The books don't warn you about everything. "What to Expect when you are Expecting" doesn't even cover half of it. They don't tell you how your life will never be the same. It never covers the basics on how to cook, shower, clean house, make the bed, do laundry and go pee with a baby permanently attached to your hip. And they definitely don't tell you how to find the time to do that without the baby attached to your hip. There is no chart to follow on how many days like that there will be - or how to prepare ahead of time for those days. They definitely don't give you a guide book to follow at 3 am. There's no chapter telling you how that crying in the middle of the night will not only rip your heart out - but make you worry for the next few hours through interrupted sleep if you are missing some horrific sign of something terribly wrong. How you will find yourself creeping into the room frequently just to see their little chests move up and down and hear their sweet little breath. Even 9 years later when they are not babies, you will still worry just as much. And they definitely don't tell you how to function the next day on your precious 2 hours of sleep.
My husband was away for a week. I usually look forward to his trips away. The evenings are quiet, I don't have to fight for the remote, more room on the couch, the blankets and I can guarantee more than 3 inches of the bed. It's actually a nice little break and then when he comes back we like each other's company again....for a few days.
This particular week, I was not so enthused about him being away. I was sick. Poor little Cameron and Tim were both sick and it was not a pleasant house to be in. See, I have multiple personalities; one personality is when I am well rested and the horrible personality that comes out when I haven't slept is this evil twin that I don't recognize.
I started out this week by myself as that evil twin. And it only continued to get worse. No sleep, still sick, baby up multiple times throughout several nights and my big helper Tim was sick on the couch - needing me too.
And then the washing machine broke.
I guess there wasn't enough to deal with. A broken washing machine? Sure. Why not?
Needless to say, a nervous breakdown - or a few - were inevitable. And when my Mom and Dad called to see how I was holding up without my husband I squeaked out "Fine...." and then broke down in a heap of tears and sobs. And because being a Mom is something you never grow out of, my Mom's heart broke. In her mind I was that little baby all over again crying for her in the middle of the night. Something hurt - and she wanted to fix it. They drove 8 hours to come and save me. Just as simply as walking across the hallway in the middle of the night to check her baby's breathing. My Mom and I have had our share of problems over the years - but in the end I am her daughter and she is my Mother. It was a simple choice for her.
The other things those books don't tell you? How you will never be first on the list again, how your own sleep will take a back burner, your priorities, list of things to do, everything that you thought mattered before -- all of a sudden pales in comparison to making sure that baby is ok. You will give everything you have for that little one. And it doesn't matter how old that baby is. You will somehow muster up the strength to tend to him when he cries for you 8 times in one night - and you will do it all over again the next night. You will ignore your own desire to lay on the couch when you are sick and you will tend to his every cough and request for juice, gently kissing his sweet 9 year old forehead -- wishing you could take all his pain. You will muster up the strength to drive 8 hours when she needs you to hold her own baby for a while so she can rest. You just do it.
No rewards. No compensation. No holiday bonuses or over time.
Just because they call you;