From The Mommy Files: It's Freaking Hard
Lately, I don't talk or write much about being a mom. If I had to guess, I think my ability to go near that topic has been stifled by my current mode of survival.
Tonight was one of those nights that required every last ounce of energy I had to get through the chaos. Our normal bedtime routine has started to turn into moments of wild antics and serious efforts brought to delay bedtime. They feed off of one another, and sometimes rallying them turns into me repeating the same phrase over and over and over again. Much like the mornings when we are rushing out the door and I swear I say, "put on your shoes" 500 times before I start to lose my mind...and then the calm, gentle prodding of putting their shoes on turns into a less gentle, much louder version.
"PUT ON YOUR SHOES, NOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!!"
Tonight I was close to reaching that octave when it came to coaxing them to get into bed after story time. Truthfully, I adore our time for reading stories (as long as it isn't the same one 7 days in a row), but lately the calm sweet moments of story time are followed by hyper-diaper boys who are as wired as they'd be if I had fed them a box of nerds. Seriously.
It used to work like a charm. Bath. Pajamas. Stories. Songs. Kisses. OUT.
I'm gonna call this a phase, because that terminology gives me hope that one day the bedtime routine will not include little boys trying to use their books as skateboards.
Oh hell, who am I kidding??
Anyway, now they are laying quietly in their beds (they share a room) and I am sitting here listening to the two of them banter back and forth. My oldest is letting his younger brother know he's trying to sleep...and my youngest continuing to try to converse.
"I'm going night night, I'm starting to close my eyes Robbie."
And in whispered breathes that are barely audible to me... "Dylan...Dylan...Dylan..."
Until, yes... its quiet. Holy hell.
The quiet moments are so few and far between. They are the moments I crave towards the end of the day and other times they are the moments I dread. Because while I may go many days caring for them on my own, the minute they with their Dad I want them back. By my side. Under my roof. Wreaking havoc.
It's such an emotional rollercoaster, and as more time goes on and they get bigger and bigger, it becomes more difficult.
I don't talk about this part of my life much because sometimes it's hard to breathe. Sometimes the air is so thick around the subject of single mom life, that I'd rather just plow through each day on autopilot.
If not, I will find myself in tears.
For the last two weeks I have even stayed off of social media, because lately it's been too hard to look at families posting pictures of "nuclear family" stuff.
It's easier if I don't have to see it, because then I don't have to feel sorry for myself.
Please don't misinterpret this statement, I’m in a good place personally and I made this choice. I am very happy for all of my friends and clients who are part of a nuclear family. And yes, I also recognize that social media posts only tell part of the story. But, I do find myself envious of doing the parenting thing with someone else. Maybe a little bit because I just want to share the load with someone, but also it would be nice to end the day talking about the insanity, hilariousness and development of our kids.
We all have our own reality, and this is mine. Each reality comes with it's own set of challenges and it's up to us to figure out how to make it work.
A close friend of mine was feeling bad about her struggles being a mom to two young kids. She mentioned (what we all think) that she tries to think about how good she has it compared to others - she's married, has a job, kids are healthy, etc. She doesn't feel she has a right to feel anything, and so she squashes the negative thoughts and mental meltdowns out of guilt and plows through life trying to ignore feelings of overwhelm and stress. Posting cute photos of happy kids and family events. Cause, we don't dare post the ugly stuff...right?
This is SO common. As mom's, married or not, we don't give ourselves permission to feel like it sucks sometimes; to walk outside and scream at the top of our lungs; to post the TRUTH on social media; to confide in a friend that our kids were assholes today and we just want to sit on the couch with the company of a bottle of wine and our favorite Netflix addiction.
But we should.
As a rule, life is generally challenging, that's why there are so many systems in place to help us get through the days. The scheduling and the career, the relationships and the self care and remembering to buy toilet paper and cook dinner. Eek. Add in the kiddos, and it is one serious juggling match that at times we feel we are really good at and at other times feel like dropping all the balls.
Tiny humans have mad skills. Mine are very skilled, and I'm not just talking about how my youngest discovered he can draw with crayon on the back of my couch (I'll leave that story for another day), I'm talking about their ability to move us from one emotion to another in a matter of seconds. They are smart, honest, curious, loving, caring, wild as hell, and the best things that have ever happened to me.
Because I need to stay true to my desire to remain authentic...here are some of the things that I don't talk about...
...the 5:00am wake up calls that have me startled awake (in the dark) by two little bodies that are begging me to make breakfast. AT FIVE IN THE MORNING.
...the insanity that occurs in the morning as I try to dress, feed, wrangle, pack, prepare wrangle again and haul ass out the door in time to get them to school and my disheveled ass to work. (I call this part of the day, whac-a-mole, and this is where you would insert the repetitive statement, "put your shoes on".)
...oh, and the most recent heartbreak, embarrassment, disappointment, shame-filled experience I've had to date as a mother (even harder than when at 8 months old my youngest broke his leg)...when my kid was kicked out of preschool. Yep, stuff we try not to talk about. (This was all for the better, but still... #judgement.)
...how about how often I break down in tears throughout the week because I wonder how this life is sustainable. Plenty.
...another gem. I have started to (sometimes) resort to giving my toddlers showers because I'm too tired to do the whole bath routine. (I know, I know...)
...100. The amount of times I have to take deep breathes so I don't lose my shit and raise my voice when neither one of them will listen to me when I say that dinner is ready and instead they are chasing each other around the kitchen with toy brooms yelling tiny human obscenities.
...how every night before I go to bed, I walk in their rooms and thank God for this madness. It is so damn hard, but they are so so worth it.
If you are reading this, and you've felt alone in your struggles as a mom (or dad), hopefully I've proven to you that you are definitely not alone. In fact, you are probably in the majority, so go pour yourself your favorite drink, curl up on your couch and turn on your favorite Netflix addiction. You deserve it.
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