Mothers Day is great and sad. Twosies.

Even though Sunday was my second officially-sanctioned Mothers Day as a mom, it was effectively my first one. Last year, C was only about five weeks old on Mothers Day and I had no energy or desire to celebrate. No one was sleeping, no one was eating well, no one felt like a human. I was paying my dues in the New Baby Club and stocking up on the experiences that would make me truly relish the return of sleep. If this was motherhood, I’d take a pass on celebrating it.

I had something to toast to this year. I celebrated my survival by sipping my coffee and eating pancakes B prepared for me. I sneaked a Dove chocolate between them. It was melty and perfect. I celebrated while lounging on the sofa and watching C and B screen an episode of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood on YouTube. I celebrated by fighting the urge to call and apologize for my tardiness when I ran long at my solo date to the coffee shop. I celebrated by showing B how to make fish tacos for us all for dinner. He only cut his finger once when he sliced the avocados.

We put C in her crib at 6:45. She woke up around 9:15, crying from a bad dream. She rarely wakes in the middle of the night anymore so I jumped at the chance to see her and be there with her. B and I had been discussing only a couple days ago how nowadays, we simply put her away at 6:45. We go about our after-hours routines and have to remind ourselves that she is indeed in the other room sleeping and living. By the time we turn our own lights out at 11, we have almost forgotten we’re parents.

She cried out and I held her. She nestled into my chest and I smelled her head. She’s a lanky baby but she is still so slight in my arms. Mere months before, it would have taken hours to pull her together and meet her needs. On Sunday night, it took no more than ten minutes. By 9:25, she was back in her crib.

I felt sad. At some point, this all got kind of easy. It made me pine for the days where I was regularly put through the fire and earning my keep as the parent of an infant. It made me sad for my own parents that they know exactly what it’s like to be needed intensely and then, in the blink of an eye, just standing by in the other room waiting for me to cry out. All we want is to be needed longer.

Parenthood is heartbreaking.

Let’s drink mimosas.

I miss this.

I miss this.

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55 comments

  1. Being a parent is like having your heart on the outside of your body. The other day, my daughter told me she could make her own chocolate milk and I have to admit, it was a mixed feeling of “good, one less thing for me to do” and “what? you don’t need me anymore?” I suspect it will be this way forever.

    1. That’s a really good analogy. I don’t know what I’ll do as she gets older and needs me less. Probably get cable?

  2. I like what She’s a Maineiac said above – “being a parent is like having your heart on the outside of your body.” Parenthood is a wonderful, crazy experience. It is absolutely insane how quickly the time passes. Don’t blink.

    1. I don’t intend to. My eyes may get dry from not blinking but that’s what eyedrops are for, right? Thanks, Kristin.

  3. Happy belated Mother’s Day! I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch your little get more independent and need you less and less. But just remember, without your love and care she’d never have made it to this point. She’ll always need you, the reasons just change.

    1. Very good points! On the bright side, she figured out how to remove the baby covers on the electrical outlets so at least she needs me to put them back on 956 times a day.

  4. Happy belated Mother’s Day! I always think of parenting as bittersweet. You want to see them grow older, but then you don’t. This is probably why keep having babies.

    1. …people keep having babies. (No coffee yet, Em!)

    2. My mom keeps telling me that it was around this time in my life (I am the eldest child) that she started wanting another one. I get it. But C will be an only child for a bit longer yet ;D

      1. No, don’t rush it, Em! Enjoy it all. I have a 3 1/2 year gap. I think it’s perfect! They can still play together but also have their separate identity, their own friends, etc. Enjoy these precious times with little C.

  5. Don’t worry, sweet little Mommy. We never become entirely obsolete!

    1. Thank goodness for that!

      1. Part two of that remark is that at times our children may BELIEVE or WISH us to be obsolete, but we’re not! Muah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

  6. Ashley Austrew · · Reply

    Aww. Don’t worry, Em, little Cee will always need you, just in different ways. I know what you mean, though. Those baby moments start to feel really far away. If its any consolation, Sonia was a champ just like C, then she hit 19 months and now she hasn’t gone to bed without a two-hour fight in like 3 weeks… Haha

    1. twindaddy · · Reply

      Ashley’s right. For instance, the twins are 13 and they still NEED me to kick them in the ass to turn in their homework assignments. So there’s that to look forward to.

      1. Yaya! I can’t wait to relearn fractions and the parts of speech with C so I can help her with her homework! (I don’t think that comment was laced heavily enough with sarcasm. To be clear, fractions have a personal beef with me.)

        1. twindaddy · · Reply

          Yeah, I had to help with some Algebra recently and it took me a bit to remember how to do it….

    2. I have a lot to look forward to. Incidentally, ever since I wrote that thing about how good an eater she is, she has been a really sucky eater. I jinxed it.

  7. cant wait to hear how you look back on this article after your 3rd

    1. I love how you think there’ll be a third ;D

  8. My children are in their 20’s, but I still long for those days. Of bathing, powdering, diapering and swaddling. Babies holding tight to our fingers and needing us for everything. I even miss the closeness of a midnight feeding. How I wish I could go back and hold my children one more time, but I can’t. All I can hope for is having grandchildren someday. Holding them as I held their father or mother, even thought it won’t nearly be the same.

    1. I so feel you! I have half a mind to take one of C’s blankets and stuff it in one of those vacuum-seal bags so when she gets older and I miss her baby smell, I can take it out and smell it.

      1. I think that’s an awesome idea. I really do. Sigh….

  9. Cute baby! I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

    1. Thanks! She was so tiny then. Now she’s a giant.

      1. That would then make you have a giant Mother’s Day! http://www.segmation.com

  10. Sheesh you fast-forwarded through a long time. I think the problem might be you’re so completely needed by someone you love intensely. My dad’s almost 60 and he actually enjoys having a dog now because it’s something new that enjoys following him around. So there’s always pets or grandkids. For now you still have years to worry about feeling needed.

    1. My mom got a bunch of dogs too when I moved out! And by “a bunch” I mean two, but they are so yippy and hyper that they multiply themselves by four or five.

  11. You will be needed less and less in many ways and more and more in others, and every step along the way will fill you with heartbreak and heartburst. It’s wonderful and tragic and life and unstoppable. It’s all beautiful.

    1. Best comment ever. Spoken with a lot of wisdom.

  12. I feel this way a lot. And unfortunately, most of the time we can’t appreciate how they need us when it is actually happening…because it’s hard. It’s only afterwards that we realize how wonderful it was to be needed in that way. Then I have to remind myself to stop longing for the past and appreciate the ways in which my kids need me now.

    1. “most of the time we can’t appreciate how they need us when it is actually happening…because it’s hard.” A-MEN. You said that a lot more clearly and succinctly than I could.

      1. Thanks. Well, I have a few more years of sleep deprivation on you. All those awake hours are great for writing practice. And there’s your silver lining :)

  13. It goes by so fast. I’m sure no one has ever told you that before. Hope you had a great Mother’s Day.

    1. Hi Angie! I feel like my entire blog could be titled “it goes by too fast.” But then I couldn’t write about spam. So maybe it’s a good thing that it’s not?

  14. sidney · · Reply

    So beautiful, I cried. This is why we must stay in the moment.

    1. So much truth. The moment is a good place.

  15. Aww. I can only imagine. She will never stop needing you, though. We only get one Mommy.

    1. I got a bonus one with your mom!

  16. Oh, love. Don’t worry. It’ll all come back in about another year when you’re attempting potty training. And after that, another crisis. And another after that. I remember the lull between crises, and missing the madness. The madness misses you too. It shall return. And it’ll be just as frustrating and glorious as before. She’ll always need you. (P.S. Abbi announced the other day that she has a crush on a boy. This is her first crush. I’m panicking. This is life.)

    1. Thank you for saying that! What you said really resonates with me. I read back this post and it kind of made me realize that this is just a lull and things won’t always be so easy. Crushes are when the fun begins. My first crush was on a boy named Thomas who had a big head, like a physically large cranium.

  17. Emily, as a non-breeder, I personally know nothing about raising a child for my membership in aunt-hood does not apply here. I’m just under the impression that C feels so safe and secure when in her your arms, it’s easy for her to forget that bad dream and drift off to sleep. That sounds magical to me. If someone could bottle a mother’s love in pill form they’d be a billionaire.

    1. I completely agree! If such a pill existed, the world would likely be a much nicer place.

  18. Every new phase brings different heartbreaks, but they’re all rewarding in a different way. My nephew is now losing his teeth, but in my mind, he should still be scaring the crap out of me by being RIGHTINMYFACE first thing in the morning.

    I’m glad you got to enjoy Mother’s Day just a little bit more this year.

    1. C is just now getting her teeth (molars), and it boggles my mind that they are going to be falling out, like, next Wednesday. Slow down this ride!

  19. I like your revelations and how immediate they are to you as a parent; I was in such a daze (and still am most of the time) that I only processed these thoughts about parenting much later, and reading your blog gives them to me again.

    I was about to get all discouraging and say that your evenings will get taken away again when she gets to be a toddler and needs fourteen stories at bedtime, three rounds of toothbrushing, nine trips to the potty… every hour on the hour. But then I realized that despite the frustration it’s quite delightful, only because it’s now the only time now when my boys really need me for security and to process their day and fill their heads with stories. It won’t be forever, either. But I do know that there will always be plenty of opportunities ahead to earn my parenting keep.

    1. I love your comments so much. They always help me put things in perspective. I love the idea of helping kids process their day. As parents, that’s kind of a microcosm for our lives: just assisting them through the process of living and supporting them no matter what they go through. xoxo

  20. My heart grows bigger reading your blog posts.

    1. <3 My heart grows bigger reading your comments!

  21. You know I feel this Emily. Totally get it. And it makes me wistful. Hug.

    1. Awwww, thanks ;D Hugs back.

  22. Everyone says that when your baby turns into a toddler, that’s when you start getting baby fever. I have been getting it really bad, but it’s not baby fever like “I want another baby;” it’s baby fever like “I want Calvin to be a baby again.”

    1. THIS. This is exactly how I feel. I’ve been looking for those words. I don’t want another baby yet, either. I just want to C to be one a little longer.

  23. Sorry I’m late to this beautiful post. I’ve been getting my house ready to put back on the market and I’m missing so many posts! Argh!
    I think you summed this up perfectly. Parenthood is heartbreaking, indeed. It’s full of highs and lows. I think when parents start feeling this way they start to consider a repeat performance, I’m just saying’. I know you’re not in that space but it seems every time the nest feels different or empty, mama bird wants another egg. LOL! Expect this cycle to repeat for a good long time. I’m fifty and if there was anyway on God’s green earth that I could have a baby, I’d do it again in a heart beat. (Probably the last thing Lily would like to think about! haha!) It’s just that we moms end up really missing those moments — it is painful and heartbreaking. So true.
    I’m with you, Em, having a virtual Mimosa!
    Cheers!
    Lisa xoxo

    1. Now I have to apologize for taking so long to reply! I am getting to be such a comment slacker! LOL. Having another one has definitely crossed my mind a bit lately. Hopefully we’ll FINALLY get to move next year and then we can start seriously start considering it. It just about makes my heart explode to think about C being a big sister. Wouldn’t that just be the most?

      Good luck with the house! You know I will be thinking about you and sending you good juju all through the process!

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