Friday, May 29, 2009

Hang In There, Baby!

Okay, you may be too young to remember this poster, but it was everywhere in the 70s, which is when my family moved to America from Jamaica. I love that it pretty much sums up how my husband and I feel at the end of a week like this one -- wrung out and barely hanging on! You may have had more than a few days like that since becoming parents, especially if you're a mom. No matter how well-prepared, mature and ready you were (like I thought I was), being responsible 24/7 for the care and feeding of a helpless little creature was a bit like being sucker punched.

But at least babies need us, right? Then they become toddlers and seem to spend all their waking hours either arguing with us ("Me do it!") or attempting to cause themselves bodily harm. Don't they get that throwing themselves into traffic, say, is just proving Darwin's case? Keeping them alive becomes even more physically exhausting than taking care of a newborn, which you hardly thought possible at the time. That whole sleep-deprivation thing wasn't even approved of without the presence of a doctor at Gitmo, and there you are, alone with a wailing mass of protoplasm who you have the responsibility of nursing every two hours throughout the night, without so much as a thank you, much less a watchful nurse with a clipboard who'll put a stop to the whole thing before you start hallucinating.

But I digress. I was trying to make you feel better. More to the point, I was trying to make myself feel better. Here's the money shot: if you have kids that aren't at full-time-school age, you are under siege. Not like in a real war, of course, but as real as it gets in LA's San Fernando Valley. So cut yourself some slack. Get off your own back. Realize that, although you may be out of the baby years, the light doesn't break into the murky shadows of the tunnel until they're safely in kindergarten. By then, of course, you may have done what we did, which is to re-up for another tour (man, this is a lot of battle imagery for a city girl. It was clearly a mad week!). We've had babies and/or toddlers in the house for almost twelve straight years. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it is different on the other side. At least, that's what I hear. :)

Go snuggle with your honey and hug your kiddies. Work, stardom, fortune -- all those can wait. But once kindergarten starts, watch out, world!!

7 comments:

Desiree Fawn said...

Awe, this is a cute post! I have a four month old and as taxing as it can be some days, I know these early months are so precious & I'm enjoying every moment!

Kimberly said...

Yup! That's how it feels! And I totally had one of those posters. I started this whole motherhood thing about a decade later than I should have. I had so much more energy in my 20s.

spielbee said...

Thanks for sending me this post. I'm gonna get off my back right now. And I love snuggling the kids. Love em all day even when I don't. ;-)

Roxanne Beckford Hoge said...

Yeah, I had more energy in my 20s as well. But I was stupid and not terribly patient. :) Now I'm a teensy bit less stupid, but much more patient, at least until around 10:30 at night, when I wish I had a Harry Potter spell to create instantaneous toddler sleep!

I am remembering that one of my very best twins, who had 2-year-old twins when I found out I was pregnant with mine, sighed and said, "I guess I'll see you in five years." Guess what? She was right.

Hobo Mama said...

Yes! And this is what scares me about possibly having more... Re-upping is what it would be exactly!

And I have to agree with Kimberly, too — I just get all pooped out and have trouble sitting on the floor !and then getting up again!) and, you know, just feel my old, old age. But I have to agree with you, too, because I am definitely (hopefully) less stupid now. So there is that, and I hope that's worth it.

adiaha said...

Good Luck with that! When they go to school you kinda go to school too! Fundraisers, escorting the class on rips, assisting with projects, more fundraisers, homework etc. etc. You just get a new set of responsibilities. I hope I haven't burst your bubble.....I could be mistaken. You are right on point with loving your entire family up...they deserve it and so do you!

Roxanne Beckford Hoge said...

Adiaha, yeah, my bubble's already been burst -- I have a rising 6th grader and 3rd grader, as today's the last day of school! Even with all those committments and challenges of dealing with emotional upheaval (bff drama, etc), there's nothing quite like the bone-wearying work of baby/toddler raising. Of course, I haven't dealt with actual adolescents yet, only wannabes! :)