Thursday, August 14, 2008

my waves of self-pity / August 14, 2008

Well, we all managed to sustain major injuries yesterday, not including Benji. I badly bruised my toe, as described in the last post. Chad fell off his bike on the way to work and skinned his knee. Last evening, Ethan tripped over a pipe sticking out of the ground and scraped his ankle up. He cried about it for a whole hour. He was even whining about it when he went to bed. What a day. And, yet, we somehow manage to survive.'s only half over, and I feel ready to collapse. How can motherhood be so draining? I wish someone would banish me to solitary confinement for the afternoon. I got the kids in the stroller and walked with Bridget and Dina and their kids to Starbucks. Ethan had a choco milk; I had a passion iced tea. Then we went to the cyber cafe playground for close to two hours. I talked to the ladies, and Ethan played, and Benji fussed. He didn't want to go to sleep except for the 15 minute nap he took while we were walking. Ethan sustained another two falls off the picnic bench and said he wanted to go home. On the way home, I was holding a crying Benj in the sling with one hand on his head to support it because he arches so much, and I was one-handedly pushing the stroller which is not easy to steer. This time of day every day I start to feel really sorry for myself. A car drove by as I was crossing the street and using lots of force to get the stroller up the curb on the other side. I'm sure I was a sight with a screaming baby arching his back against me, using one hand to push a stroller with a toddler in it, my hair a mess, my face sweaty, and my shoulders drooping. But I wondered if they looked at me and sympathetically thought Poor woman struggling with those kids. I don't know how she does it. I wanted them to feel sorry for me.
Sadly, these waves of self-pity wash over me nearly every day around that time. I'm sure it's the combination of hunger, tiredness, and the looming thought of trying to get two children down for naps without one of them having a meltdown, or me losing my temper.
Something is not right with my attitude here. I realize and believe that mothering is a high calling and requires dedication, selflessness, and hard work. And I love what I do most of the time. But there are those moments every day, more than once a day, where I wonder why I'm doing this, why I'm not happy, and why it can't be easier. At the same time, while I'm thinking those things and feeling sorry for myself, I know that in 5 years, I'll look at Ethan and Benjamin and think I wish they were tiny again. I loved that age. It was so much easier.
I don't know. If I sat any mother down and got her talking, I'm sure she would admit feeling these same things at some point, but I am so conflicted. I AM happy doing what I do, I wouldn't be happy working full time or being away from my kids. I KNOW that my work is absolutely invaluable. But I also wish it was easier, that I had endless energy, that I never lost my temper and felt sorry for myself, and that I wasn't too self-conscious to chase Ethan with my breasts bouncing up and down and my bottom jiggling. And then I feel guilty for thinking these things, for not simply being grateful that I have two very healthy, very wonderful children who bring me more joy than I thought possible.
I know that motherhood pays in joy, love, satisfaction, fulfillment, and laughter. And yes, these are worthwhile and should be enough for me.
But I wish that it paid in cold hard cash too.


michellep said...

Oh Hope, your post made me sigh! You're right that being a mother is sooooo hard—by far the hardest thing I've done. But I want to assure you that you're doing an awesome job! You are a wonderful example to me of what it means to be a good mother. What I appreciate most is that you're willing to admit you have hard times because we all do!I applaud you :)

P.S. you wanna come to a playgroup tomorrow? I meant to go to the zoo on Wednesday but ended up waiting at the Social Services office for 3 hours!

bullio said...


I've been having a very hard day...Feeling all the things you just put down in your blog and well, reading it, has made me feel a million times better! thank you!

Kate's up! gotta run

bullio said...

sorry bout that extra comma there english major ;)

Brooke said...

I think it's totally normal for a mother of small children to hit the wall mid-day. You are awesome, Hope! Chin up.