Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Baby can't you see, I'm drowning?

I am touched out. Touched. Out.

Do you know that feeling? When you're ready to backhand the next person who puts their hands (or mouth, or feet) on you, and you don't really care whether you gave birth to that person or not? When your breasts are sore from comfort nursing a sick baby 10,000 times in the last 24 hours, and you wake up to little hands all over your back and stomach because everyone's in your bed, and you just can't take another minute of it?

That's how I woke up this morning.

I'm trying, God knows I'm trying, but I've been snapping at the kids since before my feet hit the floor. And I feel just awful every time I do it, but I don't know how to make myself stop.

I hesitate to even put this out there where my kids could read it someday. But I have to keep it real. I can't pretend that every day of being a mostly-stay-at-home mother is bliss, because it's not. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it pushes me beyond my threshold for tolerance.

Sometimes I suck at it.

I feel like I have wasted my potential. I should have been more serious about college. I should have taken more math and science, and less yoga and beginning guitar (for God's sake). I should have gone to medical school. I have the intelligence. I could have been really good at it. Now it's too late.

I could have been somebody. I'm not somebody. I'm just Mommy.

Today I feel really trapped by my choices. And I feel like it's unfair that we make those choices in life when we're 17 and 18 years old, before we know anything about the world. Who set that system up? At 32, I would've made a lot of choices differently. Better. Wiser.

I hate it that the most cerebral thing I do some days is figure out how to get 5 loads of laundry upstairs in two baskets. I hate feeling stuck. I hate the endless cycle of meals and cleaning and changing clothes and laundry and cleaning and scrubbing and skipping showers because I don't even have 5 minutes for myself.

I hate feeling so isolated.

I hate feeling like no matter what I do, it's never enough. I'm not helping BJ enough at work. I'm not doing enough creative things with the kids. We're not taking enough outings (gas is so expensive!). If you ask me, "What did the kids do yesterday that helped them become who they're supposed to be?" the best answer I can offer is, "Well, everyone's still breathing."

I love my kids. I love my kids so much that it hurts me. It hurts me to know that I don't deserve them, that I'm not good enough for them, that even when I do my very best, it's not enough.

It's not. Don't tell me that it is, because it's not. They've watched Monsters, Inc. 10,000 times in the past two weeks. They deserve better than that. They deserve a creative, engaged, involved, patient, kind mother. They don't have that today. Today they have me. And I feel drained, and boring, and impatient, and invisible. Today I feel like there isn't enough Zoloft on the planet to fix what's wrong with me (yes, Mom, I took it).

Mary Grace just blew her nose on my shirt. I am not even kidding. I have to go make lunch. The show must go on.

This too shall pass.... right?


Anonymous said...

IT DOES TO MATTER! Everything you do matters.... every little stinking rotten boring thing. You are there which is more than most kids can say for God's sake! God bless you. Oprah is right. You have the toughest job on earth and you need to start taking care of you, some how some way... because if you break, who will be there? A friend, husband (when he's well), family can come to the rescue... you just have to ask.
Love you! Connie

Crafty girl stuck working in the real world said...

I felt that way too, when I stayed at home w/ my kids. I felt some days like it was the best gig ever. Other days I, like you, wanted to get the *(%^ out of there. Now I work and worry that I am ignoring them. They are 10 & 12, and I see them for about 3 hours a day awake. What do I do for them? Make them dinner and spend the other 2.5 hours telling them to get their chores done, or clean up their room or take out the trash. ARGH. It is hard, no matter where we are. But I have 2 great kids who are loving and compassionate, and someday, hopefully, won't need too much therapy :o)
Hang in there. It will pass, and you will wonder where the time went.
Melissa in West Lafayette

amy t sharp of doobleh-vay said...

you have an outlet girl- this lovely blog- use it!! time passes quickly and yr feeling normal! I had yr week last week. chin up good good mama- chin up

Jenn said...

I feel like this too some days! Every stay at home mom does at some point I think even the perfect looking ones! Just think how great it is for your kids to have you and not someone else all day. Also with your blog I find it's like talking to other adults and having their comments is like them talking back even if it isn't face to face. It gives you some adult time , that is just for you!

Mandy said...

Blog on, sister, blog on!
I hear you ten bajillion and 1 percent!
Yesterday was my limit. I'd had enough. My post was about one incident, but really it was about so much more.
Yes. Touched out, indeed. And I'm past the nursing part. But I still totally hear you. On so many levels.

di said...

-notes from a 61 yr old who understands what you're going through.
You have a HUGE job raising children, working, juggling schedule and family-- and All.
It Is over-whelming.
Write it on paper and tape it several places in the house where you can see it.
Read Eckhart Tolle's book: A New Earth. It shows how to STAY IN THE NOW. It's So Freeing.. you'll see.
I've been practicing 'staying in the now' for 10 months--it's changing my LIFE.
Blue skies and Luv

Jenny said...

You are a great mother! The fact you're at home providing stability and fimilarity with your little sweeties shows them a lot more than keeping them entertained around the clock. I just read a great homeschooling article, where a mom expresses the same concerns. The responder to her question stated, we feel like we need to provide constant simuli to our children, but in actuality, its our fast paced culture that has made us feel this way, and its okay to just let them do nothing sometimes, because in that it produces creativity. Now, that is easier said than done; we are dealing with toddlers and they are demanding. Levi wants constant attention around the clock, but us mothers need our own time, even if it is only ten minutes.
You have had a lot on your plate these past few weeks. It is very draining on the spirits.
I know how you feel! I felt part of something bigger when I worked at the student hospital at Purdue. I had a wonderful doctor to work with, and plenty of adult conversation. Though, through those years, I felt I was missing out on the kids lives. We had so little time together, where now, we have too much sometimes. It's all a balance, and I'm still trying to find it. I know these years are going to go by fast with these little guys, so I curse in my head, have a good cry, have a gin and juice every night, and plug away tomorrow.
Seriously, I have to keep telling myself this has to be the most rewarding job I will ever have. It is the hardest job and one with no instruction manual (Boo Hiss).
You are an exceptional mom, hang in there. What helps me is remembering the stress of my job, and still coming home to whining kids, laundry, cooking, oh, not to mention still feel somewhat sexy so I can pretend to be in the mood before I pass out for the second week in a row without sex.

Jenny H.

Sarah M. said...

I woke up this morning thinking about how the best present ever right now would be a dark room with a comfy bed, all the pillows I want and no small child kicking me. I totally understand.

Someday we're going to miss this - right?

Mimi said...

You do WAY more for your kids than the majority of parents that I have met. You just need to realize that they don't have to go to the museum or to the park every day to have a good childhood. They just need you, being there. Take them outside and let them breathe in the fresh air and play by themselves. Then tonight, drink some wine!!

Elizabeth said...

Yes, you will get through it. It will end. I have days like this, too (I stay home with an almost-one-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old). It's so nice to hear that other stay-at -home moms do, too.

Have the T-Shirt said...

There is no job harder than being a parent. I became a single mom when my youngest was three. THREE! Therefore, I have a ton of regrets, thousands of soundbites stuck in my memory I wish I could erase. You know the ones, where you snapped at your child or handled a situation badly.

And yet.....

and yet, I did the best I could do at the time.

My children grew up knowing that people have moods so that now, as grownups, they can deal with people's moods.

My children grew up knowing that not everything went the way they wanted which helps them now, as grownups, deal with life when things don't go their way.

My children grew up knowing that I didn't always have the time, or the inclination, to entertain them 24/7, so now, as grownups, they know how to reach for a book or turn on a movie when they're bored.

My children also grew up knowing that I loved them completely, in spite of all the above and they still know that.

It's funny, but the things we see as negatives are also learning experiences for our children and it all, the good and the bad, help them grow up to be capable, patient, loving human beings.

Don't be so hard on yourself.

And I totally agree with you, I've often said we make the biggest decisions of our lives (who to marry, what career path to follow, etc.) when we're far too young and inexperienced to have a clue.

Leanne said...

You're doing fine. This time will pass and you'll find the time to do everything that you want or think you should be doing.

And I agree sometimes the repitition of it all is boring and enough to make you want to run out the door screaming. But that'll pass too.

This is a lovely post and should be required reading by all Moms with young children, cause you know what? We all had/have days like this.


Don Mills Diva said...

I just found you via BlogHer and wow. Wow and wow. You are a breathtaking writer and you have perfectly captured what every mother on the planet feels on a regular basis. Scratch that, every person.

You are doing great and I have just added you to my feeder.

Tater's Mom said...

Not that I'm taking solace in your pain but I did want you to know that it comforts me (no breast needed) to know that staying at home with your children can be just as (if not more) taxing than being a working mother. I have the same dispair as you some days just for different reasons. I'm bookmarking this post so that every time I get to thinking that being a SAHM would be infinitely better than the situation I'm in now, I can read it and remind myself that the grass isn't always greener.

Thanks for the dose of reality and chin up, this too WILL pass.

jennifer, playgroups are no place for children said...

Amazing post, my friend.

Every word? I completely identify with.

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

It will pass!! I feel like a crappy mom sometimes because I work, so therefore I'm not home with them feeling like a crappy mom because I really want to get away from my kids for a while. Like to an office.


Melisa said...

I think EVERY parent has been where you're at. It really will pass, it really will. Take some deep breaths, ask for outside help if you need it, and as Dora (Finding Nemo) would say, "Just keep swimming". I'm sending Stress Busting vibes your way.

Beagoodmom said...

I think you have narrated what alot of us feel every day. There is no easy answer, except to keep on trucking. Lighten up on yourself. The best fun my kids had yesterday?......when I randomly squirted them with the garden hose while I watered the flowers. Not educational. Not enriching. But fun. I did not teach them fractions that day, but I did teach them to run in the sun and have a little fun.

I blog for my therapy, it seems maybe you do too. I think that is very healthy.

Alynn said...

I am so glad I came across this..it's like I sat down and made this post myself!
I've been having such a hard time emotionally when it comes to being a mom..it's been brutal. MOTHERHOOD IS HARD. I have been so overwhelmed by feelings about I should have stuck it out with college, I should have done more in my life before I was tied down by two little ones.
I know we have the most important (and oh so hard) job in the world but sometimes, it is so ROUGH.

Lynn said...

Fantastic post! I have definitely felt exactly the same way some days...many days...most days. It's so hard to go from being you to being a Mommy, a job where everyone always needs something from you and there's so little time for yourself. You've captured it perfectly.

Headless Mom said...

You are somebody! God chose you to be mom to those kids and you are enough- and good enough. Being a mom is hard! And all of those feelings are normal. My mom once told me that all of those feelings are normal to have once in a while and I felt so much better knowing that even my own mother didn't like me very much when I was little.

These days pass-keep blogging friend! That is one thing that keeps me going-sometimes a drink helps too. ;-)