They rise with the sun… or whenever they damn well feel like it. They wake, and they need you. There’s bowls of oatmeal and cereal and so so many cups of coffee. And a sink full of dishes that’s always waiting for you.
You wake to beautiful but needy eyes and walk right past the closet full of pretty clothes that used to define you. The finer fabrics of your life collect dust on the hangers as you reach for the same t-shirts over and over. Your hair products last much longer than they used to because messy buns don’t require much when you haven’t washed your hair in days.
You look around at winsome walls that feel like cages and feel guilty because you know that you should be thankful. And you are, you are thankful. But you watch your husband leave for work everyday and seethe with jealously for the simple fact that he gets to ride in the car alone.
You fold laundry for the hundredth time and know that you have more to offer the world than tidy piles of superman undies. You remember your old responsibilities from times when you filled different roles. Roles that included time clocks, and where shifts would end, and where your clothes probably weren’t covered in someone else’s vomit.
You realize that all of your favorite shows are too inappropriate to have on before bedtime, so you watch SpongeBob 900 times a day. Then you feel bad and wonder if they watch too much tv. So sometimes you declare a “no tv day!” because balance is everything.
You long for them to stay little forever, and you ache at each passing milestone. But at the same time you just fucking want to go pee alone. You love Disney movies and the fact that Elsa don’t need no man – but you’d kill for a day alone with husband.
You love stepping on the legos and the barbies, you even know that someday you’ll long for them whilst walking across a toy-less room. But you remember the days where you dreamt of different paths beneath your feet. Paths in which you moved mountains or tamed the sea.
Sometimes you know that you’re navigating this life on autopilot, drinking it all in but still just going through the motions. Loving your tiny humans so hard that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to love yourself.
I know that I am not alone in this.
Embrace the Feelings
Why are moms so consumed by guilt? Mom-guilt is a pop-culture idiom for the simple fact that it is pretty universally true. Moms feel guilty. Guilty that we’re not doing enough, or we’re doing too much, or we spent money on ourselves, or we feel guilty for having feelings. How dare I feel lost while having a life so many long for?
Well, I say fuck that noise.
Guilt is not the only emotion a mom is allowed to have. I’m not sure how we get ourselves boxed into this “not enough” mentality. I’m allowed to feel like being a mom makes be the most powerful being in the world. And other days, I am allowed to stand in my kitchen and mourn the fact that the most exciting thing I’ve done in a week is eat an entire cookie without one of my kids stealing half of it. It doesn’t make me ungrateful. It doesn’t mean that I love my kids any less. It make me human, because I am. I’m allowed to feel like everything and nothing at the same time, because I am.
You Know What They Say About Wandering
Well, when “they” is Tolkien: “not all who wander are lost.” I think, motherhood is a lot like wandering. Probably because there is no map for this journey. Sometimes wandering feels adventurous, like exploring great and exciting unknowns. But other times, wandering feels like shit. Great heaping piles of it.
So while I know that sometimes you feel lost, you may actually just be wandering for a bit. I know that I go through phases of it. There are chapters of my life where I am so on! I’ve got this whole mom thing, I am supermom, tickle fights for everybody! THEN there are chapters where I wonder if I can do anything right. Why does my six year old defy me? Why don’t they ever ask their dad for juice? WTH is that on the carpeting? I’m just going to pretend I didn’t see it so that I can justify not picking it up for a few more hours…
Motherhood is hard. And truth be told, it doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes it also feels like shit. Great heaping piles of it.
You’re Not Crazy, and You’re Not Alone Either
As a mom, nobody gets into my head like I do. And there’s nothing like having an out of body experience in which you just beat up on and criticize yourself. You think you’re a bad mom on your cabin fever days, and on the days that you snap at your baby because you just can’t carry the weight of another human in that moment; physically or emotionally. You think you’re a bad mom because this isn’t actually all cake and rainbows and sometimes you allow your mind to wander to easier places.
You’re not crazy. You’re not alone. And you’re not an ungrateful biotch either.
You’re actually just normal. Super Mom doesn’t actually exist… and you’re just a really exhausted normal human. Surprise, surprise.
On the days that I’m feeling lost, I take solace in the fact that the fancy shoes that I walk right past every morning on the way to make some dinosaur egg oatmeal aren’t getting any older. They will be there for me when I’m ready. My little oatmeal monsters however… will not. I brush off the self-inflicted guilt trips because the are temporary. But I don’t brush them off too quickly. Because sometimes I’m allowed to sit home and have some feelings while I wander aimlessly through this journey. Everyone is.