Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Not the Mother I Thought I'd Be

I'm not the mother I thought I'd be. I know this on a gut level. But it's also made clear when I tool around the interweb. Lots of places point out just where I am falling down on the job.

Maternity is never an easy job. Mine is complicated by circumstances. I am the mother of twins who were born premature (at 25 weeks) with extreme low birth weight (each weighed a little more than a pound and a half). My daughter remains in a long-term care facility for kids where she is on a ventilator. My son lives at home with me and my partner, K. But even given all of those factors, I still am failing somehow.

I thought I'd be a baby-wearing, breast-feeding, extended maternity-leave, co-sleeping, cloth-diapering mom who bought deeply into attachment theory. The kind of mom that clothes her kids in organic cotton with ironic sayings on the onesies. I'd be a mom who played with her children all of the time, who didn't let the baby even know that TV existed, let alone watch TV. Basically the Whole Foods Version of Momzilla, but less concerned about the commercial aspects of momzillary.

I'm not that mom. Not even a little.

And some days, it eats away at me.

I know. A solution is to stop reading other sites like Urban Baby because all of the reading I do there just points out what a sucky mother I am. I read about what Manhattanites do with their Amby sleepers and their special swaddling cloths and I gnash my teeth, as I set my baby on the floor to let him fall asleep.

I beat myself up over not being able to stay at home, for using Dreft to wash clothes, for a hundred sins against my Little Bug (not to mention the guilt over not taking care of my Darling Edamame who remains in an institution and not at home, but that's a bigger guilt point of things outside my control).

Each post on some posting board is like a jabby little paper clip, cutting the skin between my fingers. But I can't help it. It's like crack to have all of my worst fears confirmed.

Hence, this blog. Most times, I know better. But there are some days where I just feel like Bad Mommy.


Stephanie said...

I don't know if you want to discuss this (feel free to delete the comment if you don't), but having twins at 25 weeks could have a lot to do with why you aren't the mom you thought you would be. You really can't do all that stuff you mentioned when your babies are in the NICU. Maybe you could do it when they got out, but you guys sort of got pointed down an unexpected track from birth.

I don't know if you've ever read the birth story I posted at Ellie's blog but I've often thought that I had the perfect birth - I got everything I wanted from the experience. Starting off like that made it really easy to worry about, say, what position my baby was sleeping in or a million other ultimately insignificant things.

I was probably pretty smug about all the "right" choices I made when Ellie was a newborn but one thing I've really learned in the intervening 2 years is that most of it was luck, or just Ellie's personality or something, but almost certainly not me.

This is getting sort of long. I think I'm responding as much to you as to my own issues regarding this upcoming baby, so I hope I'm not projecting too much onto you.

Jessica said...

I love your URL and would like to have its babies.

Valerie said...

I am with Jessica on this one. I love the URL. Also? I can't believe that the little ones are eight months.

Julie said...

Hey Kat,
You can probably win mom of the moment awards with me. My friend from Denver and I award Mom of the Moment awards to eachother each time we do something that either potentially messes up the kid or rarely that is a cool thing we never do for the kid that "good" moms must do all the time. She's the reading intervention specialist I work with. I think you probably are a kick butt mom. Glad you have a blog too.

Amy H said...

I love the url and I love the new blog even more -- I hope it's okay to pimp widely, as you're saying something that I know a lot of parents outside our shared circle have been wanting to find.