The Painful Secret About Being Mom.

painofmom

This mom-cage I live in is terrifying.  Beautiful, maddening, breathtaking, disastrous, hilarious, chaotic… terrifying.

How can I be so lucky and feel so deprived?  Am I spoiled?  Do I just not understand how good I’ve got it?

When you can’t go into the bookstore with your children, not only because you don’t have the energy, but just KNOWING what a task it will be takes all the fun out of the idea.  When the people in a fast food drive through start to recognize you because your only escape is strapping the kids in their seats and driving until everyone either passes out or claims they’re starving.  When a room is finally clean after an hour of hard work and distractive play for a whole 5 seconds only to be destroyed when you turn around to tackle the next task.

When you look upon your husband’s job… the long hours, the coworkers, the inclimate weather, the problem solving, the danger… with envy, and you resent him the 30-45 minutes he gets alone in the bathroom to wash off the day before facing a pregnant wife and 3 children who NEED his attention.  Because he was outside.  He got to interact with others.  He feeds us tiny morsels of what life is like in the real world on a daily basis because he’s THERE.  He’s IN IT.

When you feel guilty for making plans out of the house 2 nights in a row.  When a Dr. appointment and parenting class elicit such feelings of bliss that it shakes you to your core.  ‘Please let the Dr. be running behind so I have an extra 10 minutes to stare out this window with nothing but my thoughts.’

Oh Mother, is this what I sound like now?

When you’ve become so sucked into the lives of these tiny people that need everything from you that you lose yourself.  You are a cup and they take gulp after gulp after gulp out of you, never able to quench their thirst, rarely, and sometimes never, giving you time to refill.  After a time you begin to stop offering yourself as a cup.  An empty vessel is not useful if it does not have something to carry within it.

What can I fill my cup with?  What do I like to do?  What music do I like?  Is there a new book I could read?  When did I stop knowing everything about myself?

Is this really who I’ve become?

I came across this today and it is what sparked these musings:

Which begs the question:

How do you choose?  And, once you have chosen, how do you go about spending more time with these idyllic people without scaring them away?  I would certainly be wary of a woman saying, “Hi, I admire you and want to share qualities x, y, and z of yours.  Here’s my cell, Facebook page, e-mail address, and Twitter handle.  Can we start spending every Wednesday afternoon together?!”

Yes.  I have become like a child.  A toddler, even.  Socially awkward.  Demanding.  Prone to fits and tantrums.  Clueless and lost and just hoping someone will come along that’s willing to entertain me, spend time with me, understand me… for just a minute.  Wait, please, 1 more?  Where are you going..?

Am I the only one?

Dear Person that I want to be.

I’m writing a letter to myself.  Specifically, to the part of me that I want to show up more often.

Hey, it’s me, that part of us that you’re leaving to flounder on a daily basis.  I know you’re in there somewhere.  I know you can hear me.  I know you watch me break down when I finally get 5 minutes to shower by myself, every other day.  Where have you gone?  I need you.  

I need you to come help me finish these to-do lists that you thoughtfully mapped out for us.  I need you to kick my ass into following the budget plan that we agreed would get our family on the path to achieving our goals for the future.  

I miss your creativity, and the way you used to sing and dance in the kitchen while we would make something delightfully bad for us.  I miss the way you were patient with the kids when I wasn’t.  I miss your productivity, and how it made me feel like a domestic goddess.  I miss your giggle and how it would peal through the room at the slightest provocation.  I miss the way it felt when you would suggest something fun and spontaneous to do with the kids.  I miss the way you could make intimacy with Z so much more than a physical connection.  

I hate who I am without you.  I hate that I can’t be happy without you; we never did like being co-dependent.  

I hate knowing that part of me is missing and I don’t know where to find you. 

Without you, I am sad.  I am sloppy, lazy, and I just don’t care.  Without you, I’m just grumpy, impatient, and mean.  

Without you, I am not the mom and wife that I had dreamed and hoped I would be.

Please come back soon.  Please tell me where I can find you so we can all be happy again.

Sincerely,

Me

PPD is the first step

My chunky monkey, Cabin Boy #2, was born a scant 9 weeks ago.  His 5 year old sister, Cabin Girl, and almost 2 year old brother, Cabin Boy #1, absolutely adore him, as does The Captain and I.  But…
It’s hard this time.  REALLY hard.  For reasons I can’t explain I haven’t been able to bounce back yet.  I haven’t vacuumed in weeks.  The kitchen is never clean.  Clean laundry is hard to come by.  I lose my temper multiple times a day over stupid things like cups being put in the sink instead of on the counter.  I’m avoiding being social.  Every day The Captain comes home from work and I feel like I don’t deserve this amazing life and opportunity he’s giving me.  This is my job: clean house, healthy kids, healthy meals at a decent time on a daily basis.  It has been for 5+ years.  So why can’t I do it?  I literally, physically CAN NOT get my ass off of the couch unless one of the kids is screaming or has been begging me for food for 10 minutes straight (just to be clear, I don’t starve my kids, they’ve just thought I’m a mobile buffet since the instant they were born and MUST eat every 30 minutes or they will die) or the toilet has flooded the bathroom and laundry room (a story for another day).  I had a tiny case of the blues after CG and absolutely no problem after CB1 was born, so what’s the big freaking deal?!
Post partum depression.  My therapist and I are working on it.  I talked The Captain into letting my parents find a new home for our 2 year old dog so that I’d have a little less on my plate and he’s stepped up a bit with the kids in the evenings but there’s still an underlying feeling of failure and unworthiness in everything I do.  Why is it that now that, as a mother of 3, being a mom is what defines me the most but it’s not enough for me anymore?  I’m mediocre at sewing, cooking, singing, scrapbooking and poor at best in the garden.  I have an interest in fashion, photography, music, travel, art, and medicine (I even have an MT Training Program waiting to be studied in my multipurpose room) but I grab onto something and obsess over it maniacally for a month or two and then lose interest.  Unfinished projects abound in nearly every room of my house.  I have plenty to occupy my time yet I spend my days mentally drifting, seeking that SOMETHING that will make me feel like me again.
So here I am.  Taking my homework a step further than my therapist probably intended, but, there’s my manic tendencies again: latching on and going 110% with it.  This week it’s making a list of the activities/scenarios that I find soothing.  Here’s what I have so far:
Walking/jogging
Singing/listening to music
Shower/beautifying
Reading
Cooking/baking
Shopping
My goal is to be sure of myself again.  As a woman, mother, and an individual.  Hopefully we can get there without too many tears.
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