A couple weeks ago, my sister sent an email to me and two girlfriends, our childhood best friends, with the subject "we are not alone..." and included the link to a blog post that she had just read on Scary Mommy entitled Motherhood: The Big Fat Fuck You. She accompanied the link with a simple message: "nothing left to say. enjoy. xo"
I read the blog that night, and found the poignancy and candor with which Lisa Morguess wrote it to be brilliant. I didn't immediately reply to my sis or my friends to comment, while the three of them wrote back and forth, all expounding on the blog and what was currently going on in their lives as moms that made them relate to it so much. While reading and taking in all of their thoughts and anecdotes, I sat there silent. I didn't have anything to add to the conversation; yet I had TONS to add to it. The sad truth was that I just didn't have the energy to do so. I felt exactly as the other Lisa did in her truthful blog - that motherhood was giving me the middle finger and all I could do was sit there and take it.
I finally hit "reply all" a week later and let whatever was gonna to come out, come out. What I wrote that night was sent off to these three women I've known, loved, and trusted for more than forty years, and was not originally intended to be shared here.
As I sit here now doing just that, I am not sure why I am, if I should, or whether or not I will regret it. Perhaps it's my way of giving the finger right back to motherhood. Even when I'm on the ropes, battered and bruised from fighting the good fight of keeping it all together, I am here to say that it hasn't gotten the best of me... yet.
I am a “stay at home” mom whose two kids complain that I don’t play with them enough.
The reason: I am always “working”.
I work a minuscule amount of hours compared to “career” moms, having given up my full-time career, along with so much of my own time and my own personal freedoms, to be their mom; and I am still constantly told it is not enough. It is NEVER enough. They don’t understand. I guess they aren’t supposed to. They just see what they are missing. They aren’t aware of what I am missing… what I don’t get. They just want me - my undivided attention - like I gave to them when they were younger. I set a precedence with my presence that I can’t deliver on anymore.
There is only so much time between school pickup and bedtime, and homework, violin practice, and preparing/eating dinner take up most of it. On the days we have a violin lesson, soccer practice or ballet class after school, there is even less “at home” play time. Laundry, dishes, and, god forbid, CLEANING the house pretty much NEVER happen around here. And getting in some sort of ME time, in the form of running or yoga for exercise/stress relief so I don’t completely lose it, only happens when they are both in school three days a week. But if I take that time for me, I sacrifice time for work. So some days I DO have to work at the computer when they are here. Usually they just play together in the backyard or on the front deck, and maybe watch a couple PBS episodes. Although they seem to enjoy doing these things, they still complain that I work too much and didn’t play with them that day. It seems my love, attention and presence is always their first choice, and that is awesome and annoying at the same time.
So most nights, after they are finally in bed, I sit at the computer late (like I am doing now), with the kitchen still dirty from dinner, and I work. I chip away at the things I need to get done, and I end up going to bed too late and getting too little sleep.
I am just tired. Tired, drained and fed up. There are some days I find it in me to be positive, empowered and motivated to accomplish a lot. I wish I could find that every day. I am working hard on that, but it is an uphill battle. I know I could, and would, do so much more, have a more positive attitude, and be able to better approach the challenges if my husband and I saw things eye to eye more often. Unfortunately, we just don't, and improving that aspect of it all is beyond my ability and energy right now. So I am left muddling through the rest of it, at times disheartened and weary from living in this exhausting reality.
I have never felt in my life as I do now… so lost, yet so sure of myself too, in contrasting ways. So I don’t want to meet with you all to talk about it in depth for hours and hours, as I think that would drain me and possibly leave me even more deflatted. I don’t know if you can relate to this, but these days, when I get the chance to take a whole day away from them (my husband and kids), I want to do anything else but talk about or think about them. I want to do what I enjoy while alone — go running, take a yoga class, read the books I never have time to read somewhere quiet and peaceful, or go mindlessly browsing around places and shops I like — taking in and enjoying a side of life that is not the norm for me these days. Just be ME and feel like me as an individual, unhindered by my duties and my challenges. Not to run away or be in denial of anything, but just to get a clear break from it sometimes - a reset button.
I know we all will get through this hard shit eventually. We just have to be diligent to always look forward in the direction of good rather than get caught up in the past and debilitating thoughts. Those negative habit patterns will get you every time. I know I have so many of them that I am constantly fighting to break free from. I succeed only when I am mindful and disciplined enough to take time and nurture myself in the ways I know will give me peace and hope, that will uplift me and help me to feel positive, empowered, and strong enough to persevere. And I remind myself often that I AM NOT A VICTIM. Say those words to yourself as much as you need to to remind yourself of it too.
So I will be over here working on it, looking for inspiration within myself, and finding reprieves from the troubling aspects of it all when I can. I need to rely on myself a bit more these days and not fall into the trap of looking to others to help make me feel good, which has been my weakness of late; and just have faith that this stage of my life is something I need to go through to get to a better “other" side.
My deepest love to you all.