I was sane, once. I had normal-person worries, and I worried about them in normal amounts. You know, like in high school I worried about cute things. Whether cute boys liked me or if I was cute enough or if my prom dress was too cute when it should be hot, dumb things like that. And then in college, every Sunday morning I worried how I was going to serve tables with such a killer hangover, and every Monday I worried how I was going to hand in a project that I had started at 3 a.m. that morning.
This kind of normal behaviour continued after college, and well into my pregnancy with Thumper. I mean, there were a few extra demands (“Get. Me. A. Smore.Pop-tart.NOW!”), but for the most part, I still managed to resemble a rational person. It wasn’t until after Thumper was born that the crazy began.
In the beginning, it seemed typical enough. Like every mom, I got my case of the guilties. Am I rocking her to sleep too much? No, they say a baby under six months can’t be spoiled. Uh-oh, she’s over six months now and I’m still rocking her. Am I setting up horrible sleeping habits that won’t be broken even when she’s an ADULT and if I use the car to get to her to sleep too much will she chronically fall asleep while DRIVING when she gets her license? Yeah, you know you’ve had that conversation with yourself. I wasn’t alarmed because I could use the excuse of sleep deprivation and baby blues to explain my over the top behaviour.
I always assumed the guilties would be like a bad one-hit wonder: very annoying at the time, but it’s not long before the song has vanished from your radar. Instead, I’m finding it’s more like a Ke$ha track. You know, popping up everywhere you go, hitting you over the head with its sing-talk verses and auto tune, and then Jedi-mind tricking you into thinking it’s not that bad until you finally start bopping along to the beat. It kinda makes you throw up in your mouth a little when you think about what you’ve become.
You see, as the months went on, life with a baby calmed down, but I never did. And this is when I realized I had gone from a completely sane, functional woman, to a bat-shit crazy mama. Because I feel guilty and worry about everything. I worry about big things, like not having enough money for future dentist bills. I worry about small things, like if the coat I chose for Thumper today was warm enough. I turn the small things into big things, and the big things into bigger things. I had to stop watching Til Debt Do Us Part because it either made me cry or hyperventilate.
It’s just so easy to second-guess myself. I mean, how am I ever supposed to know if I’m on the right track? I feel like the best indicator is the kind of person your kid grows up to be, and well, at that point if you fucked it up, there’s no turning back, so really that doesn’t help. I suspect that big bottles of wine would clam my nerves, but then I figure it’s not the most constructive approach. It’s just this incessant little cycle. When the worrying reaches its peak, I mope around for a day, feeling dumb and whiny for being so dumb and whiny. Then I cry in bed and rant out all my rational and irrational fears to Dawson, and he spends the next few hours talking me down from the madness. Then I get to spend at least a week being relatively normal before it starts all over. It’s kind of like a twisted, psychological version of a menstrual cycle, only no cramps. At least I have the comfort of knowing that my shit isn’t totally bananas – I know this because in my most frenzied moments, I’m aware of how demented I sound. And if Charlie Sheen has taught me anything, it’s that the true lunatics have no idea how off their rocker they actually are.
I guess I’ll never be as sane as I once was, but I’m as sane now as I’m ever going to get. Because there is regular -people sane, and then there’s mommy-sane. We’re always going to worry about the present and the future, and how the present will affect the future. And then there are mommies like me, who will take it to another level, but what do you expect when you hand us tiny humans and say, “Here. Take care of this for the next 18 years. Don’t fuck it up.”