This past weekend was yet another whirlwind for my family. Between my husband and I working full-time, our two toddlers who need us all the time, and a house renovation that takes up every spare second we have, we were completely exhausted. To our kids, weekends are time to play, but to us they're a time to recover from yet another physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing week. Yesterday I lost my temper and yelled (more than once), and was immediately consumed by guilt because of it and the feeling associated with it. I tried to remind myself that, sometimes, wishing you weren't someone's mom is normal, and that feeling that way doesn't make me a "bad mom," but my efforts to rid myself of the guilt fall short all too often, and definitely did yesterday.
Some days I absolutely slay motherhood (in my humble option but other days I consider a complete fail in my book of motherhood. Yesterday was, without a doubt, one of those "fail" days. I was so tired that I could barely stay awake, yet both of my boys were running full speed, demanding my attention as I watched them wreck the house from the comfort of the couch. I made lunches that they refused to eat, then they requested snacks that I refused to hand out. They stomped their feet and threw their toys and rebelled against my every effort. They yelled, then I yelled, then they cried, then I cried. "I just don't want to be a parent today." I told my husband, as I threw a strawberry filled granola bar onto our freshly cleaned table. In an effort to save our sanity, we put our boys to bed earlier than usual. When we returned to our living room, we both fell onto our couch and let out a long sigh of relief as we surveyed the disaster zone that was our home. We looked at each other, both with the same look of guilt and regret in our eyes, and promised that tomorrow would be better.
Our boys were asleep moments later, and once our house was quiet enough for us to hear our own thoughts again, we were able to remember how freakin' much we love those little tornadoes while simultaneously cleaning up the remnants of their day. That is just one of the many days that, at times, make me not want to mom. I know that those days aren't the norm, but I also know that more of those days are ahead of me. Honestly, being a parent is hard and it's OK to sometimes not want to parent anymore, because, well, this:
Complete And Utter Exhaustion
Even if you're kids are to the point that they're sleeping well, being a parent is still exhausting. My boys have been sleeping well for over a year now, but I still have trouble keeping my eyes open during the day sometimes. The energy required to keep up with their needs (and demands) is insurmountable, and the mental and emotional stability needed to nurture them constantly, even when they're crying about their socks, isn't even fathomable for me. I'm a pretty mellow person, but it's rare that a day goes by when I don't want to pull my hair out at some point. Dealing with that kind of stress all day, every day is the most exhausting thing I've ever done.
Toddlers Aren't Always Reasonable
I feel like my kids are pretty well behaved, but they're still kids, and kids aren't exactly mentally or emotionally competent enough to express their feelings appropriately (or in a way that doesn't make you want to set your hair on fire). Toddler meltdowns are a pretty normal part of a parent's day, unfortunately, but that doesn't mean that dealing with them gets any less frustrating. I might be to the point where I can block out some of my kids' unnecessary whining, because I've been doing this for a while now, but just because I appear to be keeping it cool on the outside doesn't mean that I'm not cussing like a sailor on the inside.
You Never Get Any Privacy
I spend a good part of my day tending to the backsides of my boys as they learn how to use the potty, sure, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't like a little privacy when it comes to conducting my own business. I try to keep in mind that one day they might not want to have anything to do with me and, when that day comes, I'm going to remind them that at one point in their lives, they loved me so much that they wanted to hang out with me while I peed. Yeah, I have no shame.
Getting Ready To Leave The House Takes Forever
Does anyone remember a time in their lives when all they needed to leave their house was their car keys and wallet? Damn, those days were nice. These days, leaving the house takes what feels like hours of preparation, and even then, I'll probably leave something extremely important at home, or one of my kids will have an explosive meltdown before we walk out of the door. That's probably why I've become somewhat of a recluse, because getting ready to leave the house gives me major anxiety.
Leaving The House Requires Complete Mental Clarity
Leaving the house with kids doesn't just require a strategically packed diaper bag, it also requires total mental clarity, which I always seem to be fresh out of...
Spontaneity Isn't Really An Option
Spontaneous road trips or nights out really aren't all that spontaneous once you've got kids. I used to love a good spur of the moment trip, even if it was just down the road for Starbucks, but now, well, even a trip down the road takes planning. Honestly, it feels like having any freedom sometimes is nothing more than a daydream. I wish there were a way for me to sugarcoat it better, but unfortunately, there's not.
Alone Time Is Rare
Sometimes, I just want (read: need) a few minutes where absolutely no one needs me. I just want to pee alone or hear my own thoughts or not have to mentally psych myself up in the morning before I get my kids out of bed. Sometimes, I just want to lay in bed by myself or sit outside by myself or read a book by myself, preferably one that doesn't involve a rhyming cat wearing a ridiculous hat.
You Don't Really Get To Take Care Of Yourself
I'm thrilled to take care of my kids. I love being able to play with them and make them happy and provide for them, but sometimes I just wish that I could do some of those things for myself. I feel so great when I'm able to make my kids laugh, or show them a fun day, but sometimes I want to have a fun day, too. No, I need to have a fun day, too. Everyone does, but when you're a parent, your own fun days become secondary to your kids', which is fine, but definitely frustrating at times.
Being A Mom Is Just Plain Hard
People have been raising children since the beginning of time. We may not all have the same methods, but there's one thing that I think we can all agree on: being a parent is hard. It's worth it, sure, but when you're in the middle of the store combating a public tantrum, or when you're running on just a few hours of sleep, or when you've reached your limit of changing explosive diapers, it doesn't always feel like it.
It's OK To Feel This Way Though....
Being a parent is the hardest job any of us will ever have. Like any job, there will be days when we don't love it. There will be days when we feel like we're failing and we question our decisions and doubt ourselves, but those days, weeks, or even months, don't define an entire parenting career. We're all going to mess up at some point. We're all going to fall short of our own ridiculous expectations, and we're all going to want to quit at some point. That's OK, though, because no matter how hard being someone's mom is, and no matter how much we want to wave that white flag and surrender to failure, we won't. We just won't.