The One Where Nothing Works

Despite never having Peyton away from my side during the day, and rarely having any time actually on my own, some days do feel very lonely, isolating and completely and utterly exhausting. I wasn't prepared for that aspect of motherhood.

Sure, we kitted ourselves out with half of Mamas and Papas, we got our Snuz Pod and Sleepyhead set up by the bed, and we had enough nappies to sink a cruise ship. The practical side? We had it covered.

It's hard to explain. Unless you've been there yourself, you'd struggle to understand. (Either that, or am I just losing the plot entirely - please tell me I'm not alone here?!)

Before I had Peyton I'd hear mums say they felt lonely and I always wondered "how?" when they had a constant sidekick, a shadow, a friend. But you do.

I absolutely hate spending the day at home all day; especially when Tom is at work and it's just me and Peyton. I'm not saying I don't like spending the day with her, I love our mummy and daughter time. The day just feels so long. I end up feeling mentally drained and totally exhausted at the end of the day from trying to keep her entertained/just settle her in general. Talking to her, playing with her, singing to her, walking around with her on my shoulder, constantly offering her the boob, changing her, winding her... I start to feel like I'm going insane. And what will work with her one day, won't the next. Some days I feel like my life is like that episode of Friends - The One Where Emma Cries. NOTHING WORKS WITH THIS CHILD. 

When we stay home all day she fights sleep like a trooper, and getting her to nap for more than 15 minutes at a time is a real task. I'm always so pleased to see Tom as he pulls up on the drive - "finally, someone to have a conversation with!"

Don't get me wrong, the days when she isn't cranky and grouchy, and is super playful and smiley, are an absolute dream. If I could bottle the feelings I have at the end of those days and sell it, I'd make a fortune. Thankfully, those days are the ones we have the most of. But when we've had days like today, they feel like a distant memory.

It gets lonely just you and a two-month-old baby, though. The visitors soon stop once the novelty of a newborn wears off. You go from having three or four different sets of a visitors a day to nothing - it's one extreme to the other!

The loneliest, most difficult days, are when she is poorly or particularly unsettled. Last week she'd been unwell in the night and was awake a lot in the night - requiring clean bedding, pyjamas etc. - which meant I was exhausted the following day. She was still unwell, still unsettled, and still struggling to sleep properly. We'd both gone through two changes of clothes within an hour of getting up and I knew it was going to be a long, difficult day. There was no reprieve. No chance for me to rest or catch up on the missed sleep because she constantly needing soothing, settling, feeding or cleaning up. I was on the same cycle with her all day and I was so drained.

Today has been another unsettled day. I'm not sure if there's been a particular reason or if she is just 'that way out'. During the brief times she isn't crying, whining, squealing, or screaming she's been her usual cheeky, smiley self. But, my God, the rest of the time has been hard work. I spent almost an hour earlier just aimlessly walking the streets around where we live just so she would nap.

I seriously take my hat off to single parents. I honestly do not know how they manage all day and all night, every single day. I don't think I'd be able to cope.

The worst thing about those poorly days is that you don't dare leave the house incase she has a poo explosion in the car seat or the pram, or projectile vomits all down herself, and you don't take enough spare changes of clothes. And you don't want to socialise with any of your friends and their babies at the risk of passing on whatever it is that has upset her that particular day. So staying housebound it is.

I absolutely love being a mum. It's the most rewarding job I've ever had. I've experienced love I never thought was possible in the last ten weeks and have such a strong feeling of protection over Peyton.

Yet, despite living in this bubble of love, happiness, excitement and adoration, it has suddenly got a bit lonely. We try to get out everyday; even if it's just for a walk into town or to the supermarket, or a drive to somewhere new for a walk around a park. I love the fresh air, it sends her to sleep and it's a bit of exercise for me too (which is deffo needed!)

Many people will probably say to me the answer is going to some mum and baby groups, but they fill me with so much anxiety. I went to a playgroup last week with her and, while it was nice to get out for an hour, I felt it was such a competitive environment. People constantly commenting on everything you say your baby is doing at that age: "what do you mean they did xx at 9 weeks?" or "Oh well my xx was doing that by 8 weeks." It was also completely pointless because Peyton didn't want to play with any of the new toys there. She just sat on my knee for the full hour staring at everyone and everything going on around her. She's genuinely so nosey!

I find some of these groups are breeding grounds for mums to brag about what their little darling is doing and compare them to every other baby. I don't really care if Peyton isn't doing things that another kid was doing at her age. Likewise, I don't care if she's doing stuff other kids haven't been. She's fine, she's happy - I'm happy - and that's all that matters. Why is it a constant competition between mums? It's so unhealthy and I really don't like it.

I've found Instagram, of all things, to be a huge help. There's a whole mum community out there that isn't judge-y, isn't perfect, and isn't competitive. And sometimes it's easier to talk to people you don't know about things that are troubling you than it is people you do. As much as I want to take Peyton to some baby groups for her own development, and for us to have some fun with some new toys and play things, I really can't deal with the competitive, judgemental mums that that they so often attract. Because, even though you can be surrounded by a dozen other mums and their babies, if you feel under scrutiny for your parenting, or your child's development, it can be the loneliest place in the world.

I think Tom is worried when he comes in and she's screaming and I'm just stood there rocking back and forth with her on my shoulder crying as well. He keeps telling me to "talk to someone if needed". In his words, he doesn't want me "to be deppy". I'm definitely not. I'm just exhausted some days. I hope I'm making sense and don't sound like I've lost the plot completely. Honestly, I am fine apart from feeling mentally exhausted some days (today being one of them!)

She can spend a whole morning not settling, not wanting to play with anything, not being soothed, just not playing ball. Yet, as soon as she stops crying and flashes me that gorgeous smile, it's all forgotten.

Tom always does bedtime. It's something we've done since she was born as a time for him and her to bond. I really wanted to make sure they had that special time together, especially with me breastfeeding her. I am always jealous, though, of that time they have together. Bath time is the only time of day where she is totally happy, without fail. She absolutely loves a bath and kicks, splashes and smiles for the entire time.

I love that her and Tom get that special time, but I'm also jealous that the time he spends with her is always when she's happy. He tells me "it's ok, it's normal for babies to cry", but it's all well and good him telling me that when he predominantly gets the happy, smiley, joy-to-be-around baby. When I've had eight hours of screaming, crying and whining to contend with, it's not much consolation to know that "it's normal for babies to cry".

Every night when she's gone to sleep I watch her on the monitor sleeping so soundly. When I go up to bed I just stare at her for ages. I want to kiss and cuddle her while she's all peaceful and settled, and I relish when she wakes up for her feed in the night because she's so snuggly and cuddly. I suddenly feel so bad for not enjoying her so much during the day. There'll come a day where she doesn't want me to cuddle her when she cries, and doesn't want to be near me or on me all the time; so I know I should make the most of it all now (as hard as it can be some days!)

I feel guilty for feeling so exasperated and impatient during the day. I feel guilty for crying when she cries. I feel guilty for wishing, sometimes, I had someone to just come and give me a break for an hour. Not even so that I could go sleep in a quiet room on my own, but just so that I didn't feel like I was going insane on my own. Am I a terrible mum because some days I just want a break from it being all on me for just half an hour? I know for a fact, though, that when I do get that "break" all I will want to do is be back with her because, Sod's law, it'll be the quietest, most settled, she'll be all day! I just can't win!

I absolutely adore being a mum (honestly, I do!) It's a role I've always dreamed of having. It's everything I ever imagined it to be and so much more. It's hard work, of course, but, despite my moaning, it's worth every single second. She's changing so much everyday, learning new things everyday and developing such a cheeky, funny, happy (on the whole) personality. I wouldn't change her for the world and I'd be so lost without her by my side everyday.

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