Saturday, July 01, 2006

Guest Blogger!

Today we have a wonderful guest blogger! I'm happy to introduce you to Her Bad Mother ! I'll be over there today, so please come and say hi!

So, I had this really great post all worked out for this month's blog exchange, based upon the video for George Michael's song Freedom 90. It was all set to be a thoughtful discussion of the pressures of youth and image and the ways in which that both changes and doesn't change when one becomes a mother. And it was going to be chock-full of witty references to has-been musicians and aging supermodels, and you would have liked it.

Then WonderBaby decided kick the mama-butt-kickin' up a few notches, and any thoughts that did not pertain to sleep immediately fled the mental scene.

Freedom (I won't let you dooown, I will not give you up...) means only one thing - or set of things - to me at the moment. Freedom to sleep. Freedom to rest. Freedom that I no longer really have.

We've been pretty lucky with the sleep, for the most part: WonderBaby has always, with a few exceptions, slept pretty well at night. But she's never cottoned to sleeping during the day. And a turbo-charged WonderBaby who refuses to sleep is an exhausting thing. So I've always needed every second of that life-saving night-time sleep.

And when the night-time sleep goes? Hell. One of the further circles thereof.

I was thinking about this last night, after WonderBaby woke up around 11:30 and refused to go back down in her crib. You cannot do this to me, I thought. You cannot damn your own mother. She just grinned. Awake is fun!

Awake is not fun when you're exhausted and the Husband has to get up to shoot a commercial at 5am and so can't help you. Awake feels like being trapped. A lot like being trapped. So I did what any other desperate creature would do if it found itself trapped: I did the mother equivalent of chewing my own leg off.

I brought WonderBaby into bed with me. For the first time in over three months.

Now, to be clear, I'm not refering to co-sleeping as the mothering equivalent of chewing one's own leg off because I regard co-sleeping as an entirely terrible act of desperation. There's nothing terrible about co-sleeping. We did a lot of it in the early months. But co-sleeping with a swaddled-up larva and co-sleeping with a rabid badger (especially when one has become accustomed to NOT sleeping with wildlife) are two entirely different things.

One only sleeps with a rabid badger out of desperation. Because one does so knowing that the hard-won sleep that is the co-sleep is a painful sleep. When you've become accustomed to the near-freedom that is sleeping without baby - sleeping sprawled across the bed, arm tossed over Husband's back, pillows askew - sleeping with baby is startlingly uncomfortable. A situation that is only entered into under challenging and uncompromising circumstances and that is - for the most part - suffered.

The first moments of the co-sleep, of course, are blissful. Ah, sweet release from the torments of wakefulness! The delicious bliss of baby snug in your arms, her warm and fragrant body tucked against your own! Then, the squirming. The well-aimed kick to the boob. The little fingers jammed up your nose. The pain of lying completely still, on your side, cramped up in one small corner of the bed, hardly daring to breath for fear of waking the sleeping-but-still-fully-mobile creature that has spread herself across the bed.

Co-sleeping, for me, is suffered. But (like suffering the loss of a limb to escape a trap) suffered gladly. Suffered gladly in exchange for relief from the torture that is standing, exhausted, in the middle of the night, beside the crib that my baby is trying to climb out of while shrieking at the top of her lungs. Suffered gladly for the happy feeling of knowing that my presence is enough to calm and still this beautiful, wild thing, my baby. Suffered gladly for the few moments of baby-snuggle-bliss, moments that I know are fleeting, moments that I know I will someday sorely miss.

Suffered gladly for a sort of freedom - a temporary freedom from exhaustion and frustration. It's a crippled freedom, but it is, nonetheless, freedom. And I'll take my freedom where I can get it. So if we need to co-sleep again tonight, fine. I'll take the kicks to the boob and the cramped legs and the fingers up the nose and I'll tell myself, it could be worse.

And then I'll inhale deeply of the fragrance of her warm little head and tell myself, it can't get any better.

Freedom is overrated.

Her Bad Mother really, really tries to be good. But it's hard work, and she's lazy, so what do you want? Visit her at

If you are interested in participating next month, email Kristen at kmei26 at yahoo dot com. Here are other exchange participants to check out:

Cape Buffalo
Soul Gardening
Another Mommy Moment
Mommy's Dirty Secret
Chicken n Cheese
A Mommy Story
A Crack in Life
Divine Calm
Taste the World
Motherhood Uncensored
Zach's Day
Mother Goose Mouse
Izzy Mom
Chaos Theory


Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

HBM, I'm truly sorry to laugh at your co-sleeping pain, but a rabid badger? It's the perfect description.

And the difference between the swaddled larva and the badger - light-years apart.

But I'm all about the head-sniffing. I'm dreading the day that CJ's head no longer has that adorable baby smell.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

I never really thought of the no sleep thing a trap but that is truly a perfect description!!! I hope you get to sprawl out and sleep soon!

11:27 AM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

I love this:

But co-sleeping with a swaddled-up larva and co-sleeping with a rabid badger (especially when one has become accustomed to NOT sleeping with wildlife) are two entirely different things.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous motherhooduncensored said...

All I can say is that I feel your pain. Perhaps wonderbaby and Q should get together. We could make it like a cage match of who will NOT sleep... bets - you know. Baby gambling. Canada vs USA.


6:56 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

WonderBaby can, like Mom-101's Thalia, sleep standing. She never drops.

Bring it, Q.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Jozet said...

Crud! I just wrote a well-worded, thumb's up comment and my computer ate it.

Short version: thumb's up.

(Dang computer!)

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Uh oh...maybe I better stop doing what I've been doing to replace the before bed nursing routine. Crap!

4:51 PM  

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