Mother to three mostly grown children here to tell you that you should listen to what Allison Stone says and I wanted to tell you what I learned--especially with my first daughter.
I remember going to the 6-month check-up with my firstborn. The handout said, "Dr. Benjamin Spock, the guru of all pediatricians, has that that every home should have a six-month-old baby, just for entertainment value. And isn't it fun!" I thought "No, it's not fun. F*ck Dr. Spock," and from then on I felt guilty. I cried leaving the pediatrician's office because I wondered what was wrong with me. All the other mothers looked so overjoyed, serene, smiley, and relaxed. I was anything but.
In my defense, my firstborn was extremely difficult from the first time I tried to lay her down in her bassinette to about the age of 12 when she suddenly bucked the trend and became easier when the rest of her peers were going through puberty and their teens. At that age, she became my friend--no doubt I still had to parent and encourage her to make good choices, but our relationship definitely changed and we are still friends (she just turned 27 last week).
The lengthy list of complaints I had from 0-12 is full of things like she never sleeps, she's always sick, she lives on my body, she needs constant entertainment, she's hyperactive, she gets into trouble, I'm constantly having to leave parks, playgrounds, restaurants because of her behavior, etc., etc., etc. I was exhausted as an introvert with social anxiety mothering a hyperactive extrovert.
If I had so many issues with motherhood, why did I continue on and have two more? Because I finally found a way to make motherhood more enjoyable for me. Yes, that sounds selfish but you have to find a way to make it enjoyable for YOU. And, truth be told, my next two children weren't anywhere near as difficult as the first. I also know that people dismiss my issues because they say it was a 'first time mother' situation. But it really wasn't because I pretty much raised my much younger sister with a significantly similar temperament as my daughter.
Ways to make it more enjoyable for you: 1.) Go to the dollar store and buy the cheapest bubble bath/body wash/whatever that won't give your daughter a rash and buy as many as you can. Baths during the day are another break unless she needs constant interaction with you. Throw in various toys like a spray bottle, sponges, bath crayons, bubble makers, or anything that makes her happy. After typing all this, I now realize she may be too little for this idea--maybe save it for when she's three.
2.) Pick something you can do in order to wear her out so she takes longer naps. I gave my neighbor's 2-year-old scooter for Christmas last year. I found it on Amazon and it has a seat. There was a slight learning curve but she mastered it quickly.
3.) Make edible Play-doh with a sugar cookie recipe unless you're not allowing sugar--but still make some kind of dough for her to play with.
4.) My sister and her husband took their daughter everywhere with them. They didn't stop living because of a child--they made the child fit into their lives. I think that's so important. I didn't do that--I stopped my life for my kids. The result? I was not the happiest I could have been, whereas my sister and her husband were over the moon.
I know that it's even more difficult to parent during a global pandemic. My family didn't live nearby so I relied a lot on support from the friends I made through a playgroup. Those women absolutely saved my sanity. I know it may be difficult now to be in a group but maybe there's 1-2 moms you can trust to be safe??
I promise you that when your little girl grows up just a bit more, you might find motherhood more enjoyable.