When I was a child all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mommy. I was the best mommy to my dolls, changed their clothes in the morning and at bedtime. They had car seats in my mom’s car and their own beds in my room. This is how I imagined my life would be when I was seven years old.
The day we brought our beautiful son, Ethan, home from the hospital, I quickly realized it was much more than “playing” with dolls. He was a real person that we were now responsible for keeping alive. Thank god my husband had one month paternity leave and he was not off to work the next day leaving me with a hungry, crying, pooping being. Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy to be a mother; but, I was scared! I am sure this is how most parents feel when they bring home their first child. Nothing had gone as I had hoped at the end of my pregnancy. I had a beautiful “natural” birth plan. I was going to tough it out with no epidural and very little pain meds as possible. Then I would go home with a perfect little boy who would be the best breast feeder ever know to man. I guess my plan was not in sync with the bigger plan. I ended up with a C-section because my blood pressure was too high to attempt a natural birth. Then there was breast feeding. I quickly learned that this was one of the hardest tasks in the world!! I had a lactation consultant come in and try to help me out, she pinched me, manipulated me and told me that I would need a special contraption to help with breastfeeding. WRONG! This was not the plan I had, so I began to pump and feed our son with a bottle. I was the first time (though not the last) I felt like a failure as a mother.
There I was, sitting on the floor of our dining room, holding my four day old baby, water pouring from the ceiling of our laundry room (from the condo above us) and my husband on the phone telling me that the doctor that discharged me had given me the wrong person’s paper prescription for my pain meds and the only medication she could call in for me was one that was not as strong. The tears began to fall and they were uncontrollable. Thank god for my wonderful husband, he did all he could and got me calmed down. The days went on and we quickly figured out that we had a wonderful, laid back baby. He slept well. He ate well. He was just a good baby!!
As for all parents, life has moved quickly. By the time I went back to work he was sleeping through the night (feel free to cuss us out now). My plan was back on track. His first birthday came and went; he hit all the milestones at just the right time. We made it through the “terrible twos” with no problem. Three was not a very hard age either. We were moving along with the notion that we had a perfectly happy, well behaved child. Then we hit four. My child seemed to turn a very sharp corner. He turned into a “real” boy and with that came real boy energy. Where had my sweet, cuddly little boy gone? He was replaced by a back-talking, screaming, tantrum throwing spawn of a demon.
I remember thinking that the hard years would be the teenage years. I knew we had a long time to prepare ourselves for this time. I was not prepared for this to happen at age four. This would be a whole year (maybe a little more) of feeling like a failing parent. It was so hard for me to accept that I could not control my child’s behavior at home. He is now five and we still struggle weekly with some of the same behavior, but by in large it has gotten much better. THANK GOD FOR PRESCHOOL!!