A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

I Have It Easy: Attachment Parenting for the Weak

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's husband and son, I have a supportive husband. I have a healthy son. I am healthy and happy myself. My husband works from home 2 days a week and has weekends off. He helps a lot by taking Jack downstairs while I cook or get dressed. He is always around to play and cook and clean and just be with us. And in the evenings he takes Jack while I take a relaxing hot bath.

So why do I still feel like I am going to flip the fuck out?!

This parenting thing is ridiculous sometimes. I mean why is something that is so natural, something that has been going on since the beginning of humans, something so vital to the survival of the human race SO. FUCKING. HARD?!

The other night was awful. I was so frustrated by the whining and crying. By the everything-going-wrong. By the constantly-awake-baby. Jack woke up every hour. I had not slept for one minute. I got up with him around 2am in a rage. He no longer wanted to nurse, to be in the bed at all. I was so pissed off. I stomped down the hallway with him in my arms. Sat in the rocking chair and rocked angrily. He just sat there. His head on my chest. Confused by my emotions. He eventually fell asleep in my arms and we went back to bed.

I lied awake in bed hoping it was finally over and he would sleep for some extended period of time. ANY period of time at all. I was not at all convinced that he wasn’t going to get up again so I was far from succumbing to relaxed and cozy sleep at that point. And as if on cue from the devil himself the cat starts clawing at the door. I grew even tenser. My heart raced. My muscles clenched in anger. I had violent thoughts of opening the door and kicking the cat through the front door leaving a cat-shaped hole where I could watch him land on his head on the other side of the street. The thoughts raced in my mind in written form as they often do when I imagine writing to all the other mothers who are lying awake in their beds after finally getting their family to sleep wondering if they will ever sleep again and if they made a huge mistake by having a baby and if they have it in them to do this all over again tomorrow.

I have temper tantrums that would put any 4-year-old to shame. I throw huge pity parties and I’m the guest of honor. I want to punch walls and cry and scream and push Jack away and run out the door and never look back. If you ask in the middle of these nights if I am happy I would say with confidence “no, I am not happy. Motherhood is not for me. I can’t do this. I am not cut out for it. I need to get a job and a babysitter. That would be best for everyone.” I know I need to suck it up. I know I need to be kinder to myself so that I can be gentler with Jack, but in the moment it is so hard. I am a social worker, a therapist. I have been in therapy myself and provided therapy for hundreds of people. I have an intimate understanding of how thoughts and feelings work. And still I am just a Mom struggling with this parenting thing at every moment. I forget everything I know. I forget everything I promised myself I wouldn’t do anymore. Motherhood is the great equalizer. When the going gets rough we are all in that place together.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's son. The nasty thoughts grow bigger in my mind. I snap at Jack. I shout at Jack. Sometimes I say and do nothing at all. Sometimes I go completely numb for fear that I will start yelling and never stop. I have worse thoughts. The kind that do nothing for a mother but bring on the deepest and most intense feelings of guilt. Then I look at Jack. The one who is actually suffering, confused, tired and needing love. I cry. He looks at me with tired eyes and lays his head on my chest. He always does fall asleep. In the end he always does fall asleep and so do I.

The next morning we woke up. The middle of the night is a foggy memory now. He takes his pants off and puts them in a bowl. He pours his pants from one bowl to the next. All of the anger and frustration from the night before seem so trivial and insignificant now. I laugh with him while he pours his pants and I make eggs.


Abby Theuring, MSW