Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I received a text yesterday from a friend of mine who just delivered her second baby.  I struggle with text messages because of their lack of intended tone, but every so often, there are those that chime through, jump off the screen and come across loud and clear. This text was of that sort.

She simply said she was losing it. I quickly sent a few responses saying things like "Go easy on yourself. Be patient. You'll figure it out. It gets easier." Bla, bla, bla. None of these statements did much for me in those first few weeks and months, but I was getting dinner on the table and in the middle of my own juggling act.
Our exchange that evening ended with this text that still remains unanswered in my inbox.  It says

"When does it get easier?"
Ok. Now I have to halt, and remember how it feels to need someone to stop and hear you.  It shouldn’t take a huge reach into my memory bank, I believe it was last Thursday.  But, this response deserved some thought and a quiet house with sleeping children.  I love quiet houses with sleeping children. 
So, what do I offer that is both true and encouraging?  Is there a magic month that unlocks a new level of ease?  Is it 6 weeks?  The only special thing that happened for me at 6 weeks postpartum was my hypertension diagnosis.  Maybe 3 months?  6? 9?  I heard all of these markers, and either they came and went with no relief, which only served to heighten my anxiety that I was doing something wrong, or in my current frenetic state, they seemed an eternity away.
I don't think there is a formula for figuring out when it gets easier. There are many factors and every woman's situation is different.  Isabelle is almost 9 months old and I have found about 4 or 5 different lulls that I thought were the top of the mountain only to find myself facing another peak.  But, because I have come to expect them, I feel more equipped to climb them.
So, after some thought, I’ve decided I'm going to answer that text with a phone call offering an ear and assurance that all she is feeling is normal, and a newly defined word, that after many self spoken repetitions, successfully and naturally brought my blood pressure down from the stroke zone.  It is this:
BALANCE – acceptance of the insanity

Because this had such positive effects, I've decided to have more fun with Webster:

Ok, well that first one is all I've got. But, I welcome thoughts from other mothers of older children!  Do these words ever find their way back into our dictionary?


Erin @ Momfog said...

They make brief appearances in our working vocabulary and then disappear into obscurity again. I have kids from 2 to 12. There are good days and bad days. It always helps to have a friend to talk to and I'm sure your friend appreciates your willingness to listen.

emily said...

Thank you, Erin! I will long for those days! For now, I am learning to enjoy the chaos...mostly:) And you are my hero for being capable of raising 5 kids AND writing an awesome blog! thanks for stopping by!

Heather said...

When does it become easier?

When we accept the new “norm” that isn't normal at all. When we realize that the words you listed above never really left our vocabulary, they simply changed in meaning for us and are used in different contexts. We regain control when we let some of it go...and just so you know; it’s ok to grieve the loss of the old meanings and our old “norms”. I grieved my once carefree life in spite of being head over heels in love with my new life as a mom (well, head over heels on most days anyway).

After much reflection of the question, "when does it get easier,” I’ve come to realize that I don't believe it gets easier as our children get older or as they reach new milestones. I think it gets easier as we get older. It gets easier when we can reconcile who we were (when we didn't have wee ones depending on us 24/7…you know, when it was easier) with who we are now.

None of this is helpful to the mom who is in the midst of “losing it.” There are no words…all you can do is offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or babysitting services for an hour. ;o)

emily said...

Beautifully said, my dear friend. And excellent advice from an amazing mommy. I look to you for guidance as you skillfully pave the way!

Anonymous said...

Can't I "like" a blog like on FB? I ask that because I feel I have no words of wisdom today due to the fact that, in unison, I have a 2 year old calling me from his crib and a 4 year old asking me to wipe his tushy. Please tell your friend to hang in there and to remember that it's ok to admit she's only enjoying "every other minute" as a Mother. That revelation has never left my mind since we had infants of our own and were asking each other, "when will it get easier?" I am so proud of you, Em, for writing this blog. It's a true joy to read your posts!! xoxo

Sue Odell said...

Easier? No... I have an 11yr old girl, 5 yr old girl and 3 yr old boy. Parenting never becomes easier, you just learn to adapt. My mother (mother of 4 ranging from 55 - 37) still says parenting isn't easy even when they are grown & gone. It just presents a new range of challenges and again you learn to adapt. BUT the important thing is we CAN learn to adapt.

emily said...

I'm loving all of these thoughts. Thank you all for taking the time to share. My dear "anonymous" best friend....what would I do without you? And, Sue...That is what I feared! I know my Dad NEVER stopped worrying.

Naptimewriting said...

Nope, not easier. Except that it does. Because the stuff that's really hard now gets easier. In exchange for harder stuff. Newborn is hard regardless of whether you have another child. Infant is hard regardless of how many children. Toddler is really, really, really hard. But is it harder than newborn? Not harder. Different hard. After age four there is more breathing and more blinking. But it's not easy.
And it won't help to say this, but it depends on you and it depends on the kids. I'm really tightly wound. My firstborn is really tightly wound. My second is mellow and funny until he's angry and then he is borderline sociopathic. And that's different than for mellow parents of two fighters or anxious parents of mellow kids. But I know you can't change you or them. You just hang on for the ride.

Emily @ Motherfog said...

We have a similar scenario here, naptime. I could not be wound tighter, my son is very similar to me and my daughter, baby number 2 is amazingly easy going.....until she is not. Maybe it's a "second child" syndrome.