“It Gets Better…”—Okay, So When Exactly?

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28 Weeks

28 Weeks

Everybody said so: “raising kids gets easier with time, it does get better”.

These wise souls just didn’t say when.

Some days, I’m incredibly frustrated with Mark, so frustrated that I feel like bursting into tears and sobbing uncontrollably. Correction—I do sob uncontrollably but can’t indulge for too long because I usually have to comfort Mark afterwards.

Some days, I wish I could run away and start a new life somewhere in the jungle under a new identity (like “Jane”, for instance).

Some days, I wonder if I will ever get a life back. Like, you know, being able to relax a bit, and indulging in spending more than five seconds in the bathroom.

I’m not going to lie: raising a baby is probably the hardest job I have ever had. It beats being on call 24/7 for a political party or standing around in the cold selling flowers in front of a LCBO (yes, I had shitty jobs in the past).

I just want Mark to be happy. Sure, he is going to cry once in a while, but I hate the constant whining, sobbing, drama, crankiness, fusiness. Okay, maybe it’s not “constant” but it certainly feels like it some days.

I don’t mind completing the “baby duties”, such as feeding, bathing, changing, entertaining, teaching, playing, cutting nails and hair, cleaning, etc. Sure, it’s tiring and somewhat repetitive but I feel like I accomplish something.

What I hate is trying to keep a fussy six-month-old baby busy. There is only so much you can do with a baby. You can’t play for too long, they get tired and frustrated. You can’t really do your usual tasks and include the baby in them—they demand a lot of attention and you have to stop whatever you were doing every five seconds. So you are left being frustrated because you can’t exactly just sit around all day with the baby in your arm.

Some days, I just don’t have the energy anymore. I’m so tired that I can’t think straight. I barely remember what I did the previous day, and I can only hope for the day to end. I’m going through the motion in autopilot and the worst part is, I feel like I don’t have any stamina left for “fun stuff”, like playing with Mark or just being a “nice mother” instead of his personal slave.

Cause that’s what it feels like—bloody slavery. “I’m hungry, feed me”. “I’m tired, hold me.” “I’m bored, make funny noises.” Okay, he doesn’t exactly say that but that’s how it works and trust me, he knows how to get what he wants.

He is strong too. He kicks, punches, hits, and I have to “restrain” him when I change him, bath him or feed him so that he doesn’t get hurt—and so that I don’t get more bruises. I hate that. I wish we could cuddle, I don’t always feel like being kicked all the time, nine months of that was enough, merci beaucoup.

And it’s just the two of us, Feng and I. Whenever I take a break, Feng has to take care of him, whenever he is busy it’s my turn. Because of course, on top of being parents-in-training, we are also both working, both freelancing from home. But I don’t truly relax when Feng takes care of him—not because I don’t trust him he does an awesome job, but because I know he is as tired and busy as I am. And I’m terrified one of us is going to break down, mentally or physically. And we have no backup. It’s the two of us and Mark, that’s it.

That’s a shitload of responsibilities on my shoulders. And I do take my role seriously… but I can only do so much.

I don’t know how other people do it. I feel bad complaining, really, because I think we still have it easy. Mark is, despite everything I just wrote, fairly easy-going. I met a mother at the playground who had twins the same age as Mark, and one of them has Down Syndrome—how does she do it? I see parents with two, three, four very young kids—they seem to survive just fine.

Am I just a whiner? It’s kind of taboo to write, as a mother, that you are tired of your own kid. I hate admitting it, but that’s how I feel sometimes.

I wish someone could take care of me like I take care of baby Dragon.

I know Mark is cute, that he is bright and smart, and that he loves us. Well, hopefully he does.

But some days… some days, I wish it’d be easier. Who would have thought being a family was so much work?

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

22 Comments

  1. Hang in there Zhu! I am right with you. What saved me was to put the baby at daycare. In Texas, we have some mommy day out facilities (churches or public), the gym (where you can drop baby for couple of hours). I love my baby but it feels sometimes it is hell and pure slavery.

    We are leaving tomorrow for our 1st overseas trip to visit family. Hopefully we will have some free help for 2 weeks and I can rest and sleep in until maybe 7 or 8 am (sounds like a luxury, right 🙂 )

    Caroline

  2. I don’t really know what to say nor I am able to give you wise advice as, you know, I don’t know.
    I would be in OT, I would have gladly offered some babysitting (I am VERY good with babies. Not. But who cares :))
    But I send you hugs and courage, and I am SURE it gets better.
    <3

    • Hugs and support is always appreciated! To be honest, I suck at accepting help anyway. I guess I’m a control freak…?

  3. I’m sorry I don’t have any great advice as I don’t have any children.

    I was wondering how you have enough quiet time to concentrate on your translation work? I can’t imagine doing this work and having to take care of a baby at the same time. How do you do it? I can’t get anything done unless I have complete silence.

    Personally, I think that children under 3 really require a lot of patience and time. I think that I would have a really difficult time; as an introvert I need a lot of “me time”.

    There are a lot of parents that feel like you do – don’t despair!

    • I only work when he sleeps or when someone else (Feng) is taking care of him, otherwise I can’t focus. I love my job though and I’m not giving up… for both financial and mental reasons, I need to do something else than baby-raising! But yeah, it’s not easy.

  4. I think all mothers feel this, but it is so worth it. It is such a worthwhile job and Mark really is gorgeous…it gets better, hang in there 😉 I have no children, but I can’t wait to have them! You are clearly doing a fab job with this little man. Look at everything you have accomplished in life, yeah I bet it is hard work…hell, I can barely cope with the dog and no job sometimes!! But what an amazing job to have 🙂 much love to you, Feng and Mark! X

  5. When we talk about our job, we talk about “full time” job, right? And when we talk about taking care of a child, it’s “full time” job too, isn’t it ?
    So, aren’t you trying to manage two jobs at the same time? I mean I know serveral housewife or mother who stopped working to raise their kid, I know even more who hired a nanny or put their child in day care so they can go work during the day. I don’t know many who tries to manage the two at the same time.
    Maybe it’s hard because you have too much on your plate. Caroline had a good suggestion. Mark is a big boy now, you could leave him in day care for half a day or a day and see how it goes?
    Courage Madame ! 😉

  6. Aww honey I feel your pain. My eldest was such a handful as a baby/toddler but has been a breeze through the teenage years. Being a new mum can be extremely overwhelming but as mark becomes more independent when he can walk and tell you what he wants it does become so much easier, hang on in there the next few months will bring huge changes for you both x

  7. This is where grandparents come in very handy! I fully admit, that’s part of my master plan. But for the grandparents in Portugal, this is their first chance and I know they are looking forward to helping.

    I realize the grandparent/extended-family help scenario is not feasible for many people for lots of reasons, but I know some parents who have kids with similar ages who take turns with childcare. This is an alternative for those who can’t afford nannies (there’s plenty of nanny-sharing here, too). It would be nice if you could find a mutually-beneficial situation with other freelancing parents of small children so it wouldn’t require money, just some coordination.

    I did a LOT of babysitting of my five nieces and nephew (5 kids born within 5 years) when I lived in Vancouver and I saved their parents a crapload of money! The middle child recently got onto Google+ and personally thanked me for it, which I found both amusing and touching. Once the kids start to become more independent, it does get easier.

    I hope you can get some relief soon. I remember my best friend’s first son and my godson (now 14) nearly drove her to brink — he cried inconsolably every single day for the first few years of his life. She took him to the hospital because he simply wouldn’t stop crying, to the point of screaming. She’s since had two more kids, years later, and her firstborn is very well-behaved and mellow now. So there’s HOPE!

    • Feng’s parents are nearby and do help… ahem, try to. To a certain extend. But Mark was screaming anytime they were holding him, so it was just adding more stress. It’s getting better though… I think. I hope!

  8. I think it becomes more normal. Every stage so far has had it’s challenges. For one, I love that I just have to make her food, rather than feed her! (I know you can’t wait for this.) And independence of walking on your own, not having to get off a chair with mom, or off the bed. They are all stages, some way more fun (and cuter) than others. 🙂 I think it’s all what you make of it. If you aren’t working much, enjoy it. I loved my time off when I could cook and pay more attention to me! Life changes and so do the activities…

    • Unfortunately (or fortunately, actually!)’ I do work since I don’t get mat leave as a freelancer, so days are super busy. But I agree, some stages make life easier for us, parents 🙂

  9. Alessandra Cayley on

    Hello, Zhu, I stumbled upon your blog when doing some searches for baby stuff on the net. Then, I found it pretty interesting and kept reading until I got to this post. Gosh, I could put my name on it! That’s EXACTLY how I feel, sometimes (a lot of times, actually!) congratulations for being brave enough to admit it. Posts like yours help us all to understand that this feeling is commom, that is not only you and that things will do get better! My baby Alicia is 8 months and change. Although I am on mat leave, I am on my own with her all day, as daddy works, his family doesn’t live close and mine lives abroad. I am exactly how you feel. Sometimes, I wish she could sleep all day so I could catch up on my duties, or go to washroom and enjoy the moment! 🙂
    All the best to you on this journey, mom! I am sure Mark knows how much he is loved by you, do not worry about these moments!

    • Hi Alessandra,

      How much I wish I could tell you I understand how you feel! I think many of us are on the same boat. Well, Mark is almost two now and I can tell you it does get better. It doesn’t happen overnight, but things change… sometime it’s easier, sometime it’s harder, but with kids. everything is a stage. I hope you can find time to take care of yourself because it does matter–you matter as a mother, but also as a person.

      Please, feel free to send me an email if you feel down or lonely. You’re not alone!

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