Massaging the fine line between “keeping it real” and “perilously close to whining”


I feel bad. All personal writing is cyclical: it reflects the overall temperature of your life. There are good days, there are bad days, but a bad day amid a string of good ones projects a different feel than a good day amid a string of difficult ones.

Life with a newborn is indeed life with a tyrant–a sweet and cuddly tyrant, but a tyrant nonetheless, with whims and no schedule, virtually no predictability and thus, no way to do anything but react. And it is this that makes the six month mark such a relief. For some reason, the six month mark is when everyone hits their stride again–or, in Baby’s case, for the first time. During those first six months, there are lots of lovey moments, lots of joy and laughs and moments of amazement–but none of that changes the fact that those first six months are freaking hard, no matter how many times you do it.

We’re not quite halfway through those first six months. And I know that is the nature of my recent doldrums in attitude. I am trying to blog positively, or at least as positively as I can, but I also want to be real about things. The problem is, I can feel the drag from below in every post lately, until I feel like I’m massaging the fine line between being real and just plain old whining.

And although I know it will turn around in its own time, I hate the frustration and desperation I’ve been feeling lately. Because every time I post about unending sickness or lack of spirit-fill time, every time I feel the drag from below in my public reflections, I think of those who aren’t parents yet, who’ll get scared off parenthood by my posts. And I think of those whose hearts bleed with every complaint from those of us blessed with children–those who, like me not so long ago, long for the very chaos that’s kicking my butt.

Today being Valentine’s Day, I think I should at least acknowledge that the reason I do all this self-emptying is because I love them so much. I love Alex’s creativity and fierce love for his siblings, Julianna’s dusky giggle and ability to elevate the ordinary, Nicholas’s impossible cuteness and the way Michael looks at me like he can’t get enough. I love the fact that even though yesterday’s snow day was a really rough, unproductive and sedentary day, it began with all four of them snuggled in bed with me (“mommy, I want to nuggle,” Nicholas said), and it ended with sledding in the dark. And I know that someday it’s those things I will remember, not the difficult. It doesn’t make the current difficult any less so, but it helps keep things in perspective.

Julianna, age 5

 Michael, 10 weeks

Alex, 6 3/4

Nicholas, 2 11/12 and obsessed with his birthday cake already


Shared at “Just Write”

6 thoughts on “Massaging the fine line between “keeping it real” and “perilously close to whining”

  1. I followed your comment from my blog over here… My kiddo is also 10 weeks, though I only have one, so my life is still probably less chaotic than yours. While I haven’t read all of your blogs, I’m sure that any “future” parents know that having a baby is a tough road to travel and I know when I was pregnant, I almost appreciated the blogs that were real about what I was going to go through, instead of sugar-coating it. Just a thought 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. It’s so true, what you said about that fine line… I got a reality check on that one not that long ago and it’s made me just a little self-conscious these days. But I think there’s a deep need for honesty– even about the tendency and temptation to whine 🙂

    I enjoyed your post! And I agree, those first few weeks are not even, no matter how many times you’ve done it before.

  3. First of all, I felt the same way about my babies before 6mos. You’re exactly right, at 6mos everything kind of evened out and became more manageable and predictable. But you have FOUR kids and have been sick and probably not sleeping a lot… everything seems worse when you’re not physically feeling your best. Believe me, I’ve been there.

    I also worry about scaring off future or new parents, but I think that’s less of issue than the inverse – pretending parenthood is all smiles and rainbows. I’ve heard so many people say “Why didn’t anyone tell me it was going to be like this?”

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