I remember writing essays in school on ‘Autobiography of a pencil’, ‘First Day at School’ ‘A Day of my vacation’ etc. One had to be creative and imaginative in these essays as the reality would just not cut it, especially if you wanted marks. But not in my wildest of dreams would I have ever imagined that a normal day in the life of a Mother could be worthy of some Pulitzer content. I guess I blame my friends and family for hiding this truth from me. Either all my ‘mom’ friends are super-moms or they just wanted to keep this little secret from me so that I am also caught unaware and ill prepared just like them.
So here I go writing an essay about 1 Day in the life of a Mother hoping that my other ‘to be mom’ friends are better prepared when the day comes…
Midnight to 2 am
It’s one of those rare nights when husband is not around. At midnight, I have just fallen into deep sleep and my 7 month baby starts to cry. Thanks to years of evolution that has ingrained a strong maternal instinct and a need to protect a child, I wake up with a jerk. But ofcourse there are no bears in sight so I got to decide what to do. This is not my baby’s time for milk and so I go with my gut instinct to pull her out of the cot and swing her side to side. The crying increases. I immediately take another decision to not listen to my gut instinct. I leave her in the cot and rush to make her milk. The bright light in the kitchen along with the loud crying of my child in the background, were indications that a tiny headache is on its way. I quickly make the formula milk and rush back to the room, only to see my baby fast asleep. While a part of me wants to wake her up and force the milk on her, evolution trumps those thoughts with feelings of love and care.
The mini headache ensures that I don’t fall back to sleep right away. Tossing and turning, knowing fully well that in the next 1 hour will be my baby’s actual time to wake up for milk
2 am to 5 am
I can barely wake up to feed my daughter. Usually she falls asleep instantly after drinking her milk. However today she decided to stand up for my headache and not let it die a slow natural death. My baby is wide awake and smiling at me (Read it as laughing at me). I try everything to put her back to sleep. After a lot of swaying and walking like an Egyptian I finally put her to sleep. While slowly sliding her back in the cot, my elbow hits the cot’s side and she wakes up crying. My headache has now shifted to the 3rd gear. After a lot more swaying and begging when she finally goes into her deep sleep, I stay awake nursing a headache and legache, incessantly scrolling on websites about ‘How to put a baby to sleep’, ‘What to do when your baby won’t stop crying’…
8 am to noon
I wake up a zombie. My husband has changed my baby’s diaper. And for some inexplicable reason, he has carefully placed the poop filled diaper in the same tray with the clean new diapers. At 11 am when my baby does her second poop for the day, I keep the tray on the bed to change her. It is important to know here that at 7 months, babies have learnt how to flip on stomach and stand up on their own. And so they don’t see any point in lying down while you have to change their diaper. They would like to stand and reach out to whatever they can. Since it’s my lucky day, my girl grabs the dirty diaper filled with poop on the tray and flings it on the bed. I suddenly don’t know what’s happening as I had just cleaned her. The poop was all over my bedsheet, mobile, burp cloth, toys and now my hands. It took a few seconds to decide what I need to do first. My thoughts at the time are nicely captured in the song Bhaag Bhaag DK Bose.
1 pm to 3 pm
I cook lunch for my baby. I get her seated on the high chair, put the bib, strap her well and bring her food. She has 2 spoons and then rejects the food.
My mom says ‘You made it too thick’. I go and grind it with some water. My baby refuses to eat.
My mom says ‘This spoon is not the right one’. I go wash her silver spoon and feed her. My baby refuses to eat.
My mom says ‘She doesn’t like eating on high chair’. So I make her sit on mom’s lap and feed her. She refuses to eat.
My mom says ‘Give her some water and then feed her’. I give her some water and then feed her. She refuses to eat.
My mom says ‘Maybe she doesn’t want to eat’. At this point, I don’t know who harassed me more; my baby or my mom. Maybe my mom was secretly making me compensate for all her ‘Days in the life of a mother’. If she is, I don’t blame her. I’ll wait for my day too. EeeeHahahahaha (That was my evil laugh in case you didn’t get it)
4 pm to 6 pm
Some friends have come over. They meet my baby and play with her and make her laugh. They are full of praises for her good behaviour. “She is so calm”. “She is so angelic”. “She is so well behaved”. I want to say “Well ofcourse she is amazing if you only have to play with her. Why don’t you try feeding her, changing her and putting her to sleep!!!!!!!!!”. But all I do is smile as Evolution has ensured we mothers care for our babies far too much to bitch about them.
7 pm to 10 pm
For those who are blessed with no children, let me tell you this is called a Witching Hour. Basically hourS when the baby simply doesn’t stop crying. So here she goes again… I have done everything by the book. Not stimulated her too much before sleep time. Made sure she is not hungry. Given her a bath… Yet she is passionately crying. And if I try to soothe her, she cries more. If I sway her, even more. I am moving around with her trying a million things to make the crying stop, all in vain. Those websites and baby books I read don’t know a thing I say!! The incessant crying numbs my brain and ears. Then comes the entry of her dad. As she sees him, she literally stretches every part of her body towards him as though I was the 90s movie villain keeping the heroine from her hero. If she could fly, she would have done that right now. And as soon as he takes her in his arms, she stops crying and gives him her broad signature smile. There is silence again in all our lives. In the famous words of Phoebe Buffay, I could now hear the sounds of birds and traffic. I could hear the voices in my head, one of which was saying ‘What the fudge!!!!’.
The headache is no longer bothering me because a more severe backache has taken over. I plonk myself on the sofa with feelings of self-doubt and self-depreciation “Am I a terrible mother or is my husband just a damn good father”. I silently abuse all those ‘mom’ friends of mine who did not write this blog before me. I start to write quickly as I know tomorrow morning when she wakes up and gives me her broad signature smile, I will forget all the pain and fall in love with her more. Damn you evolution!