I'd wanted to write a post about an inspiring interview I heard this weekend with child psychologist and Pulitzer-prize winning author Robert Coles about the spiritual lives of children, but I'm too angry to write that post right now.
Anger sneaks up on me right now, especially when I'm tired. I keep thinking that I'm really doing well—and I am. Things are getting easier. Lily and I are getting into more and more of a groove, and most of the time I feel like I know what she needs. But sometimes I just get completely and totally overwhelmed still with the sheer energy demands of taking care of a baby.
I’m not alone, it turns out. Motherlode reports in a disturbingly titled post, “Are All Moms Mad at Dad?” that 46 percent of moms report being irate at their husbands at least once a week. That gives me a shudder of terror. Anger is corrosive, eating away at the soul. And it isn’t the mothering model—even the human model—that I want my daughter to grow up with.
The biggest factor contributing to anger according to the report was moms not feeling like they had any time to themselves and that their lives had been changed a lot more than their husbands’ lives by their children.
That really clicked for me. That is the core of my frustration. If I can’t have anytime off, then I (selfishly, I realize) don’t want my husband to have that time either. As she nurses every two hours during the day right now, and because she isn’t taking the bottle right now (suggestions welcome), I have to be with her essentially at all times. While I love that responsibility and even privilege most of the time, sometimes it’s just completely overwhelming.
And then my milk thawed.
All of this came to a head this morning when I opened the freezer to put walnuts on our oatmeal. Somehow the freezer door had gotten left ajar last night, and all of the bags of milk I have pumped over the last several weeks were thawing. Once milk thaws it has to be used within 24 hours. So all of that milk had to be drunk (by my daughter who is currently refusing the bottle), or it’s wasted.
I just completely fell apart. I wept and wept. It felt like my one small chance at future afternoons off had literally melted away.
I guess Lily will really get a lot of practice with the bottle today, as there’s not much else to do with all of that milk.
And I'm off to eat a rather large amount of oatmeal-walnut-chocolate chip cookie dough. While that might not be the healthy choice (in more ways than one), it does seem appropriate; it was the walnut bag from the cookies that got caught in the freezer door. The least I can do is participate in the proven ritual of eating through my anger and frustration. Good thing I'm lactating.