My mother-in-law said the other day,
“There are two kinds of people, those who say ‘There’s nothing like a laughing baby,’ and then, ‘there’s nothing like sleeping baby.’” Under my breath I mumbled,
“I kinda like both.” The following conversation detailed that those that like a sleeping baby prefer children to be out of their way, and those that like a giggling baby actually enjoy children.
So what does it mean that I like both? I ponder this with guilt lurking in the back of my head like a monster in a closet.
The first time that I heard Emma giggle my heart soared and peals of soul ebullient laughter soared from my own mouth. I am only mildly jealous that my husband seems to get more laugher out of her than I ever do. I love it, I love that half developed soft gurgle that comes bouncing out when you bounce her or tickle her feet. I find myself turning myself inside out just to hear that sweet sound. I cherish watching her new developments, seeing each new gesture and hearing each new noise. Her sheer cuteness amazes me.
But I also love it when she’s sleeping, because I can get stuff done. When she sleeps I can type a full blog uninterrupted, drink a full cup of tea without it getting cold, I can finish a thought. Right now she’s in her walker (that’s right I said walker, they were invented for a reason) and I type a sentence, look up and imitate her baby talk, hold my thought, and then look down and type again, then look up and make a face, then look down and type a sentence. (So forgive me if this entry is a little choppy.) For a few moments I can type and she bangs on her toy and talks to herself, then remembers I am not paying full attention to her and she whines until I look up and make faces at her or pick up the toy she just dropped. Then there are the times when you just sit down to read a book and just reach for that fresh cup of coffee and you hear her wail from her crib, frustration slides up your back like a selfish worm and you think, ‘Why do I even bother? Why don’t I just give up altogether and sit waiting at her door until she is done napping?’
Today I was making pico de gallo as part of dinner (otherwise known as an excuse to eat corn chips by the handful) and had to stop right as I was about to throw the cilantro in the food processor because some little creature starting climbing up my ankles. Do I ignore my little bug and continue or lean down and pick her cuteness up? Pick her up kept winning, took me a long time to make that salsa…
I struggle with this, as I am sure all mothers do, that I do cherish my child and love her, but at the same time I have a sense of self and things that I want to accomplish in my life (and my day). I think this comes from having waited to have children, before I had Emma I had worked and discovered my talents. When I had Emma I wanted her and was excited to have her, but I wasn’t sitting around waiting to have a baby to complete my life or self-hood.
So what is a mommy to do? How do you deal with these feelings of guilt or do we just accept them as part of mommyhood?