While it appears everyone is embarking on their New Year’s Resolutions and reinventing themselves on top of being extremely perky about it all, I feel like I’m stuck in my own winter.
I’ve not posted in awhile because lately it feels like I have nothing left at the end of the day to contribute to this blog. Lately motherhood seems to be darkening the light in me.
I don’t have anything extremely enlightening to write about or say because frankly life is just hard right now.
I’m feeling lost in motherhood. I wish I could fake it til I make it. I wish I could plaster on the smile and press forward. I wish I could be like my devout Christian friends who say motherhood is a calling from God and a blessing! Yeah, that sounds all warm and fuzzy but most days I feel God called the wrong person. There’s been a huge mistake here.
Elisha has entered a new stage of not sleeping…ever. Also, she is entering the stranger danger, separation anxiety stage. Last week I began working out again after the holidays. I did my usual two hour prep with the kids to get to the Y. Yes, it takes 2 hours to plan, prepare, toss kids in the car, drive, sign in to childcare, and collect my frazzled self before stepping into a class. Let’s call that a mommy pre-workout. Once I was there, I got five minutes into the class and was called out because Elisha was screaming her head off and they can’t get her to stop. She was tired. I can’t help but feel a little bitter that the child care workers couldn’t figure that one out and rock her to sleep. That bitterness is probably because I am tired myself. This mama just wanted to take an hour of yoga after not entering the gym in awhile. I just wanted to breathe, dammit. I will not even go into detail about sibling fights. Sibling fights are the worst.
It’s shit like that that just piles on day after day and it gets to be too much. I need more hands. I need to be able to never sleep. If I can just stay up all night I can accomplish so much more including exercise and deep breathing practice! I need to breathe, sleep, eat, and pee in solitude. I need to not feel like I’m full of constant duty and obligation. This mother of four unschooling kiddos thing is just effing hard. It’s all hard. No matter what choices we make in parenting and education.
I’m working with our family’s spring calendar and it’s just hectic and I just want to shut down and pretend I don’t have to deal with any of it. What’s sad about that is that our kids aren’t in sports or have a great deal of obligation other than a Sunday afternoon hour-a-week choir practice. Most of the stuff involves road trips and I just loathe those these days with the kids. It sounds awful I know but it’s so much work and it costs money to travel and I just feel a lot of stress and exhaustion from it all.
I’m sure as with many things “this too shall pass” as the positive perky people say. I hope I remember how lonely and dark motherhood felt in this moment. Once I’m out of the woods because maybe I can use my experience to lend a shoulder for someone else to cry on and lend a hand to a struggling mama. Maybe when my own daughters are going through it I can be there to help them out. I’m thankful for my mother in law. I’ve shared the things I want to do with my kids and because we don’t have family here it makes it difficult. She’s taken each child (minus the baby) for some one on one time with her. Ideally, I’d like the one on one time with the girls but it’s just not possible right now. I’m thankful she has stepped in an been willing to let each child spend time with her.
I honestly don’t see how anyone endures motherhood without dealing with anxiety and/or depression at some point. Every mom I’ve ever had the privilege of having a heart to heart with deals with all of these things but we are often too worried about looking like a bad mom by admitting it or that we aren’t grateful for our children or that we have regrets. Doing the same thing day in and day out with no immediate gratification would take it’s toll on anyone. At least when I was teaching I was earning an income which would often justify all the bullsh*t I’d have to endure on those hard days.
The thing is it’s not our kids. Kids are unbelievably perfect. I’ll say that again another way: CHILDREN ARE INCREDIBLE. There’s so much hope and light in them. So much innocence, joy, love. It’s not them. It’s totally me. I know that. We all enter motherhood pretty much screwed up from our own experiences prior to. I know these things. I’ve read plenty of books. I’ve been to therapy. I consider myself a pretty knowledgeably person. This doesn’t exempt me from feeling these things though.
I know what the right thing to do it yet I screw up every friggin day. And then I worry about what people think. Yeah, yeah, I shouldn’t worry about what people think. I know that too. I know what all the right things are but I fail at the execution of them.
I get jealous of other moms. Of moms who have their shit together. Of moms who workout at the gym and it shows. I workout at the gym and it really doesn’t show. I battle the post partum diastasis belly and the inherited expanded hips and too much junk in my trunk. I get jealous of moms with one or two kids. It seems like such a world of difference at least on the outside looking in. I get jealous of the moms who have their kids in school. Don’t think I haven’t thought about abandoning home/unschooling because sometimes the grass does seem greener. I get jealous of the moms who have their mom or mother in law close by to lend a helping hand on a regular basis. I get jealous of all the moms who’ve been on a date with their husband in the past year and a half because I sure haven’t. My husband and I had about 3 hours in an afternoon to go eat lunch and buy more diapers when we were in San Antonio visiting family. Let me tell you how intimate that was. I have in my head that when Elisha is 3 or so we can go somewhere but inevitably I’ll feel like I can’t because that’s money we should spend on the children.
I need to find joy. I’m not content just being and that’s a shitty thing to realize. I’m not comfortable just being me or even just being with myself. Things shouldn’t make me happy. I should make me happy. My husband and children aren’t responsible for my happiness. I know that. I need solitude. Peace and quiet. I’m guilty of buying headphones for the girls so they can listen to what they want to listen to and I can hear silence while I clean the kitchen, scoop the cat poop, and fold the laundry. Is it too much to ask to go to the bathroom without the husband walking in and asking questions as to what the kitchen timer that’s going off means? I can’t even deal with that time of the month without all of the kids staring at me in the bathroom asking all sorts of questions as to what I am doing and the toddler trying to put her hands in the toilet. I start to do that involuntary mommy eye twitch in these moments.
If you’ve gotten this far and I haven’t depressed you by reading this you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “did her dog die?” because that’s the line used when people seem down. In fact, our dog went missing in early December. I can only guess he did die at this point. I don’t have closure on that and it blows. I just add that to the list of why I hate Houston because of the awful things that have happened to our family since we moved here.
Lost a baby. Check. Lost a dog. Check. Struggle with inadequacy. Check. I’m on a fucking roll.
But I’m trying to get out of this funk; this winter I’m in. I’m trying to feel less guilt about the ways in which I try to get a little solitude. I’m trying.
Music is therapy for me. Dancing is even better but I’m not able to fully express that at the moment. So, I stick to blaring the tan minivan radio when the kids aren’t in the car with me (and even sometimes when they are just not as loud – but music is better when it’s loud!)
- Four awesome people in my life.
I’m hoping this cold winter in which I feel bitter will blossom into something filled with love and warmth come spring. I enjoy taking pictures of my kids because it reminds me how incredible they are. Usually the number of pictures I post on Facebook corresponds to how much I need to see their faces from an outsider’s perspective to remind me of these things. I do have a great family. I know that.
Motherhood is challenging most days and then there are those little moments that make you smile and forget the bad shit. I need to focus on the good shit and let the bad shit roll off my back. Not that I have shit rolling off my back regularly because who has shit on their back? That’s just nasty. Ok, ok, I’m done.
Photo Credit: http://yaldah.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Trees-in-winter-natures-seasons-22173937-1920-1200.jpg