I’m a perfectionist. I like to think about things I’ve done and internally debate how to do better next time.
But what if there is no next time? Is there a point to thinking it over and over, finding ways things could (have been) better?
But I do.
I wish I didn’t.
I’m trying not to.
What the everloving crap are you talking about, Jenny? You’re asking your computer that right now, aren’t you?
I’m talking about the newborn stage. It’s hard to have all these one-year-ago moments staring me in the face and not think, “Did I do it right?”
I’m not sure I did. At the same time, I’m not sure I could have done any better. I’m pretty sure I could have done worse.
Did I hold them enough? Attachment Parenting law says I didn’t. Getting the most out of a once-in-a-lifetime-experience thinking says I didn’t.
Thinking back, there were definitely times when I was just touched the hell out, and even though someone wanted to be held, Rob/a grandparent/the swing/the vibrating chair stood in for me. There were times when I needed (or thought I needed) to do something housework-related, but should I have held babies while assigning the boring task to someone else?
There were also times – a ton of them – when I bounced/paced around the house with a baby in a carrier, spending an entire naptime standing with a baby attached to my front. I ate meals over a fuzzy head (and dropped crumbs on said head) and toned my legs (ha!) while trying to provide a cozy rest place for my little ones.
I didn’t do enough, or I did just enough – which is it?
They’re all attached to me and can’t stay away from me for long when we play on the floor together. They reach for me when they’re sad or sick, when they’re hurt or scared.
I obviously did something right.
So why do I continue to wish I had done better?
It could be leftover pain from the yelling I did with Rob or our parents. Exhaustion, emotion, hormones and the feeling of being constantly judged by having someone else here with me a lot of the time – it led to more explosions than I’m proud to own.
Maybe it’s the memory of my anxiety during the newborn phase (with preemies, it lasts FOREVER – they were close to 8 months old before they quit acting like newborns) that’s punching my self doubt into high gear.
At the bottom of my angsty pile of feelings lies this: I wish the beginning of our time at home together would have been more peaceful. At the very least, I wish my memories of that time were more ooey-gooey and lovey-dovey and less, “Do they remember how difficult I was to be around?”
There’s no point, though. It is what it is. Or was.
I had one baby who could probably be called colicky (Eleanor screamed from afternoon until evening unless being bounced while strapped to a chest), and one with reflux (looking back, Callista probably had a dairy sensitivity, but meds more or less fixed her symptoms, and I selfishly wouldn’t give up dairy). Toby? Well, he was easy. Chill, low-key, no issues. Just a lovable cuddlebug – the type of singleton that would allow for more kids in the future.
I did the best with what was available, and we all came out on the other side unscathed.
If I could just let go of my internal nagging, things would be pretty damn perfect.
First-time moms of multiples (singletons too, I suppose), learn from my self loathing. Do your best and accept it. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t dwell on things. If you do, you’ll find yourself rambling to the Internet a year after the fact, too. If you’re stubborn like me and don’t listen, come find me, and we’ll commiserate.