I know. And I’m sorry.
I know that I must seem like an over-tired, cranky, anxious, judgmental slob these days.
I know that sometimes my words sting, even though I don’t mean them to. It’s just that I’m used to saying sternly “Eat your dinner. Put on your shoes. Are you listening to me?” and I’m too tired most of the time to remember to soften my tone when I go from mommy-mode to wife-mode.
I know that I am hyper-focused on our two young children, often at the expense of listening to and conversing with you the way that you deserve. It’s just that when there’s a 3 year old screaming “Mommy, can you please get me more milk RIGHT NOW?!?” and a baby crying for me to pick her up, sometimes it’s hard to hear anything else.
I know that I must seem critical of your every move sometimes, suggesting (politely or not) that you hold the baby this way, talk to the 3 year old that way, dress the baby in this or the other, but definitely not that! It’s just that I get into a sort of motherhood groove (call it a ditch if you want) and I sometimes forget that there’s more than one “right” way to do things.
I know that I fly in at the end of the day like a panic-stricken, anxiety-ridden, the-world-is-crumbling-around-me kind of disaster some days. It’s just that I am worried that I won’t get everything done in time to get that baby to bed before she loses her proverbial shit and decides to stay awake for hours past her bedtime. And the thought of even less sleep than I am already getting sends me for a tailspin. Sometimes I forget that I don’t have to do it all alone, even though you’re standing in front of me telling me that.
I know that I sometimes swoop in and take over parenting tasks that you are more than capable of and totally willing to do, and then I get overwhelmed because I just can’t do it all. It’s just that I feel guilty as hell for being away from the kids all day, and I feel like I have to give them every single moment of time that I possibly can to even begin to make up for it.
I know that I am no longer the young, self-assured woman that you fell in love with 9 years ago. It’s just that this parenting thing is hard, and sometimes it shakes my confidence to the core.
I know that I don’t put much, if any, effort into my appearance these days. When I’m not at work, I’m usually wearing whatever is comfortable, easy to nurse in, and still fits me in spite of the extra 10 pounds of baby weight I’m still carrying 10 months after the baby was born. It’s just that I have no time these days to work out. Most days I’m shoving whatever vegetarian, non-dairy food I can find into my mouth so quickly that I don’t even taste it, let alone contemplate its calories and the effect it may have on my body. I know that this is a far cry from my attitude and appearance when we were married 5 years ago.
I know I don’t exude sexiness. Like, ever. It’s just that I’m so tired from being up with the baby every single night that sex is, sadly, very seldom on my mind.
I know I’m different. I know the person you are married to these days may be someone you don’t always recognize. I may or may not be someone you would have chosen if you had known. You never let on and you would never give voice to these feelings if you have them, even though I suspect that you do. But here’s the thing…I will be back. I promise you that some day soon, when the baby is sleeping and the tantrums have passed, when bedtimes are later and the kids aren’t so clingy, when I manage to get some time to focus on me, rather than on them, that I will be able to focus on you again too. When nursing is done and the house isn’t riddled with tiny things to step on or choke on, when the kids can get their own damn milk from the refrigerator and get themselves dressed in the morning, when I’ve slept for more than 3 hours at a stretch the night before, I will give you my undivided attention. So if you can stick it out with me until then, I promise I will be back and better than ever. I hope that the woman you fell in love with, and the one I will be then with a whole wealth of experience and mothering accomplishments under her belt, will be worth the wait. Thank you for waiting for me to come back. I love you.