It's one of those words that I liken to "starving". Oftentimes I pick my older son up at school in the afternoon and before he's even strapped into the car seat he declares that he is starving. "No," I promptly correct him, "you are not starving...children who have not eaten for days and are dying are starving. You? You are just hungry." In protest, he tells me how he's skipped that days snack or how he didn't eat much of his lunch and declares that the five minute drive home is much too long for him to wait for some Goldfish. Poor baby.
I feel like L1 right now. Making dinner, allowing L1 to watch a show and reacting with frustration to each and every whine, meltdown, and act of home-destruction that L2 takes on. Black crayon or marker on the wall or furniture. Breaking the "child-proof" locks on the cabinets and emptying all the potato chips onto the floor. Sliding the kid-friendly step-stool across the kitchen and climbing on top of the counter and opening the cabinet where the vitamins and medications are stored and then handing me a syringe and ibuprofen? All while I turn my back for about 8 seconds? Yep, that's my boy!
I want to scream some days. Particularly weeks like this when my sitters are both sick and I am so far behind on work for work, and for home, and Christmas is only one week away! I want to sink into a deep glass of wine and a warm tub and submerge my head and disappear into my own little cocoon for a few hours. It's grueling. I want to publicly declare how much life as a partially single mom (I am married to a dear, yet work-focused husband who travels, often leaves before sunrise and comes home after dark, and has a very "traditional" view of household and child duties) is challenging, especially when you struggle with anxiety.
Some might say, "Oh, honey, having two small children, especially very active boys, is so, so hard. Don't be so tough on yourself. This will pass and you'll barely remember it." And, rationally I know that. I know that 15 years from now I am going to be wishing for those greasy hands to be pawing at me, begging for a hug or for me to go jump on the trampoline with them. I also know that these babies are not going to be so high-needs and physically difficult forever. I do.
But? I also know that I feel desperate sometimes. That I yell at my 19 month old when the hours of whining have worn me down to my thinnest thread. When "Mommy" is the last word on earth I want to hear. And then? That's when I begin the cycle of guilt, self-depricating thoughts, and self-hate that is the fall-out of being a woman who suffers from anxiety and at the same time is a perfectionistic being who lacks self-confidence and has believed for most of her life that she might be gifted, but that she lacks kindness and a pure heart. That those gifts are from God and any bits of them I possess are an accident, almost. That any good that is done by me is really not at all, but rather through circumstance.
I want to be a good mother. Even more than that, I want to enjoy being a good mom. To take each moment in stride, to embrace letting the dust settle, let the dishes pile up, and love hours of Thomas the Train. To lower my expectations of my children and realize that their sibling rivalry is natural and normal, instead of catastrophizing into questioning whether I am raising the next serial killer. To find their faces as cute at 5:30am as I do after they have fallen asleep at night. To wish that the day would never end and I could freeze time because I cherish them so much.
Part of me wants to close this post with some inspirational insights, accepting myself for who I am and reassuring myself that I am a good mom. To say that I am the best mom for them and that I am just too hard on myself. But today I just can't. Today I'm not convinced. Today I just feel like it's too much.
I don't have any answers, and maybe I'm the only one who feels this way. But in case I'm not, I want you to know you're not alone.
~p.s. This is a post of raw honesty and not a cry for help. As strange as it sounds, I'm not depressed. I have come to realize, for better or worse, that it's not just depressed moms who don't love every moment of motherhood.