I have come to realize something poignantly: I would feel differently about motherhood if I had to be up and at ’em every morning at 5:30am.
I’m sure of this.
I’m sure of this because since we’ve arrived at Tuscon I have had to be up and at ’em at 5:45am. And I hate it.
Even when I get to bed at 9pm, like I did last night, I am not fond of getting up at 5:45am. Not in the least bit.
You see my daughter usually wakes up at 8am. Sometimes as late as 8:30am. I know this is absurd. I know mothers around the globe are shooting dagger eyes at me through their computers as they read this.
I know this is not how parenthood is supposed to be.
But it’s what I’m used to. I’m not saying Isa doesn’t sometimes wake up at 7am or 7:30am. She has gotten up even earlier than that on occasion. But the important phrase in that sentence is “on occasion”. Not all the time, just sometimes. Earlier than 8am is the outlier.
For this reason I am spoiled. Very, very spoiled.
I’m spoiled for other reasons. I’m spoiled because my daughter has an amazingly cheerful disposition. She is flexible. She is the quintessential “easy” baby. She doesn’t cry much and when she does it’s easy to get her to stop (feed her, allow her to sleep). She travels well and can handle changes to her routine with varying degrees of grace (mostly high degrees). She is, for all intents and purposes, making it very easy to enjoy mothering her.
If you think that isn’t bad enough, I’m also spoiled in our current child care situation. My sister-in-law, who is getting her master’s in Early Childhood Development in a matter of weeks, is watching Isa full-time. And while we’re dipping heavily into our savings to pay her I don’t take for granted the piece of mind it affords. Next year I might be lucky enough to work part-time while my father-in-law watches Isa in the morning and I pick her up at 1pm. These child care situations could not be more amazing.
Having family around has made this whole parenthood thing much easier as well. Not only do both our parents live nearby but all four are very enthusiastically involved in Isa’s life. Both sets are eager to watch Isa for a couple of hours here and there and even a day or two if we’d like to get away. This was invaluable when I was finishing graduate school and it has even allowed us the occasional date night, free of charge. This summer we’re planning our first weekend away, as a couple and while we’ll miss Isa dearly, we know how lucky we are to have that opportunity.
Basically, there are a lot of things in place that make my experience of motherhood easier than it could be. I’m not saying I don’t struggle being at work all day and then coming home to have quality time with Isa while keeping the house in decent shape. Still, I recognize how much harder it could be and I consider myself very, very lucky.
I’m sure all of these things contribute to my thinking of having another baby so soon. The reality is I don’t have many negative situations to fear repeating with another baby. I don’t know how challenging colic can be, or how difficult reflux is. Isa always slept at least three to four hours at a time and after sleep training at four months she slept 10 to 12 hours a night. While I know that a second child will probably be very different from Isa I have very few experiences from her infancy to prepare me for what “not easy” might be like. And while I’m not as naive as I was before I had Isa, I still feel unaware of many of the possible challenges.
So that is my confession today. I have been very spoiled by a very “easy” baby. To be honest, right now I’m head over heals enamored of her. She is so much fun to be around, interested in everything and laughing constantly, that my biggest challenge is leaving her every day to work. I have to say, I lead a very charmed life as a mother and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
And I must confess that I can’t say how much I’d love motherhood if it had been any harder. I’d love to say I’d enjoy it just as much but I can’t honestly proclaim that. We can only attest to what we know and I don’t know the grace with which I’d be able to handle a fussy baby or ten months of sleepless nights. Surely I’ll have another opportunity to test my metal with number two.