Tuesday, May 08, 2007


**warning**do not read this if you wish to think that motherhood is always rosy and gay***

i can't fall asleep, which is a rare occurrence these days. normally, i crash into bed and steal as many hours (minutes) as i can before i am awakened by someone who needs me. but tonight i think there are just too many thoughts for my mind to shut off yet.

motherhood does not come naturally to me. don't get me wrong, i love my kids, i am grateful for the chance to be home with them when they are young, i think that it is valuable to have a parent be a primary caretaker for these early years and our family has made sacrifices to have that happen. however, i am not one who dreamed of being a mom from the time i was young, or thought that i would be perfectly suited for staying home...it kind of just happened.

and so i go through these phases. i've mentioned before about the momentary panic i feel after the birth of each child, that feeling of "i've got to get out of here!" that strikes and motivates me to look into all sorts of (unfinished) grand schemes for other diversions. grad school. spanish language. this blog, even.

today, i wish that i could go to work. to do what? i don't know. i don't have a career or a path that is laid out to follow, i just wish that i did. not all the time, just a little, a few hours a day, a few days a week. something to ease the constant pressure of being the only fulcrum in the spinning world of my children's chaos. is it really so terrible to have other people be involved with my children's lives, to watch them occasionally while we parents pursue other things? is the nuclear family, one parent home, one parent working, really the only way to turn out well adjusted, respectful, thoughtful children?

i worry that by the time i finally get to the point of viably being able to follow any dreams beyond the four walls of my house, that i will be unable to remember what they were, or who the person was who did the dreaming. that i will be so consumed by this all-consuming job that there will be nothing left of me outside of it.

i used to be smart. i used to be good at what i did, with fresh ideas and a passion for learning. is it petty and selfish to want to be that again? probably. but i miss that girl. i miss the "me" outside of anyone else's needs or wants, the me who was my own person and not constantly someone elses someone. i'm tired. i'm so tired. i need to breathe. i need to breathe without feeling like i am clawing for every breath that i take.

everyone says that being a mom is the best, most important job out there. and then, they move on to the next thing. everyone says it, but not many people want to do it, i mean really do it. everyone gives it lip service because that is the "correct" thing to say, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of the ugly, hard days, no one really wants to know about that. there are not many people who can honestly say they will roll up their sleeves and jump in when someone needs saving. it's the most important job out there. now lets talk about something *interesting.*

so, do i just suck it up and wait for the phase to pass? or do i look to see what is coming next? and if so, how do i know what the next thing is? is looking for something that will benefit me the act of a completely selfish and self-absorbed person, or will the effects of more room for me to breathe have benefits for the rest of my family, too?

do i pray for more contentment where i am, or do i pray for the courage to make a change?


joysnatcher said...

Hmmm, I wish I knew the answer. But I'm kind of busy cleaning the pink puke off my clothes... ha ha.

Just pray in general. I think there's room for some time to yourself, to be yourself. I just think that "room" looks differenly to every mom and every family. Sometimes it's a part-time job, sometimes it's working from home, sometimes it's time to yourself a few nights a week...and once kids are in school (if you're going that route), there will be a little more time. It's not SUCH a long time away.

be_a_Mary said...

I swear I could have written this post. I have felt these feelings many times over. You know, for me I start to get that trapped feeling--like my life has been chosen for me--like I am in a full-time job I cannot ever change. In my rational self, I absolutely believe this is the right thing for my kids, i choose it with my mind, for me to be raising them instead of someone else, and so I commit to it. But it doesn't mean it isn't hard emotionally. It is difficult to lay your needs aside over and over again.

It is, for me, about having choice, having some sort of say in my life, rather than seeing my life chosen by the needs of my family.

On the days I feel this way, I ask myself, since tomorrow is Friday, "what fun/creative thing can I do with the family tomorrow to make it feel like I am in charge of my life, instead of my life in charge of me?" Once I get through Friday, I beg Curtis for Saturday morning off. :)

btw, a few months ago I started a job where i work out of the home 2 afternoons a week. I have a college gal come here and watch the kids from 1-5. They nap from 1-3, and so in their minds, I am only gone from 3-5. I negotiated with my employer to split the cost of babysitting with me. I said, if it is important to him that i come into the office, he has to help me with that expense. it has helped tremendously--a few hours a week when i am outside of the mommy role, interacting with adults, writing & consulting.

Without sounding trite, all us moms know phases pass. We just have to find things to float us through the tougher times. I do terribly admire your honesty, and I have felt these exact feelings--wanting to love my mommy job, feeling guilty that it isn't easy right now, but feeling so tired and overwhelmed and smothered. You are NORMAL.

christy said...

christy and karen, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. it is sometimes everything in the world just to know that there is someone else out there, listening to the things i'm feeling. (though hopefully not too often...yuck.) thanks for the reminder to pray, christy, and karen, for letting me know i'm not the only one.