It’s been three weeks since my last meltdown and I just want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for appearing ungrateful for the amazing life I have. I’m sorry for forgetting how lucky I am to have two healthy boys. I’m sorry for losing it and yelling and crying. I’m sorry for thinking that maybe it would just be better if I left. I’m sorry for taking it out on my husband who tries to understand every time this happens but just doesn’t get it. You know I love my boys so much. The boys I prayed so hard for and waited years and years for and finally had to resort to science to help me get them. The ones you blessed me with. But can I say that this has been SO much harder than I thought it would be? I can’t even pinpoint what exactly it is that drives me over that edge. Yes, it could be the daily, continuous whining and yelling of my not-yet-two-year-old Juju. It could be the tantrum-throwing of my super sensitive DJ over every little thing that doesn’t go his way. It could be that I have to literally sneak off to the bathroom to pee and shit without an audience. Nine out of 10 times there is a screaming Juju outside the bathroom door banging to get in or a fight between the boys because I dared to leave them by themselves for a few minutes to relieve myself. Maybe it’s that most of my day consists of rationalizing with two boys under the age of four over which cup is rightfully theirs.
My adult interactions are limited. When hubby comes home, it is seriously a case of divide and conquer and the rush to have dinner, bath time, and bed time. Each one of those events has their own challenges and on most days the challenges overshadow the beautiful little things my boys say and do. Sometimes I feel it is me. Maybe I’m not cut out for this motherhood thing. Clearly, it is too late now but I really have my doubts. I should be better. I should be more tolerant. I should be more patient. I should be more engaged with them and not count the minutes till one of them naps and I can finally have a little peace and quiet. Maybe my mom was right and I should have never quit my job. She said I would miss it and that staying at home would be harder than I thought.
I quit my job when DJ was born and I swear there is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about going back to work. I miss the adult interaction, the dressing up with nice clothes and not my standard mom uniform, the feeling of accomplishment of a job well done because, to be honest, keeping a tidy house, doing the laundry, and cooking dinner just doesn’t do it for me. On some days I actually feel I am getting dumber. My college education and 15+ years of experience in banking do not really help me in my day-to-day. In its place are things like how to clean crayon drawings from walls, which soaps won’t irritate my son’s sensitive skin, or how to cut my son’s sandwich in such a way so that he doesn’t lose his cool.
Can we talk about how my boys have affected my marriage? I have a great man, a true partner in life who believes in me as much as I believe in him. And you know what? Most days we are in DEFCON One mode trying to find that delicate balance of spending quality time with them and getting done what needs to be done with the least amount of tears and screams. Gone are the days when we had time to talk about more than what happened at work. Vacations and dinners out are not the same. We are always on guard, making sure these fearless boys don’t plunge to their death somehow.
I can still remember the days hubby and I would just spend Sundays picking up bagels and walking all day, trying to discover new parts of the city and talking about everything and nothing at the same time. Yet, I don’t think he feels what I feel. He still has a life outside of being a dad. He goes to work where he gets to feel challenged, motivated, and connected to other people besides us. Ok, yes, staying at home with the kids is a luxury. I am very aware of that. I even get to go to the gym every day because there is a day-care there and I get to have one or two kid-free hours. During that time, I get to focus on my fitness which is now a priority. I get a sense of pride and accomplishment there. So why am I still complaining? Good question.
My husband asks me that all the time. The only answer I can come up with is that it just isn’t enough – for me at least. I need more. But that’s on me to fix. So again I’m back to me doubting whether I’m cut out for this. I find myself having these meltdowns every couple of months. It just gets to me sometimes. The amazing soul-crushing monotony of it all. The way the simplest things can feel like the hardest things to deal with. So I do what I need to do when this meltdown hits. I allow myself to take a day to sit in this uncomfortable place and feel these overwhelming emotions. I allow myself to feel the guilt, the feeling of not being enough – not strong enough, not patient enough, not loving enough. I allow myself to feel the grief for my old life, the person I was before this mommy role took precedence.
Yes, I have these meltdowns. Most of the time I have them in the dark corners of an empty room when the kids are not there or I hold it together till the boys are down for the night. I allow myself to cry and let myself feel it all. Eventually, I start to feel “okay” again. I read about other moms' experiences and I realize I am not alone. A lot of moms out there go through this. It is not evident in the Instagram and Facebook world, but it is there. It is there, behind every happy smiling family. We are all human, after all. Sorry for the meltdown and my complaining. You know I love my life and my family. In fact, I think I owe you some thanks for allowing me to find the necessary clarity and strength to pull myself together in this latest episode. Was it you who sent my friend to tell me how amazing she finds my boys?
How open and loving they both are? She said it speaks a lot as to what a great mom I am. She made me remember that the great qualities my boys have are a direct result of them having a loving mom and dad. I just need to remember that. For as much as I think I am doing something wrong or not doing enough, I am doing a lot right. We all are doing better than we think. This article was originally published at Pushing Back 40.