So, life is hard, currently. Ha. It’s 10:30 am and I’m still wearing pajamas and robe, having left the baby fussing in her swing for 20 minutes, maybe? until she fussed herself to sleep. That might be a first. I haven’t bought “attachment parenting” wholesale, but its main beliefs and goals make sense to me, so when my baby is unhappy…I hold her. Or distract, or whatever. Most of the time, it’s a pleasure to comfort my daughter. Leaving her in her swing while I laid on the bed angrily reading Freshly Pressed blog posts was bizarre, but—can I blame sleep deprivation?—I’ve had more harpy/screamer/ragey/dissolve-in-ragey-tears moments in the past three weeks than ever before in my life. It would be cool to blame sleep deprivation. It would be pretty nice to think of myself as a patient, generous mom. Well-adjusted, with pleasant brain-space, until deprived of significant amounts of sleep for significant amounts of time.

And now the baby is awake and unhappy again, and I’m pretending I’m her personal wait-staff, rather than her therapist: after a complaint I just shift her from the swing to the playmat, smile, tell her to have fun, and come back to the computer. Etc. I really feel like writing is going to save me from blowing up my house with both of us in it, today. Soo…I’m gonna write some.

But I don’t want to talk to anybody about attachment parenting (not even my husband, who thinks I’m often too quick to jump up when the baby isn’t happy). Also don’t want to hear that all this is “normal,” which I sort of believe, and sort of don’t. It’s hard to believe mothers of four-month old babies experience rage regularly. The internet indicates that they’re all pretty much attractive and cheery and get stuff done. Some sarcasm, there, yes, but part of my brain does actually permanently believe it.

What I want to talk about is anger… I don’t really have any profound insights on it, but I wish I did.

We’re both living with anger—Marshall’s is a product of living with the chronic & chronically uncertain Meniere’s Disease, being in an early phase, unable to figure it out or how to make peace with parts of his body that are degenerating and out of his control. Feeling too young to have a chronic disease, let alone one that is hard to explain to other people, and hard to understand or predict, for himself. Mine seems to be a product of trying (and largely failing) to adjust to being a new mom, and the not-insignificant powerlessness I feel in the face of my husband’s suffering. Trying to take most night shifts with a wakeful baby (she’s bouncing in and out of her 4-month sleep regression, currently), and being alone most of the time while still not being able to do most of the things I want to do—rest in the quiet of the outdoors, do farm work, or leather work, be independent, rest in any kind of quiet at all. Read, write, shower whenever I want.

As many (most? all?) married people do, at some point, we’ve been trying really hard not to have “pissing contests”—that “Well I am really fucked over here!!” — “Well *I* am really fucked over here, TOO!!!” thing. Those are mostly unproductive. After having a few of these in the past couple weeks, I can at least say that, for us, it’s helped us to actually remember/realize the specific difficulties we’re each facing. And if pissing contests are the only way we can get to calm, loving, productive conversations, right now, then—so be it. We’ve decided that we should start worrying when the pissing contests don’t lead to compassionate conversations.

I remember, way back (four years ago?) when Marshall and I first got married, the fights we’d have and how traumatic they were to me. I hadn’t seen productive conflict modeled for me at home, growing up, so when my husband I got into it, I’d completely freak out, and—more often than not—completely shut down, and/or run. Sometimes that was crying my eyes out, and sometimes it was getting really, really angry, instead. It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I spent quite a few nights on the couch in my first year of marriage, staring into an abyss that wasn’t actually an abyss. But, thanks to a husband who knew a lot more about productive conflict than I did, we taught each other and learned from each other. In the past couple of years, we’ve had the “best” fights we’ve ever had. We feel stronger after a “good” fight than we do on a sunny day when everything is going super awesome and nothing is wrong.

But having a baby, and having Meniere’s, is really for real some shizz. Hence, pissing contests, postpartum rage, etc.

WRITING THIS ALL DOWN HAS BEEN COMPLETELY THERAPEUTIC. And I’ve been able to write this whole thing while being a pretty B- wait-staff to my baby—juggling her around to different toys/places (currently, she’s on my lap staring at the laptop screen, oh my god) every four-six minutes.

I wish I could write really finished, polished mini-essays instead of this kind of fragmented thing—but I’m trying to have faith that I will be able to do that again someday. Maybe (as is the way of the world, of God) sooner than I expect. So now I’ll have some cheetos and forget all the stuff I was supposed to do this morning. Maybe I am starting to figure this out.

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