It all started with a simple question, “Is she good?”

I can’t remember who was asking it or where I was, but I do remember thinking, “Does anyone say no to that question?”

The person was referring to Briar, our first daughter. The idea of saying, “No, as a matter of fact, I am so glad you asked because let me tell you, this kid does not sleep. Ever.” was just too horrifying to consider.

Briar slept in bed with us until she 14 months old. I won’t say that there weren’t times that I didn’t revel in the closeness, but honestly, 14 months is a really long time, longer still if it is by necessity, not choice.

Here’s the thing, I lie, or at least I bend the truth. It feels as if saying “No,” to the constant inquiries about if an infant is good would somehow be a criticism of my baby or an admission of my own failure. I don’t know where the middle ground between honesty and social appropriateness exists. When people ask me if Finley is good I say yes, because of course she is good. Of course we adore her, just like we do Briar and Avery, but there is more.

Many nights, beginning sometime between 4 and 7 and continuing until between 9 and 10:30, Finley is inconsolable. She scrunches her little face, digs her feet in and screeches into a multi-hour tantrum. There is no amount of nursing, burping, cooing, bouncing, walking, begging, bribing, weeping or praying that changes it. She is simply not done until she is done. To say that it is maddening or that it makes us feel like total failures doesn’t even begin to describe it. My god, I close the windows for fear the neighbors will think I am doing her harm.

We have had similar trials with Briar and Avery at different times in their lives, but really, who wants to say that? The truth is Briar barely slept for the first year and a half of life, Avery has a will so stubborn it could plug leaks in battleships and Finley, well Finley has a maddeningly intense fussy time.

There are other truths too–
Being a working mom is f*cking hard.
Marriage can be exhausting.
I feel like I am failing as a mom as many days as I feel I am succeeding.
Small town life can be a bit like a prison sentence.
For all the stronger body image talk, I’d love a tighter ass and different hair.

Despite all of those things, and forgetting that last night was another one of Fin’s bad nights, I do love being a working mom and wife in a small town. I wouldn’t trade it, nor am I ashamed by any of it, but I’ll be damned if I am going to open Pandora’s box of complaints every time someone coos at the girls and looks at me expectantly as they say, “Tell me, are they good kids?”

I may ask how tight that person’s ass is though, think that’s fair?