No success can compensate for cluelessness in the home

As mentioned previously, I am a stay-at-home mom. I generally like being a stay-at-home mom. I had to go back to work after my son was born for a few weeks, and it made everything more stressful. It made work more stressful (i.e., pumping breast milk in a bathroom and having to store it in the employees refrigerator), and mothering more stressful (i.e., did my newborn child bond better with his father and his babysitter than he did with me?). I was relieved when I could quit, and stay full time at home with my son. Being forced to work because of much needed health benefits, it made quitting that much easier, because then I felt that I was in control of my life. It was my choice to stay home, and I was finally able to exercise that choice. Ah, the days of feeling in control. How sweet, how short. I came home from work to face an entirely different challenge: my child. It was a huge task for which I felt utterly unprepared. Why was my newborn crying? Beat the heck out of me. What do I do, what do I do? I'll never forget the day when I did everything I could possibly think of to calm my frantic son. Finally near tears myself, I gave up, dragged his carseat with him in it into the bathroom, and took my morning shower, which was really taking place at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I turned on the water, and put my head under the stream to drown out the wails. I stayed in there for a while, just listening to my son scream, until suddenly, there was silence. Completely panicked, thinking that surely he had strangled on his blanket, I ripped open the shower curtain to find him peacefully asleep. That's all I had to do--just let him cry!?? That's only one incidence where I felt completely inept as a new mother. I could tell you lots more. Now, let's get back to work, shall we? While my son was still small, I continued working on a per diem basis, which usually consisted of covering for other speech therapists on Saturdays, basically just picking up patients that they had not been able to see during the week. My first Saturday back, the nurse handed me the profile of the patient I was supposed to see, including primary diagnosis, current complaints, all the stuff I needed to know about him. I was astonished to realize that I understood what the problem was with the patient, and what's more, I knew how to fix it! Glorious day, I did have some skills! I was not so clueless after all! I felt strong, empowered, invincible because I knew what to do in this situation! Again, the feeling was short-lived, because after I saw one or two patients, I went home to my enigmatic infant, who was pooping stuff that looked exactly like cooked spinach. I know that doesn't sound particularly dramatic now, but as a new mother, I was on the phone to every woman I knew who would tolerate such a question as, "What do I do when my baby's poop looks like steamed veggies?" Now my son is no longer an infant, but he is no less enigmatic. As he grows and learns and develops, I am faced with more questions about how to handle different situations, and frankly, fewer answers. I am a highly educated woman, dang it! How could I be so clueless? But as the title for this post states, no success can compensate for complete and total cluelessness in the home. Oh, and if anybody here can tolerate even more questions about poop, let me know. Again, I've got lots!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


3/08/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Nate Oman said...

Test comment

3/08/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Andrea Wright said...

(Woohoo, I think I figured out how to comment like a normal person :))
So did you ever get to the bottom of the spinachy diaper? One of my babies did that very briefly and I panicked too. I'm pretty sure it just went away so I never did know what the cause was.

Don't you love those calls to the pediatrician where you get to tell the secretary, and several nurses about the contents of your child's diaper. As you may have noticed, I have this really bizarre intensely prudish streak that makes it impossible for me to use the correct terminology for certain parts of the anatomy and products thereof. Those phone calls are torture for me.

3/08/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

You'd think that by the time you make it to #3 you'd have a clue. I don't. I think motherhood is great training that way. Do you think God can teach us more when we feel competent or when we feel inept?

P.S.--Green baby poop means you ate something he didn't like. It always amazes me that everything going into the baby is white and everything coming out is a strange, dark color.

3/08/2005 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Is motherhood like one of those things where the more you do it, the less you know? That's not very encouraging!

But I like what you said about being teachable when we are totally incompetent. It's a good spin on what often feels like a hopeless situation!

3/08/2005 03:31:00 PM  
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10/01/2005 11:26:00 PM  

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