Today my husband called like he does every day to ask how my day is going, or did I call him? Truthfully it’s all a blur. But somewhere around mid afternoon we talked. And lately it’s been the norm that I burst into tears mid conversation. Exhaustion, endless to-do lists, new house stress, feeding a kid with food allergies, endless needing, endless refereeing, and probably a little depression if I’m being honest…it all comes to a head. And today it came to a head as my son had a full-on exhaustion induced come-apart. He wet the bed early this morning because I forgot to take him to the bathroom before bedtime last night, after clean-up we rushed to swim lessons, and came home where they did a craft and played outside. He was dirty and he was tired. The kind of dirty tired where he cannot keep his hands off his sisters and does things purposely to aggravate everybody in the house. We all needed MANDATORY QUIET TIME. I knew it. He knew it. But he’s my defiant one and he rebelled. As I was talking to my husband, my boy hit the height of his meltdown and the next thing I know I’m on the floor he’s on the floor and I’m crying while my husband listens helplessly. Have you been there? Probably.
The longer I sat there, the more the dark thoughts came…My husband deserves better, he deserves a wife who can handle this without emotionally self destructing. I suddenly feel as if I’m failing my other two kids who obediently went into their rooms for the allotted quiet time. They know I have enough to handle so they don’t demand anything from me. My heart breaks. It breaks that my son is sobbing out of frustration and exhaustion. It breaks that My girls are sitting sweetly in their rooms reading because they know mama can’t handle one more thing. And it breaks because now I’m making my husband feel like he should leave work and come home to help me do MY job because I obviously can’t handle it.
I question my decision 11 years ago to forego a career. I had enrolled myself in school, I had the student loans in my bank account…and then one semester in I chose to be a stay at home Mom instead. I wonder, did I make the right decision? Am I even equipped for this? What was I thinking?!?! I could be working for a news station and having lunch breaks now instead of washing tinkle sheets…
Then comes the guilt. Full on self punishment. I recall a meme I saw on Facebook about gentle parenting. Immediate feelings of failure. I know I’m not parenting gently right now. And according to all the memes, I’m destroying my kids’ self esteem when I yell or scold them and they’re misbehaving because I’m doing everything wrong as a mother. My fault. My fault. My fault.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. I struggle daily to shift my mindset. It’s a mental battle. Some days I win the battle, some days my white flag waves by 10am.
I sit in the quiet and crack open a Diet Coke that will cause dementia and give me cancer according to the article that was shared on my newsfeed this morning. I look at my messy house as I sit on my couch that smells like my dog’s’ paws. It’s time to declare war on my mom brain:
I signed my kids up for swim lessons because I care about their safety. I forced my 5 year old to take a nap because I know his cues and can see that he needs rest to re-calibrate. I make it a point to talk to my husband every day and vice versa because I want to hear about his life and he mine. He’s made me feel emotionally secure enough to cry in front of him instead of bottling up my vulnerability. My girls are empathetic and good listeners and self sufficient enough to read books when things are stressful at home. Their self soothing mechanisms will serve them well in life when things get tough. My kids are dirty because they were creative today. My house is messy because I let them be kids. My couch smells like Fritos because the dog is everyone’s favorite snuggle partner.
I am my own worst enemy as a mother, I honestly don’t need anyone to Mom shame me because I do a pretty darn good job of shaming myself. But that stops now. And if you also do this to yourself it should stop for you too.
And P.S. the little turd was asleep in less than five minutes.