The mom paradox: internal solitary confinement

I don’t want to be here today. 

I don’t want to be anywhere. 

It’s too hard to be a mom today. It’s too hard to do this in my internal solitary confinement any longer.

I wish I wasn’t myself. I wish I was that mom. The mom society expects me to be.

A mom who enjoyed sitting on the floor. A mom who didn’t mind being dirty or going to the park. One who liked chasing her kids around outdoors. A mom who didn’t need a continuous flow of coffee punctuated with alcohol to keep back the anger and disappointment of simply being human.

One who feels loved from a simple smile and can forget how badly she’s been treated throughout the day by children and spouse alike. One who smiles like June Cleaver and has a body like a movie star. One who doesn’t crave ice cream or bourbon or bacon or cheeseburgers with bacon or ice cream with bourbon and bacon… yeah.

Annie Reneau wrote in her article”The Mixed Messages Moms Get From Parenting

“…what amazes me is how moms manage to do all of that while being bombarded with a constant barrage of mixed messages from society, experts, family members, and the internet. That’s the stuff that will lead you to the asylum.”

It’s the isolation that results from so many conflicting messages that’s the worst. Even within a crowd, I feel alone most days because it’s just too damn hard to reach out to another adult. There’s the fear of judgement about our parenting that keeps us from being authentic at moments and the fear of rejection.

Scenarios like the following.

I was at the park and wanted to continue speaking to the other mom but I noticed that my son had his hand caught down his pants and was going to fall down the stairs. We’re so proud.

Then there was the play area at the mall where my daughter informed another parent that they needed to put away their phone and “pay attention”. This was more of a condemnation directed at me, not him, but it was awkward all the same.

Then there was the “mommy matinee” at the theatre pub I attempted with both of them. Except in Portland using a stroller for anything but jogging or being outdoors is like wearing a shirt that says “I hate the Earth”. You somehow are committing a sin. Even worse if you attempt to balance a pint in the cup holder and your daughter spills it on the sleeping baby. Mmmm, nothing says classy parenting like a cider soaked screaming infant in a dark theatre.

My all time favorite is the grocery store. It’s like purgatory for parents, judgement everywhere and no escape. The shitty looks in the checkout lane when they meltdown. The chastising comments from employees when your monkey child flings items off the displays. Or the creepy people that try and befriend your child by petting their hair. (It’s like they’re trying to steal their life force.)

Then there’s the birthday parties where you’re snubbed. The story times where everyone moves away from you and your bezerker spawn (I didn’t blame her though. Airborn metal staplers are painful and frightening.). The outings where even speaking to another person elicits poor behavior from your child.

It’s easier to stay home and hope educational cartoons will appease them and I might get something done. Then reality sets in that they won’t nap unless you leave the house for activity so I put on my bra and brush my teeth because I have to try. They don’t need me to be that mom, just this one.

One thought on “The mom paradox: internal solitary confinement

  1. I feel your Mama pain. My son has ADHD and he cannot sit still for anything. I am used to it and understand he needs to stand at the restaurant instead of sit and touches everything, but the looks I get from other people make me want to just stay home and avoid taking him places, but thats not fair for him either. He didn’t ask to be born like that and he deserves the same experiences as every other kid.

    He also has red hair like I do and he gets the same treatment for it. People always talking about it and touching him. Its awkward and even as an adult I found it frustrating that the only thing people said about me was a comment on my hair. Its why at 28 I chopped it all off. We are more than just our hair!

    Mom rant over. Thanks for the catharsis!


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