Bad Mother Blues

April 11, 2008

I am having one of those days. Actually, it’s the second such day, which means that I have been having one of those days for about 24 hours too long now. I am having one of those days in which I do not like being a parent. And, also, one of those days in which I do not like being pregnant. Which, as a pregnant parent, puts me in the uncomfortable position of disliking the most important aspects of my current existence.

I love my daughter. I shouldn’t even have to say it. I love her to the heights and depths, etc, etc, as I do my unborn son. I love that I am her, and his, mother. But I just don’t like being a mother, the activity of being a mother, right now, not so much.

I’m just so tired. I’m eight and half months pregnant. My back aches and my legs are cramping and I haven’t slept in days. I don’t so much walk as lumber. And my sweet little girl, home from daycare since Wednesday while HBF is off doing husbandly things, is determined that my incapacities not interfere with her pursuit of world domination. We cannot have quiet time, we cannot snuggle, and we cannot lurk indoors. There are worlds – and parks and trees and sidewalks and schoolyards and grocery stores – to conquer, at maximum velocity, and she will not be dissuaded from doing it all nownownowMOMMYWEGONOW. It does not matter that I am greatly slowed and incapable of meeting all of her demands: thwart her, oppose her, deny her will… I will be rewarded with an epic tantrum. Cyrus of Persia, the Tarquins of Rome, Napoleon, Stalin – they knew nothing of the imposition of the will as the force behind true tyranny. They did not have toddlers.

I am, today, whipped and beaten and thoroughly down. I am physically spent, and mentally and psychically weak from flagellating myself with guilt – am bad mother am bad mother – and just exhausted. Also, the espresso machine is broken.

Dora is my last hope. All of my remaining energies will be channelled into convincing the dictator that she really, really wants to watch Dora. If I succeed, I will curl up under the blankets and suckle a dark chocolate bar. If I do not succeed… well, if you don’t hear from me – or if you happen to hear the screaming – somebody may need to send help. Allied Forces, some UN peacekeepers and a hostage negotiator or two might do the trick.

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    Tina C. April 11, 2008 at 11:07 am

    May i suggest taking her to a pool? swimming around and jumping in again and again should tire her out enormously and you get to float around in a bouyant state. It’s been working great for me lately.

    Heather April 11, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I hear you. I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately too, and I’m sooo tired. I resorted to the library to get some NEW videos for the kids to watch.

    Julie Pippert April 11, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Hang in there. We’ve all been there and done that so you know you have understanding.

    May your day get easier.

    And may Dora entrance your wee girlie.

    Laura April 11, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Oh, hang in there. Perhaps tomorrow will be better…

    nomotherearth April 11, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Been there. It sucks. I feel for you.

    Hey – have you shown her Yo Gabba Gabba? She could dance and go crazy to the music while you snooze on the couch (Not that I have EVER done that…heh, heh)

    Anonymous April 11, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Dora the blessed Explorer has saved my bacon on a number of sick/tired/migranish occasions. I LOVE Dora. I LOVE Boots. I LOVE the Map & I especially love the Dora movies that captivate toddlers for nearly an hour – AN HOUR!

    God bless Dora. Do what you gotta do.

    pkzcass April 11, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Stop feeling guilty and do what you have to. She’ll survive, and she’ll be fine.

    As for being a bad mother…bad is the new good, right?

    HBM is a GREAT mother.

    Feel better.

    Assertagirl April 11, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    While I can’t say “I’ve been there,” please know that tomorrow we will relax, we will find you a comfy chair, something comforting to eat and drink and we will laugh, with the ladies, toddler-free.

    SciFi Dad April 11, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Tomorrow will be better.

    You’ll finally be face to face with me.

    No wait, that won’t make anything better. Nevermind.

    sam April 11, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Oh friend. I totally know where you are at the moment.

    I think being home and catering to a toddler is a little harder then being at work though. I feel for you!

    But! We’re almost there! We’ll almost pop out these babies and then have MORE to complain about!!

    See you tomorrow!

    Carmen April 11, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Hang in there. You’ve officially hit the wall, which means that there’s not much further to go.

    Dora can be a lifesaver. I know many times it was for me.

    Sending sleep vibes your way.

    Also? I have a most excellent “fork in cleavage” picture to send to you when I return home. It should cheer you up immensely.

    appleseed April 11, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I totally feel for ya! *remember* You know you always love them, but you don’t have to like them all the time!

    Good luck with Dora!

    Laura April 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I feel you pain. And almost exactly a year ago I could have written that post. Now I’m one hand-typing with a shrieky 10 month old on my lap, three boxes of puzzles spread out at my feet, and a 4 yr old happily stacking diapers.

    It will all end soon enough.

    Oh, and I swear I still lumber.

    kgirl April 11, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    have had that exact 48 hours myself, except i got to add, ‘dad just died’ on top of it. as i have said (numerous times) before – i love being a mother. sometimes i like it more than having kids.

    you’ll get through it, and be proud of yourself when you do. xo.

    roz April 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Being brutally tired does not = ‘bad mother’. I’ve felt the guilt so many times too and at 8 mos pregnant, I so know what you’re saying. My girl’s father is now the absolute best in her eyes because he has the energy to play like she wants. Piggy back rides, tickle games, ninja rolls into cushions… how does an egg-shaped parent compete? It hurts, but it’s not as if I’m just hanging out feeling lazy and selfish (not that there’s anything wrong with that;)- there’s a damn good reason behind my need for stationary play. Oh, and BTW… Finding Nemo. Get on it. 1.5 blissful hours.

    womaninawindow April 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    OK Here’s the cure! Find the biggest, nastiest, coloured-icing-sugared-decoarted donought…the kind you would NEVER give your kid because you ARE a good mother. Well, get one and let your little bald headed fancy stare at you in surprise. Let her dig in and get messy, get happy, get preoccupied and then clean up and relax when she falls off her sugar high into mad exhaustion. Ya…

    flutter April 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    tranq dart.

    Sass E-mum April 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Phone a friend. Actually phone anyone. Get them to come over, play with your daughter. You pretend to go out… and go upstairs to sleep, eat chocolate and recover.

    You don’t have to get through it without help.

    Miss Britt April 11, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Even super moms need sleep.

    ScientistMother April 11, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    you are not alone, we have all been there, all we want is sleep and all they want is to play, jump, go out and function on FULLSPEED. You can do it, you are AMAZING! An amazing mom who despite the fatigue, despite the utter hardness that it is to a be mom, let alone a pregnant mom, you go lumber on! There are many mom, the true bad moms, that NEVER take there child to the park, the schoolyards, the trees. Wonderbaby will survive w/o those for a few days. Call someone and go take a nap. you deserve it!

    Bea April 11, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    The thing is, you are a bad mothers when you’re eight months pregnant. You just are. I have long been uneasily aware of the way Bub’s language development simply stalled for about six months as I made my way through pregnancy and childbirth.

    But make no mistake: the part you’re in right now is the hardest part. Even the really early no-sleep post-baby part is not as bad (when you have a toddler already) as this part.

    Laural Dawn April 11, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I can so relate to this.
    It is not fun being pregnant and having a toddler.
    Do you guys have Playhouse Disney? It’s our secret weapon.

    moosh in indy. April 11, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    So sorry your having one of those couple of days.
    But I have to say a big thank you and give you a very awkward pregnant hug to say thanks for being honest about it.

    AdventureDad April 11, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    I feel like this some days as well without being pregnant or even a woman. I’ve seen Foxy Wife go through this stage and it was tough. Sounds to me like your husband is not helping out anywhere near enough.


    mothergoosemouse April 11, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Give yourself a break. One instance of excessive TV watching will not melt her brain, I promise.

    Blogversary April 11, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Oh, do I remember that feeling. I was there four months ago. And, I hope Dora is extra special today.

    Margaret April 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    When I hit this stage I believe the advice I was given was “This too shall pass” and it will . I too have a wild first born who in order to write this I have bribed with 3 minutes of plying with my digital SLR, yes I will do anything for a coffee and a few minutes in adult blog land! I have recently found a show called Super Why if you Google it maybe your creature will be interested in the spelling princess, dance lessons on you tube have helped me with the energy crazed human I am supposed to keep alive and when all else fails and I just can’t put one foot in front of the other a mattress on the floor and me on the couch seems to do the trick!
    Good luck.

    Maternal Mirth April 11, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Your blog made my bottom lip droop for you … hang in there. Plus, the world would be worse off without your fantabulous mommy-ness. You were born to be a bad mom … :)

    Mom101 April 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Am feeling for you from across the border. Sending virtual peacekeeping forces and virtual pregnancy-safe painkillers.

    Also, virtual nanny.

    marymurtz April 11, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Tranq dart, my eye. It’s called Benadryl.

    I’m only joking.

    Kind of.


    Ree April 11, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Poor baby. Hope Dora worked.

    motherbumper April 11, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    You might be on to something there – perhaps world peace could be found if we harnessed the power of the toddlers and use them to threaten any resistance to peace, love, and nappingness.

    Mumma Boo April 11, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Dora saved my butt more times than I care to count when I was on bedrest for the last 2 months of my 2nd pregnancy. She was the only thing that kept my hyperactive 4 year old entertained. I hope she worked for you today! Sending sleepytime vibes to your little one, along with “stop beating yourself up with the guilts” vibes to you. You’re a great mom and we all know it, even if you doubt it today.

    Anonymous April 11, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    wow, it’s good to hear that I’m not alone. I have 2 1/2 year old boy and I’m 8 months prego with twin girls. We went to the park today and now tonight my body feels like I just got back from a fight club session. I have started to have groceries delivered. Good luck to you.

    MommyTime April 11, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    We all have those days. Today is particularly poignant for me in that regard, as my daughter will be two tomorrow — and two years ago today I was sooo tired, and sooo uncomfortable, and sooo convinced that adding another child to the household that contained my son was crazy. And then tomorrow happened — and the world was beautiful in my daughter’s eyes.

    Although I know you are not due tomorrow, you will most certainly have a pair of beautiful eyes to look into soon. And today’s feelings are normal. And so are tomorrow’s. And that’s what being a mother means.

    Hang in there.

    And rely on Dora (or the Backyardigans!) as much as you need to right now.

    the mama bird diaries April 11, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    I’m hoping that little Dora worked her charm so you could get a little downtime.

    Cara April 12, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Hang in there, this to shall pass. I find that chocolate peanutbutter swirl ice cream with M&M on top helps.

    Kyla April 12, 2008 at 11:33 am

    One day last year, I think, BubTar said, “Hey Mom, remember that time I was SO hungry and you wouldn’t get me a snack? You said, ‘No, I just want to lay down and rest right now.’”

    And I said, “No, I don’t remember that…when was it?”

    And he said, “When you were SO BIG with a KayTar in your belly.”

    And I thought, that explains it. It is hard to be miserably pregnant and keeping up with a toddler. But it gets easier soon. It does.

    crazymumma April 12, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Oh honey. I know.

    And the damn weather. But there is tonight, tonight will be fun.

    FishyGirl April 12, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Oy, Catherine. We’ve all been there, you’re in the worst of it now. Seriously. I hope Dora did the trick, and if it didn’t, may I suggest, if you get it, the entire viewing lineup of Noggin. There’s bound to be something in there she likes. It saved my sorry, tired ass numerous times.

    kittenpie April 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Honey, you’re not a bad mother, you’re a human being. I tired, hugely pregnant human being. with a toddler. Of course you are tired and want to plug her into something so you can rest. Do NOT make this about you being a bad mother, because it’s not that at all. It’s about meeting the most basic of need right now, and as long as she’s fed and occasionally bathed, you’re doing fine. It’ll get better later, and she’ll have lived.

    Anonymous April 12, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Our 2 year old loves books on tape…Winnie the Pooh. We make a nest on the floor of pillows and blankets and turn on the CD. She will lay there for more than an hour just listening and making up the visual story in her own mind. She often asks for this and it holds her attention for longer than a animated video. ‘Just an example of something that works for us to buy the adults a little down time. It is exhausting to be responsible for the saftey of a toddler 24/7 especially when you are feeling tired and close to overwhelmed. There is a fine line between challenged and overwhelmed. Use every tool available to you to reduce the frequency of feeling overwhelmed. Make a list of, and call in, the reinforcements. You have to take care of yourself before you are any good for anyone else. That is hard to do when you are ultimately responsible for the safety of an active toddler. Do you have anyone you can call to spell you off? I find people are basically good and they want to help you if you ask for it. I do think there is a reluctance to involve yourself with other people’s children so that means you are going to have to ask, instead of waiting for people to offer. Do you have a list of paid personnel, babysitters, who can come over and do some kind of activities that she likes such as playing, crafts, baking, anything where they run the session, and clean it up, so you can do whatever you need to recharge your batteries. A friend once told me you are a pitcher of juice and every time you do something for someone you pour out a glass of juice and that’s okay, and you can do that ALL DAY LONG just as long as you remember NEVER to pour out the last glass before you make more juice. Taking care of yourself is making more juice. You need some down time. It’s not a crime, its normal. Give yourself permission to take it.

    Kim/2 Kids April 12, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I just have one thing to say, thank god for TV. I remember when my girls first noticed ads on TV and wanted everything they saw. Mommy, I want the pregnant transexual barbie, I want the carcinogen laden Froot Loops and I want to lumber in the flame inducing pajamas.

    Just enjoy an afternoon of TV and deal with the repercussions later.

    Chris April 13, 2008 at 12:55 am

    I don’t know which is worse kids at 3 or teenagers…I have both. Arghhhh…Hanging in there. Before you know it your children will have thier own and all you have to do is spoil your grandchildren and it’s payback time…LOL

    Izzy April 13, 2008 at 1:05 am

    I just want to point out that all those times you were able to do everything WB wanted to do and going above and beyond the call of motherhood because you love her so much — those times are like redeemable tokens for the times, like now, in which you’re feeling so bad about not being able to such things. Pop in a DVD — hell, have your husband pick up an armful from Blockbuster or Target or whatever and let her revel in the joy of something new and exciting while you take a much-needed rest. I promise she won’t hold it against you when she’s 25. Hang in there :)

    Jaelithe April 13, 2008 at 2:21 am

    You are NOT a bad mother.

    I let my son watch too much TV at least one day a week, and I’m not even pregnant.

    Older siblings have had to put up with exhausted cranky pregnant mothers since the dawn of time, and yet oldest children still wind up with superior IQ scores and leadership skills. So it can’t be too permanently devastating to have one’s mother’s attention diverted by the creation/arrival of a sibling.

    (If that were the case then I, as the oldest of three kids, separated from my sister by less than two years, and subjected to a younger brother right as I hit puberty, would probably be much more of a basketcase than I am.)

    I’m sorry you’re having to put up with so many tantrums, though. I wish I could watch Wonderbaby for you for three hours so you could take a nap.

    Anonymous April 13, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Wow. I could have posted this… right down to Dora as my final hope.

    Somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that being a “good mom” means that not only will I be good at it, but that I should enjoy it too. Only, not so much sometimes, you know?

    I probably spend a bit too much time playing the “what the hell was I thinking / how did I get here” game. Usually somewhere around the 4th hour of a never-ending tea party or picking playdough out of my hair.

    Anyway, thanks for the co-miserying.

    the new girl April 13, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Oh man.

    You DON’T have to say how much you love them.

    The fact that you didn’t run, naked and screaming from the house is evidence enough.

    I’m using the term run loosely, you know, for the bigly pregnant.

    liz April 14, 2008 at 12:05 am

    I ditto Finding Nemo. You’re doing a great job.

    Anonymous April 14, 2008 at 11:26 am

    oh HBM have i been there self-loathing exhausted nothing going right days.and darling toddlers can really wear one down.but you are a great mum and tomorrow will be a better day. LAVANDULA

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