The day started with being awake for two hours and longing for coffee as I awaited the “surprise” breakfast in bed. I listened to the chaos in the other room and wondered how long till someone cried. All the while feeling guilty for not being more appreciative on the day I’ve been told that everyone should be kind and grateful towards me. A mom. It’s not like that for most of us though, is it? We’re suppose to be ecstatic with joy for crap overtures and presents we never would want or nothing but the greeting of “Happy Mother’s Day”. My internal monologue denounces me.
At least they made you something! Be grateful you got anything!
Breakfast came and my heart melted at the sight of their excited pride at crafting the meal and offering their handmade presents. I love that look in their eyes when they come crashing down on me to cuddle. Half manic, half besotted.
Why am I feeling disappointed? Shouldn’t this be enough for the day to feel celebrated? It would be to others, why not me? I am grateful but still somehow I feel a touch of melancholy yet I know it’s something else entirely.
I hate cartoons, whining, high pitched voices, squealing, screaming, sticky surfaces, most fragrances, indoor plants, forced laughter, glitter, plastic, rudeness, and competition. Why did I become a mom again? Oh yeah, because I love kids and caring for them about 99.9% of the day. That .1%? It falls under the previously stated list of grievances.
The reality of motherhood is all too often the opposite of what’s shared on social media, and with those around us, because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or are ashamed of our own. The unvarnished version of my day went like this: greeting and breakfast in bed from kids while holding my bladder and dying for coffee, cajoling and herding them into a car, car ride filled with questions and whining, waiting in line for half an hour at a packed restaurant my husband chose only to give up because the kids can’t handle the noise or press of people so they are melting down, drive back across the other side of town to go to the only restaurant they behave at because it has a play area and my husband likes it, one kid eventually melts down and the other doesn’t want to leave, we all go home for the day with the children happy and the adults arguing. It sucked.
I give you example F., reality…
And example A., posed…
A counselor told me once I had battle fatigue. That was one of the rare times I was able to find, afford, and had a sitter show up on time. Self care. The words are salt in the wounds. “Self care” implies that there is time to be found and that you would feel better about your lot in life if only you tried harder to find this magical hour. All at once blaming you for your depression or anxiety and not offering any solution. “You need to take care of yourself. After all, you’re their role model.” No guilt there, right?
There’s truth to the words but the act of coordinating a chance for respite is sometimes more exhausting than not having it at all. Multiple schedules, limited resources, special needs kids’ issues to contend with, and sleep deprivation. The come down from the stress of strategizing my solitary exit from the house has triggered panic attacks at times. At best, I sit in the car and wait to leave until my hands stop shaking and the nausea passes.
An old acquaintance said once, “You chose this life, what did you expect?”
There’s many friends of my past that I’ve discovered weren’t friends at all. Uninterested, dismissive, and unsupportive of my choice to be a mother. If I chose this vocation I shouldn’t complain or express any feeling viewed as negative. I’m pretty sure ambulance drivers and firefighters get paid and they at least get to sleep and are appreciated somewhere amongst the boredom of prepping and waiting for the next crisis unless, of course, they’re parents.
So to all of you moms, caretakers, teachers, grandparents, and those in general that support or work with kids – you’re not alone. It’s ok to feel resentment when all of your energy and effort goes to caring for others and there’s no one that takes care of you. It’s only logical and human to seek comfort and want compassion. If even for a moment, try to give yourself that and seek it out where you can but don’t feel guilty for finding that difficult. Five minutes of hiding in the bathroom, earbuds to drown out the noise, a heating pad on your back while you read to them, an early bedtime (they won’t know unless you tell them), a pillow fort with flashlights, laying on the floor while they race cars on you, and screen time. Do what you have to find what is joyful for you and know that it’s ok to admit your feelings whatever they are.
I dislike eating in bed slightly less than my hatred of carnations but I’m grateful and appreciative of their love…but mama bought herself a new purse.