“I don’t like being a mommy right now.”
I sent my husband a text with just those words earlier today. And (unfortunately) it was the truth.
Today, it was exceptionally hard to be a mother. We’re on day three of Buggy’s nap strike and are in the thick of a constant power struggle. And despite some good-intentioned mothers’ suggestions that he has simply outgrown nap time, my two-year old absolutely needs his nap. Come spend some time with him; you’ll see. (I’d also like to note that I have received lots of wonderful advice and support from relatives and mother friends–thank you for all the love). It took two hours last night to get the child in bed. An hour and a half of me holding the door shut while bouncing Ladybug in her chair, trying desperately to keep her from freaking out. Another half an hour of my husband holding (hugging) him in the bed. By the way, Bug always has his difficult days when my support system is weak. Always during the days where Jesse leaves before sun up and doesn’t return until well past bed time (sometimes even past my bed time). I was hit with the double whammy this weekend because my folks were on a cruise and couldn’t take pity on me.
I started out today feeling pretty good about my mothering strategy. I took on nap time with a “kill him with calmness” approach. Never angering. Never showing frustration. I just simply put him in bed with a kiss and an “I love you” before leaving the room…I did this every two to five minutes. For two hours. But not once did I crack. Smiles and sympathy were all he received. That is, before the mailman arrived. Not only did the sight of his car evoke panicked tears from my wee one, but it brought a package, a package of mama tears. You see, my postpartum body is, to put it elegantly, quite voluptuous. And with this added volume comes a great struggle. Clothes no longer fit. Worst of all, none of my bras fit. I’ve been living for nine weeks in frustration, frump, and discomfort. And because my rib cage is relatively petite, conventional brands don’t sell my size so I can’t easy purchase new ones. I’ve scoured the Internet for bras that don’t cost a small fortune (we just don’t have the funds to shell out $70+ on a piece of clothing!) and, per the guidance of a similarly situated friend, I found a provider that carries my size and, bonus!, that was having a super end of the year sale. I snagged three bras (two nursing!) for 70 bucks. These three wonderful, life-saving articles of clothing were in the recently delivered parcel this afternoon. After calming Bug’s anxiety, I excitedly rushed to try on my new finds. Soar. Crash. Burn. All three were awful. I won’t even comment further on the poorly designed nursing bras. The last bra, while gorgeous, was a horrible contraption perfectly suited to serve in Medieval torture.
In that moment of trying on the last brassiere, I lost it.
Every little bit of pressure and stress that had been building exploded. I could no longer handle my emotions. The rest of the day was a disaster.
In general, I’ve found myself feeling more and more strain from being home with the kids 24/7. I feel like I’ve been saying to Jesse too regularly that “we need a date night,” or “I really need some adult time.” I fantasize about leaving the children with my folks and taking a second honeymoon but that daydream quickly evaporates as my newest nursling chirps at me, asking to be fed, or my eldest starts his too familiar chorus of “Mama! Up pease!” I don’t know if it’s the coming down of holiday madness coupled with the dreaded new chapter of the Terrible Toddler Twos or simply having been a stay-at-home mother for two and half years that has brought me to this low. Regardless of the reason, it stinks.
It is tough being yelled at and whined at all day long. It is tough sustaining aforementioned verbal abuse and then not be able to escape it at the end of the day. Or over the weekend. But what is worse, what is toughest is grappling with how selfish I feel when I wish I could be away from my children.
Yes, yes, I know deep down that I am completely entitled to having some Me time. I read blog post after blog post about how it’s okay to not always be the perfect mom. And I agree with them all. But even so, I can’t help but feel like a miserable mother when I am longing to be away from them. I frustrate myself even more when I overreact too quickly or can’t move on from a difficult moment. I am all too aware that I could be mothering my children better.
I think that both Bug and I could benefit from sending him to a pre-school a few days a week, but it’s just not in the budget. I toy with the idea of going back to work but the whole concept is maddening. I don’t have a lot of experience (yay for marrying straight out of college and starting a family young!) so finding a job would be difficult. I’d very likely have to fight for my right to pump while at work, which would only make me want to quit. And, worst, I feel like I’d be denying Ladybug the same bonding time and attention that Buggy received (and I’d be more apt to miss her Firsts!). The thought of the latter brings me to tears. But I’m torn because in my current position as stay-at-home-mom I don’t feel like I’m being the best mother I could be. I had a friend once tell me that she was being a good mother by working because she did better caring for her kids after having some time away from them each day. But, other working mother friends wish they could be at home, particularly while their littles are young. How can I win?! (but, seriously friends, if you come across a position that I’d be well suited for–I’d really love to use my degree–toss it my way for consideration).
I typically like to end my posts with some grand realization or sage sounding advice but I don’t have it this time… I feel like I’m a drowning and the water is murky. Not quite sure how to make it back to land.
But at least I have sweet Aselin smiles to keep me afloat.