As a mum you’re just not prepared. You can’t be.
I quit my job to stay home when I had my second baby just after her big brother turned two. Those first few months as a SAHM were, let’s say, mildly traumatising (I am underselling this). I used to call my husband Brandon at 1:30pm and ask, “Are you almost done with work?’” and he was all, “It’s 1:30.” And I was like, “You didn’t answer the freaking question. Are you on your way home or should I call 000 to help me manage these two babies??” Because no one told us not to, we added a third two years later and were ruled by a tiny army we created.
Three babies in four years.
It was a whole thing.
I wish I would have known how new babies make all feelings MORE (and this from a girl who was already fairly high on melodrama): more thrill, more love, more anguish, more adoration, more fear, more gratitude, more doubt, more crazy. You may have been an emotionally sturdy professional just a minute ago, but a newborn takes your heart and mind, squishes them into pulp in her fat little baby hands, and turns you into a woman face down in despair over a Subaru commercial.
Who is this sloppy woman in the mirror? Good lord, put on some clean pants and get your crap together.
I remember a watershed moment the second year of staying home with the littlies. Brandon came home from his glamorous job (“glamour” here meaning “out of the house”) and found me at the kitchen table, staring blankly like a poet. Or perhaps a serial killer. The kids? Not sure. I want to say they were…upstairs? Or in the backyard? They were somewhere on the property. My gosh, I wasn’t in the FBI.
Brandon, speaking slowly, like to a lunatic:
“Um, hi. You, uh, you okay there?”
“Fine. Everything is fine. Except that I’ve turned dumb. It’s fine.”
“Dumb. Now you have a dumb wife. I used to be smart. I watched CNN. Did you know that I went to university and graduated with honours?”
“I did know that because I met and married you there. Remember?”
“Well, sorry for your loss, because now I’m dumb. I sing the theme song to Blue’s Clues when the kids aren’t even around. That’s what I do now. I eat their leftover bread crusts off the floor. I can’t remember our Vice President. I told our neighbour I was 29.”
“Thank you for confirming the diagnosis, Mr Fancy job."
Some days were very much like that. Raising the littlies was sometimes the most frustrating, boring, numbing, exhausting, lonely job I’d ever had. But also, opposite.