Before Baby L joined us I was full of the usual second child worries. Will I have enough love for both of them? Will they get on? Will I cope with no sleep again? Will I ever manage to get out the house again? But I can honestly say none of my worries linked back to things like changing nappies, bathing, or generally knowing how to keep a tiny person alive. I had this air of confidence around the whole thing. I was a second time parent. No silly little worries for me!
How very wrong I was. ‘No two babies are the same’ everyone kept telling me. But you can’t help yourself from just assuming you will have another child just like the one before.
L was a boy, not a girl. That should have got me worried to begin with. He went overdue, Little I was early. All these warning signs in the beginning that I didn’t pick up on. Warning signs that things were not going to be the same as before. That we were going to be on a completely different parenting ride, this time around.
Little I (apart from an eight week period of colic) was a pretty good baby. You could count on her to want specific things at specific times and she thrived on routine.
L does not. He likes to keep me on my toes and mix it up. All day. Every day. We’ll have a run of two or three days where I’ll feel like a routine is starting to form then BOOM out of no where, he is back to the crazy cling on and screechy baby. Not nice.
I’ve forgotten how to parent. I really don’t have a bloody clue what I’m doing! L is such a difficult baby, bless his little tiny nose, and I struggle on a day to day basis on how to deal with him. Some days we’ll have wonderful days where he wakes up happy, we have breakfast, we play, he naps, we go out, we have lunch, we play, he has another little nap, we have snacks, we feed, we play, we do the bath and bedtime routine, and only 1/8 of the day is spent crying or screaming. Then we have other days where it feels like he screams or is unsettled from the moment he wakes up, till the moment he (very reluctantly) goes to sleep at night.
Silent reflux and cow’s milk protein intolerance, you have a lot to answer for. Damn you!
On the days when he screams all day, I genuinely forget how to parent. I can barely manage to put a nappy on him and get him dressed without messing it up and getting it all wrong. It is the strangest thing. I’ll forget the wipes, then I’ll leave the nappy upstairs, then I’ll forget to put it in the nappy bin. All things (as a rather regimented and OCD type person) that just make no sense to me.
I panic. I don’t know what to do. I walk around with him instead of trying to put him down for a nap because I’m scared. With Little I she napped a specific times and went down awake. Every day. Why can’t I do that with L? What am I afraid of?
I tiptoe around the house when he does sleep, where as with Little I we weren’t quiet at all. We figured the more noise she heard whilst she slept, the better a sleeper she would be. And she is a good sleeper to this day! Why am I doing the opposite this time?
I forget to put things in his changing bag, which I very rarely used to do when Little I was a baby. It’s as if my brain is in survival mode and just focuses on getting us out of the house and not remembering anything for past that situation.
I get these moments where I feel so utterly overwhelmed I can’t function. I can’t figure out what to do next or where I need to go. It’s so frustrating.
When he is fed, changed, entertained, comfortable, not tired and still screaming, I genuinely lose it. I practically had a checklist with Little I and never really had any situations where she would still be upset if everything on the list had been done. I have no idea what to do and how to make him better so I just hold and rock him, letting him scratch and me, grab my hair and carry on screaming in my face. It’s so hard.
I have literally ripped up the parenting guide from last time and am completely winging it (and failing) this time.
There is a lot more pressure this time around though, which could be contributing to my feelings of sheer panic, feeling overwhelmed and self doubt. This time maternity leave doesn’t really feel like maternity leave, with the blog and YouTube channel being a full time job in itself. I, obviously, have another little one to take care of at the same time. And the husband is away 90% of the time. Perhaps all of this is adding up and stopping my brain from functioning and believing in myself.
I just want to be happy. So that my kids can be happy. And, to me, happiness is helped along by some form of a routine where I can overcome the fact that I feel completely overwhelmed.
Have you ever felt too overwhelmed to parent?