This is real life.
This was me, two nights ago. My hair is frizzy from being interrupted by a screeching baby mid-blow-dry. This is me wearing a foul-smelling tank that is saturated with spit up. This is me realizing that it’s 8 p.m., and I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast which consisted of coffee and my daughter’s half-eaten Nutri-Grain bar.
This is me shoveling as much mac and cheese as I can directly from the pot into my mouth while it’s still hot. Baby is in the witching hour and has been cranky and crying for hours, so I’m bouncing her on my hip while I eat and shushing her between bites, sometimes sending bits of partially chewed mac and cheese onto my stovetop.
What you don’t see is my preschooler who is upstairs actually defying the natural laws of sound with her screaming and kicking whatever her feet can reach because I told her she couldn’t sleep in the dress she’s wearing for picture day tomorrow.
What you don’t see is the pile of unfolded laundry on my bed that I still need to put away.
What you don’t see are the half-unpacked lunchbox on the counter that still needs to be cleaned up and the half-packed lunch for tomorrow that still needs to be finished.
What you partially see in the lower left corner are bottles and pump parts that need to be washed and sanitized because my baby likes to go on random nursing strikes to test my sanity.
What you don’t see are one middle-aged and one geriatric dog who have made it their mission to destroy my spirit by leaving me presents made from their own bodily fluids on the carpet in the morning.
What you don’t see are the panic attacks that occur when this all becomes much too much; the rush of adrenaline that triggers a fight-or-flight response when the baby is inconsolable and the preschooler is screaming and defiant and I can’t de-escalate the chaos in my mind, so I escape it in a frantic and dissociative state.
What you don’t see is the pile of recently ordered books on babies, books on toddlers, books on parenting, books on anxiety, and books on postpartum depression that are stacked on my coffee table, none of which have been read much less opened because sleep is always prioritized first.
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