human mama

by humanmama on July 17, 2016

Both of my parents have now addressed at different times that I seem to be turning “negative.”

As in, when you read my writing or listen to me talk, it might sound like I don’t love being a mom to four kids.

The truth is that this is what motherhood is. This is what parenting is. At least for me. Parenting kids is so much different than any other thing you can take on in life that it really should have it’s own dedicated team of federal mental health professionals.

It’s waiting six years to adopt a child and finally getting him. Getting to hold her and be her mama. And then feeling six months later like you’re choking back tears of exhaustion all the time, wondering if you’re doing everything right, wondering why is this so hard?

It’s often, very often, wondering “Am I doing this right?” and also “why is everyone else getting this right?”

Parenting is having thing after thing after thing after thing to do and still unloading and reloading the dishwasher at 11pm although you’re about to pass out from exhaustion.

Parenting is fertility treatments until you’ve spent all your money to finally, FINALLY be pregnant, and then silently chanting to yourself “I wanted this…I wanted this” when the twins are six and you’ve had to tell them to stop hitting each other fifteen times in the car.

For me, parenting is knowing your whole life you’ve wanted kids. But as incredible and rewarding and perfect as it can be, having kids in no way makes losing all of your freedom, forever, easier.

Parenting is filled with moments of infinite beauty–all those moments on facebook–that truly cannot even be put back into words. Watching your 18-month-old find a bug on the sidewalk for the first time. Talking through pre-pre-teen angst and heartache with your ten year old daughter. A picture is worth a thousand words, but all those little instagram photos aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on. Just the experience is the gold, the thing that lines the sunset at night. Just the experience is worth putting down your iPhone and being there.

I get antsy, now. I didn’t used to. I could sit and watch an entire movie, before kids, but now I’m hopping up to turn out the lights, to check the laundry, to turn the dishwasher back on. And that’s when we try to actually sit down, when we have the time, which happens regularly about every 6 months. I didn’t know I would be so busy. I’m not trying to glorify being busy. I didn’t know that your heart could break with happiness and longing at the same time.

I miss having a job, for the company of people over age 10 but also for the time alone, the time with my own thoughts, the time with just a directive from someone higher-up. I miss going away from my house. When my kids are gone now, (which is so, so rare but Carpenter took them out yesterday for a hike), I am at a loss. Usually my day looks like this: clean, get breakfast for 4 kids, clean, eat a little breakfast, clean, break up a fight, remind everyone to make their beds, make my bed, fold, fold, put away, clean, get snacks, try to find shoes, try to plan an outing because I SAID PLEASE DON’T HIT EACH OTHER… Every fiber of my being is woven into being a mama, being a caretaker, being in charge of this house. When they’re gone, my day falls apart: clean… clean… clean… check facebook… stare into space for 20 minutes… clean….

I don’t feel negative. But I do feel distant. I feel sometimes so tightly wound up like a spring at night that I lay in bed thinking of one thousand things I didn’t do today, that I might never do. Checkups and outfits and school paperwork and playdates and birthdays and bills, always bills. And then sometimes I’m so exhausted that I can hardy get through the day, just hoping that this one time the baby won’t want to climb on the table and I can sit down while my kids watch a show.

“Forgive me, everyone,” I want to say, choking back tears. Sometimes the feeling of letting everyone down is so overwhelming I can’t breathe. But often, lately, I just want to say “Hey. I’m doing my best.” I hug my kids, I tell them I love them to excess. I try to teach them to find the good in everyone and that people who are rude often are hurting inside. I don’t beat them. I don’t do drugs (although I do take probably more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen). I try to seek out some hobbies for myself, or kind friends that I can talk to and vent to, so I don’t take my frustration out on my kids. I do get angry and frustrated, and I try to explain why. I read them books. I cook them food. I take them to the park, to the library, to the shoe store, to the grocery store at least four times a week. I make slime out of glue and borax for them. I try to always remind them I love you more than anything. I’m not perfect, I’m only human. I’m trying my best.

And I think they know.

trying to sleep

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