Motherhood is a continuous pouring out of all you have to give. A collection of all the best feelings and all the worst feelings, thrown together all at once, to be felt all day, every day.
The last few weeks have felt like someone threw me in a motherhood pressure cooker. There’s been a lot of heat, a lot of tension, and the steam is starting to surge out.
It’s really not the boys that make the steam roll out. Kids aren’t hard; life is. (Well, sometimes the kids are hard!) Nonetheless, this mama feels cooked.
I will spare the details of every little thing, but just for fun, let me provide you a few small lists.
Things I’ve had on my body within the last few hours:
~poop (at least twice)
~puke/spit up (several times)
~all varieties of food
~lots of bath water
~small amounts of blood (my own)
Reasons why my sons screamed like banchees cried today:
~I walked in the door
~They missed me (awww)
~They wanted some milk
~They wanted to watch Peppa, paw patrol, etc
~They wanted a snack
~There was thunder outside
~It was raining
~I left the room
~I had to pee
~I changed their diaper
~Someone closed the door and hit his own head in the process
~I wouldn’t let him bring his blanket into the bath tub
~I wanted to feed them food
~They wanted their shoes on
~I put their shoes on the correct feet
~I wouldn’t let them wear their shoes in the bath tub
~There was a “monster cloud” outside
~We only read 3 books for bedtime
~I wouldn’t let him fall down the stairs
~They wanted to wear clothes
~They wanted to be naked
~They didn’t want to get in the bath tub
~They didn’t want to get out of the bath tub
~I rinsed the soap off their bodies
~I wouldn’t let them throw/wear all of my shoes
~They wanted to swing
~I swing them too high
~They heard an airplane
~Ethan spilled his popcorn (and many other things)
~Connor spilled his popcorn (and many other things)
~Luke spilled both of their popcorns (and many other things)
This list could go on forever. I think you get the point.
I’ve cleaned up endless spills, wiped thousands of tears, kissed several boo boos, broken up a few fights, changed hundreds of diapers, picked up dozens of messes, and taken LOTS of deep breaths.
Aside from the regular daily things described in the lists above, the boys have entered what I’m calling, “the fear phase.” It started a few weeks ago, coincidentally after they were reintroduced to their dad. I’m not blaming him, saying he scares them, or is doing anything outright to harm them; but the effects of his absence and his presence are beginning to appear. I’ll leave that at that for now. Bottom line of all of that is, they’ve been extremely insecure and afraid of nearly everything. They beg me not to leave them, cry at the sound of almost any noise, and scream like someone set them on fire as they cry, “Mommy, I’m scared!!!” if I so much as think of leaving the room for a moment.
This is highly unusual for them; and while it is absolutely heartbreaking, it’s also extraordinarily taxing. I feel frustrated that I can’t fix it, angry at what I believe caused it, sad for their little feelings and their inability to really understand them, and overall exhausted by it.
I am praying it’s just a phase and we will plow through. My fear is that it will get worse the further down the road of divorce we go and the more issues of visitation are introduced to them. I hate that I can’t protect them from everything. Not the wind, not the rain, not monster clouds, not the effects of this divorce, and not the impact of their father in or out of their lives. It’s crushing.
Beyond that, there was a death in my family, I couldn’t make it to the funeral because of court this week, and I have an important exam to take next week which I have done almost nothing to prepare for. Trying to study with 3 baby angels to take care of is like trying to shovel snow in a blizzard. It’s just pointless.
Ok, I could really go on, but I think I hear the tiny violins playing, and that’s the cue. Pity party over.
The point is, I feel like I’m inching toward the end of my rope by the close of each day the last couple weeks. I feel like I have a longer rope than most people, so this bothers me. There’s just not enough hours in a day and not enough of me to go around.
My boys are the absolute joy of my life. My heart beat, my pulse, and my strength many days. I love them more than I love myself. Some of that sounds borderline unhealthy, but I mean it in the healthiest of ways.
On days I find myself getting short, running out of patience, and hurrying through the bedtime routine so I can cut my boy load by 2/3 and pray the last 1/3 gives up the fight before midnight, I instantly feel guilty. I feel like a horrible, ungrateful, selfish mother and usually have to talk myself out of going back in their room to squeeze them a few more times and apologize.
Here’s what I realized tonight.
It is completely possible to love your kids with all you have and still be ready for bed at the end of the day. It’s ok to be tired. It’s understandable and normal to be a little excited for bedtime by the time it finally rolls around at the end of a 16 hour day with no breaks. It’s ok to need some minutes without hands touching you, someone demanding something of you, and an audience while you pee.
Mom guilt is awful. But it’s just one of those things that gets thrown into the emotional tornado that is motherhood. Every day I pour all I have into my boys. I channel my negative emotions through a funnel of love, and when I feel like I can’t give any more, I always seem to find more. But by the time bedtime rolls around many days, I’m empty.
I need bedtime so I can refuel.
Lately it’s been very difficult to refuel because of all the other things swirling around. My brain is overloaded and my heart is saturated. I’m tired. But I’m also immeasurably grateful.
When I find myself empty and desperate for a bedtime break, I am always simultaneously reminded of the beauty in it all, but that doesn’t mean it’s not ok to be happy the day is over.
Good moms take breaks. Good moms get to the end of their abnormally long ropes. Good moms love their babies with all they have, but are O.V.E.R. I.T. by the end of the day. Good moms know that it’s ok to silently celebrate bedtime so they can refresh and start over the next day.
In keeping with the lists,
here are a few of the things my boys said and did that melted my heart today, and made me feel guilty for highly anticipating bedtime:
~ “God lives in my heart and in my belly…He’s up in heaven…let’s go talk to Him and see heaven.”
~ “Mom you’re my best friend.”
~”I love you.”
~”Lets read a book together.”
~”I’ve gotta give you a kiss.”
~”I missed you.”
Sometimes, despite our love, gratitude, and exploding hearts; we mamas get overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated and OVER IT. I am so grateful that each day is a new start and we get to do it all again the next day. But today, I am mostly grateful for bedtime!