I want to give it all up sometimes.
This grip, this irreversible clamp, is super-tight, cutting my circulation occasionally and making me wince and shake. I cannot move anywhere but forward through a darkness I hadn’t completely planned for, a quilted covering that I can only sludge through at the slowest of pace, as not to miss where I am presently. It’s punishing to move so slowly against inevitability. We think we know why we’re doing this, what the reward may be down the road, but we really may not have the slightest idea. We have no control, but we grapple for it; we try to make the best out of the mold given.
I am the one, in a crowded space, to stand and shriek, “It’s hard as hell to be a mother!”
The list of tasks as a mom is inexhaustible. My list grows as we exist each day. The comforting, the planning, the societal expectation that it will be all my fault if they grow up to be jerks…motherhood, in a singular phrase, is overwhelming. It’s not for the faint-of-heart.
The middle-of-the-night wake-ups confirm the difficulties, as do refusals to eat and teary, despondent screaming. Diaper rashes, incessant coughing, boo-boos, and bedtimes take precedent over everything else much preferred. Lollipops stuck to the backseat surveys patience as much as the divine test of how much of ourselves we are willing to lay on the railroad track at the approaching train. As “mom,” I take my seat, terrified as the unknown yells its warning and rolls toward me, praying it doesn’t hurt when it hits.
As moms, we vanish, become completely invisible, in hopes that our children become “somebodies.”
And I have heard all of the words of consolation: “You’re setting the groundwork for them now.” “They love you so much.” “It’s okay to escape periodically.” “It will get better when the kids are older.”
Yes, I believe them. I believe what I hear. I know it. Meanwhile, I’m misplacing bit by bit the little brainpower I had left after giving birth twice.
I’m trying not to panic.
So, what do we do when we feel like freaking out? When the kids are just a smidgen too fussy? When the baby vomits again in the spot just cleaned? When they just won’t listen?
I seek out one association I have planted that looks like “me” prior to taking on motherhood. My partner in this enterprise is not human, but carries great meaning because it brings me back to some semblance of composure so that I can deal.
If my bedroom door is closed, it means that mommy doesn’t want to be bothered. Period.
I grab a book and lock us in the master bathroom. I sit on the rug and escape, even as I ignore the kiddies’ tiny knocks outside the bedroom door.
I sprawl across my bed in quiet. I try to clear my mind of chaos. I talk myself out loud into returning.
Flipping through social media on my phone, I look for something funny, a video to incite laughter, so that I can attain some stress relief.
Frequently, I am allowed to nap, depending on the time of day. Ten minutes can be enough time to allow me to step cautiously away from the edge…and to untie myself from the metaphorical tracks.
It’s unfortunate how mothers are considered oxen-strong, as if nothing is supposed to bother us about the decision to be a mother. Since we “asked” for it, we should take all the good and all the bad, no complaints, no tears. A mother is a “bad mother” if she appears as if she can’t handle the demands of motherhood. If we put on a brave face and do anything but praise the opportunity we have been given, we suddenly don’t deserve the gift of our children.
I’d say some injection of realism is severely overdue. Naysayers to the contrary can kick rocks.
Mostly, the reason I have not let loose all of the crazed frustrations I feel against the absurd culture of motherhood on my children is because I do get to mentally pause, there, in my bedroom, when needed. The door knows of my work stoppage, why “halting” temporarily is safe and required. My door is my stop sign; my door is my friend.
I’m not ashamed of this. I can’t be. I wish more mothers felt this way.
Anderson, Shauna. “Being a mum is not hard. Stop pretending it is.” Mamamia, Jun. 5, 2016, http://www.mamamia.com.au/being-a-mum-is-not-hard/. Accessed Sep. 25, 2017.
Garcia, Nina. “6 Reasons Motherhood is Hard.” Sleeping Should Be Easy, n.d., https://sleepingshouldbeeasy.com/2014/05/09/motherhood-hard/. Accessed Sep. 25, 2017
Jeni A. “Motherhood is Hard. It’s Okay to Say So.” Denver Metro Moms Blog, Feb. 13, 2017, http://denver.citymomsblog.com/health-wellness/mental-health/motherhood-hard-okay-to-say-so/. Accessed Sep. 25, 2017.