids in him, and when he started acting hungry again I hooked him up with some bananas and toast, courtesy of the BRAT diet. It's cool. I got this.
*WARNING. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER UNLESS YOU ARE A PARENT WHO HAS BEEN SUBJECTED TO DISGUSTING BODILY FLUIDS* About 20 minutes later, I notice that Tony is smelling kind of stinky and he definitely needs a diaper change. I take off his diaper, and "OH MY GOD HIS POOP IS BRIGHT RED MY CHILD IS BLEEDING INTERNALLY!!!" I go into full-blown panic mode, frantically calling the pediatrician's office, my mom, and sending Will text messages. (In case you're wondering, yes I actually did take a picture of the red poop with my camera phone and texted it to Will. If there was ever any doubt in my mind....we are officially parents now). I get an afternoon appointment schedule for Tony at his pedi's office, I get an assurance from Will that he will be home as soon as his class gets out at 10:30, and I am slightly calmed down when my mom told me if Tony isn't in visible pain, it's probably nothing that has to be dealt with immediately. Well, Tony definitely didn't seem to be in pain. He didn't flinch when I pressed down gently on his tummy, he wasn't bothered when I changed his diaper, and he had enough energy to knock a bunch of cans off of my pantry. Hmmm. What the heck is going on here? I started going through everything I fed him, this morning and last night. Strawberries? No, that couldn't be it. Tony eats strawberries all the time. He hasn't eaten beets, or anything with cranberries, or raspberries...so he must be bleeding, right? Well. Will gets home from class, is greeted by a half-naked, shrieking toddler and a frumpy, stressed out wife, and he turns to me and says, "you know, I forgot to tell you that I gave Tony a couple pieces of Red Vine licorice yesterday." I'm not exaggerating when I tell you it took every ounce of willpower for me not to punch him. That was about two hours ago. Since then, I informed Will that not only is he accompanying Tony and I to the doctor's office, but he is going to be the one to explain my hysterical red poop phone call. Will has also been the recipient of my frequent "PMS" looks, until he managed to escape out the door for his 1:00 class.
So. Forget Together Mom today. My child is finally napping, and dinner is in the crockpot, but that's all I've accomplished so far today. The house is a mess, I'm in pain and crabby, and while I did manage a quick shower, the hair/makeup thing is SO not happening. Logically I understand that everyone is going to have those not-so-great days, or even bad days, but lately I feel like those days are popping up far too often. I don't like it when the house is dirty and unorganized. I don't like it when Tony and I look like ragamuffins. I want my mom to come and visit and think to herself, "wow, Marisa actually DID pay attention to what I did for her and Mark when she was growing up, and now she's doing it for her child too." I don't want for my in-laws to think that their son lives a step above a youth hostel in Bratislava. I don't want my husband to come home after a long day of class or ROTC and be greeted by chaos. The sad part is, I think I'm generally pretty good at multi-tasking. I was a double major at a musically and academically challenging private university. I'm a military wife. I'm Italian. I feel like most days, I can handle whatever life chooses to chuck at me, and when I don't handle it very well (or not well at all), I feel like a failure. And then, of course, I'm thinking "oh CRAP in less than two months we're going to have another baby!" Don't get me wrong, this baby is a blessing and I'm beyond grateful that I'm experiencing a healthy pregnancy. I've also heard many parents tell me it's easier with more children than just one (I'm not sure I believe that yet).
Who else out there is feeling this way? Please, make yourselves known! I could use some commiseration after browsing some other mama blogs; you know, the ones who are model-thin with four children, perfect clothes, hair, makeup, spotless house, but they go on and on about how "they just can't seem to get everything done, and wow I even though I'm wearing designer jeans and heels at the grocery store with my perfect red lipstick I look like I just rolled out of bed!" (Not naming names here). Trust me, I don't feel better about myself after reading those blogs, and I certainly don't sympathize with those women. Anyway. Fellow wannabe Together Moms, I want to hear from you!