I love my kids, I really do. I tell them at least 87 times each day … “to the moon and back” to be precise. But lately things have been pretty rough. It’s not that my kids have been particularly challenging or anything — at least no more than the usual tantrums and clingy baby stuff that most parents deal with — but I’ve been feeling extra overwhelmed. For some reason, the littlest things feel hugely disappointing and I have a much shorter fuse and I feel like I’m totally failing at this mom thing the majority of the time. And then I hit a bit of a breaking point the other night where a thought flashed through my mind as I had tears of frustration running down my face:
“Sometimes I wish I weren’t a mom.”
The fact that I even thought it took me aback and was honestly a bit scary. I mean … who even thinks that? I can’t even imagine how selfish and awful that would sound to other women … especially the ones who have lost babies or who have been trying so desperately to conceive. If something suddenly happened and I didn’t have my children anymore I would be completely devastated. I would never in a million years wish away my children. So why am I feeling this way?
After thinking for a while, I realized that there are plenty of little things that could’ve been catalysts for this thought: a baby who won’t take a bottle and rarely wants anyone but me (I can barely even get away for a shower), an insufferably particular toddler who seems to fall apart over the tiniest minutiae, the seemingly impossible task of working from home while attempting other day-to-day tasks as well … it can all feel like a lot some days. But none of those things are the main reason for my feelings as of late. I realized that what it all boils down to is the fact that this motherhood gig … it NEVER ends. That in and of itself is both the best and worst part about being a mom.
As thankful as I am for my children and the fact that they bring me a massive amount of joy, it doesn’t negate the fact that being a parent is a damn hard job … the job that never ends. There are no sick days, or holidays, or time-outs. Even when my kids are asleep, I’m still on-call because they might wake up hungry or with a tummy ache, or because they had a bad dream. And even though I am very blessed with a lot of help (a wonderful husband and grandparents who live nearby) the fact remains that sometimes kids just want Mama. My husband is great at jumping in, but there are some things that only I can do (or that my children will only let me do). Like breastfeeding our son or taking our daughter to use the potty. Sometimes, for them, only my snuggles and comforting will do. Even when dinner is on the stove about to burn, or we’re running late for an important appointment.
Sometimes there’s not even enough space to breathe and I feel like I’m suffocating. During these times everything feels overwhelming. The sounds of my baby shrieking or the silliness of my daughter as she bounces and twirls around the kitchen, things that might typically evoke a wry smile from me are now things that grate on my nerves. I feel the tension building as my irritation reaches it’s limits. It’s like I’m a kettle about to boil over.
I feel like an awful person for even thinking I didn’t want to be a mom, even for just a moment. What is wrong with me?
So I texted a friend and fellow-mom, someone who I knew wouldn’t judge me. Being vulnerable with someone and admitting such feelings can feel a little scary, but I’m so glad I did. Something about giving my feelings a name, putting them out there and hearing that another parent had felt the same before made me feel infinitely better. Like I was still an OK mom … like I was normal.
So there you have it. Maybe I didn’t want to be a mom today, but I do know that I want to be a mom always. I know that I love my children and that today was a fleeting day. Not my best or my finest day as a parent, but there’s always tomorrow — a new chance to be the mom I want to be.