Full disclosure: I am currently bawling and writing this while lying in bed with my daughter at nap time on vacation in St. Petersburg, Florida. I don’t know if this is my breaking point or I am just having a bad day, but something needs to change because I can’t keep living my life the way I am.
Before ever getting pregnant, I had already made firm decisions on the way I would parent. Then when I got pregnant, I hired a midwife who strongly believed in attachment parenting. Thus, I read all the research and books that supported this lifestyle. So before I had even experienced being a parent and met my daughter, I had determined how I would raise her no matter what. However, I never stopped to consider that perhaps I should first become a parent before deciding how I would do it. So my daughter was born, my boob became her pacifier, she slept with my boyfriend and me every night, and my life’s mission was to ensure she never cried.
My daughter is now 15 months. To fall asleep, she must be breastfed. To stay asleep, I must remain beside her, nap time included. We have never been apart more than a couple of hours, and when I am with her, I am with her. I cannot be on my computer, or read, or watch something because I have taught her that I should always be there and available to entertain her. She does not know how to play independently because I have never created the space for her to do so.
I am 32 weeks pregnant with my son, and I am painfully aware that the way I have parented my daughter will soon no longer be possible. But I am also grateful that things will be forced to change because I can’t keep parenting the way I am, regardless of a second child or not.
I feel so lost and disconnected from myself. My entire existence for the last year has been to be my daughter’s everything. On paper, that sounds beautiful, but in reality, it is martyrdom with resentment on the side.
My relationship with my boyfriend is practically non-existent because he gets home from work at 5:30, we eat dinner, bathe our baby, take showers, and then I go to bed with her. On the weekends, if he isn’t working, we have the morning, and then Phoenix and I disappear for 2.5 hours for an afternoon nap. Then we have 3 hours till our evening routine, but I need to prep dinner during that time.
My relationship with my friends has been limited to brunches and morning walks because of Phoenix’s schedule. There is not enough time to plan things in the afternoon or evening because of nap time and our evening routine.
My relationship with myself is missing entirely. My only time away from my daughter is my 20-minute shower in the evenings- which I have extended in every way possible. I now dry brush, shave and exfoliate every single night to lengthen my time by myself. I have read 1 book in the last 15 months. I can’t remember the last time I watched a show or an entire movie. I haven’t gone to an event, concert, show, class, or workshop, literally anything by myself in over a year.
I am not saying any of this to elicit pity. I am honestly reflecting on my relationships to really show myself how my impossible expectations and beliefs have wreaked havoc in my life. All of my problems are self-created and based on the belief that I need to be the perfect parent or ruin my daughter. Up until this point, I have truly believed that if I didn’t breastfeed and co-sleep and allow her to cry that I would damage her forever. This fearful belief created a lifestyle that has become a purgatory of guilt for not wanting to remain this type of parent and the desire for freedom at the beginning of my journey through parenthood.
I love my daughter very much, and I want the very best for her. But I never considered that for me to be the best mom I can be, I need to care for myself. Many quotes have tried to explain the importance of this: putting your own oxygen mask first; you can’t give from an empty cup, etc. At this point, in the third trimester of my second pregnancy, I am suffocating from lack of oxygen, and my cup is empty. I don’t want to be a mother who sacrificed everything for her children because that is teaching my children that you must sacrifice yourself for your loved ones. I want to be my highest and best self for my children. I want to be a multi-faceted woman who is a wonderful mother, not a wonderful mother with nothing else.
I have to learn how to love and care for myself because my children will not learn from my words but my actions. If I don’t learn how to prioritize my needs and desires, those around me will never consider them.
The mission of this blog is to rediscover and remember the real me that has been buried by my unrealistic expectations and limiting beliefs. I want to find that part of me and bring her back to life- I want to revive her.
Welcome to the Revive Report.