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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Dark Side of Being a Mom

I've been thinking the past few days about how being a Mom feels like serving a prison sentence.  I'm starting this post off with a bang, but I will share some funny anecdotes as well.  My dad sent this to me on Facebook and it's so true.

10 ways having a toddler is like being in prison:
1. You can't do anything without constant supervision.
2. Every morning begins with someone screaming at you to wake up.
3. You're always terrified something bad will happen while you're in the shower.
4. You're always scared someone is going to crawl into your bed in the middle of the night.
5. Meal time is fraught with tension.
6. Someones always watching you go to the bathroom.
7. You never get to choose the movie and then it's hard to hear it over all the hooting and hollering.
8. You're always terrified someone is going to punch, bite, tackle, stab or attack you with some kind of makeshift weapon.
9. Contraband - like booze, chocolate and adult entertainment - must be smuggled in and consumed in secret.
10. Conjugal visits are hard to come by, require intense scheduling, and are often interrupted.

Now that we got some chuckles in, I'm going to dig deeper.  There have been many posts and articles circulating on Facebook that parents have written.  Posts on how being a parent is really hard, ways to discipline kids, and many other topics.  One line that stuck out to me in one post is how a lot of older people will tell you how much they miss having little ones around.  And how fast the time goes and to appreciate every moment.  The person writing this post said how that comment doesn't help anybody, and in fact it makes them want to hold their head under water for a few seconds.  I thought that was pretty funny.  Because there have been several ladies, one in particular who is older, that tell me every time they see me and my kids, how much they miss having little ones and how fast it went.  I just look at them and smile, while inside I am also thinking 'yeah, ok- how long ago was that?  You are well rested right now, content with your life of quiet and endless time to yourself- of course it's easy to look back and say you miss that.'  That comment only makes a tired parent feel like the time WILL never end, and makes you feel bad for not appreciating every moment.  This is a big no-no people, please don't say it.  It does not help.

Another thing I have noticed is when mothers need to vent, people are always out there to top your story or to show how well they are doing.  They post pictures of their perfect dinners, their well dressed happy children, their activities and family home evenings.  This only makes a parent like me feel, well, more tired.  I feel like I can barely keep my kids fed, changed and entertained for so long without feeling like I am going to freak out.  I don't know if some moms are pre-disposed to be more patient, creative and selfless, but I feel very inadequate to the task.  4 years of being a Mom and I still feel overwhelmed, inpatient, and irritated.  I don't feel fulfilled in my role or satisfied.  Does this mean I want to go to work?  No.  I don't want to miss out on those precious moments that do happen.  I want to be there for my kids to keep them safe and protected.  But when I say I am a home maker on forms or when people ask if I work, deep down, I do feel inadequate.  And for me, it has nothing to do with the world's view.  It is just so much harder, more tiring and draining then I ever thought possible.  Did I ever want a bunch of kids?  No.  In fact, kids used to bug me.  A lot.  I loved holding  babies, but that was it.  But I did know being raised in my church, that a woman's goal and ultimate happiness was to be found in being a mother.  I have not found that.

I love my children very much, and I miss them easily.  I have a great support system, family living nearby and a wonderful husband.  But I am still bone weary, drained and barely getting by.  I do push myself hard- I push myself to have a very clean house.  No matter what.  But that is because it makes me feel more at peace with myself.  Accomplishing this is very difficult with little kids, but still possible.  "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."  The first thing to get me grumpy is a messy house.  I do not cook much or well, or do great stimulating activities with my kids.  Reading a book and doing a few puzzles wears me out.  Do my kids watch TV?  Absolutely.  The small things are just things you never realize until you are a parent.  You can't go to the store without all their shoes, coats, sippies, your purse, your coat, until you feel like not even going out.  Too much work.  Planning any outing takes consideration and time in packing a diaper and feeding bag.  Going to church requires a lot of energy and patience.  Showering and going to the bathroom means little ones following you constantly, while making messes that you just cleaned and dumping all your stuff out.  Trying to get anything done is a herculean task at times, and you just want to snap to be left alone for goodness sakes!  You want to eat when your hungry instead of having to feed your kids, clean it up and then repeat the process and you finally get to eat like an hour later.  Being woken up by your 4 year old multiple times a night, leaving you tired for the early mornings.

Wanting to watch a favorite show, but your kid won't nap and you are exhausted.  Having people that want to visit and really you just want everyone to LEAVE YOU ALONE.  When the house is quiet, I treasure that sound.  I miss the quiet.  I miss my house staying clean, and fingerprints not on everything.  I miss having order, and things in their place and not randomly missing.  I miss sleep, I miss hygiene and taking care of myself.  I miss....me.  I don't know who that is anymore.  I am overweight now, cranky, overwhelmed, tired and not so pretty anymore.  If I get to do my hair, it isn't great.  I know I am now getting into a pity party.  The reality of being a mom is, well, horrible sometimes.  I know many can relate, but I feel this way a lot lately.  Granted, a big part of my emotional turbulence right now could be due to the fact I'm pregnant.  I am 11 weeks along now and even more tired and irritable.  Now you're probably asking, why am I having a third child?  Well, I am ok sharing that.  Carter is our oldest as you know, this is his blog and he is disabled.  Having Sierra was not a hard choice because we knew we weren't carriers of 1p36, and we felt having a normal child would help us out in dealing with Carter.  It has helped in a lot of ways, but we are still teaching Sierra to be nice to him.  But what we noticed in raising both kids, is with Carter away at preschool and even when home, they can't really play together.  Carter will be like a baby for a while yet, and Sierra is growing fast.  We knew she needed a sibling, someone she could play with.  I'm not saying she won't play with Carter, but she needs a companion.  She will be like a single child if we had no more children, and I think she would end up being more difficult and spoiled.  I think she will need someone to share with, play with, teach with and yes, help Carter with.

Carter also gives being a mom a harder, longer perspective.  Having him be our first means we will still have to take care of him, while dealing with smaller children and babies.  He isn't our last, where I can just focus on him.  Nope.  He is our first, and instead of being the older brother and helping out, he is still like a baby.  This is hard.  Also, not knowing how long he'll need to live with us and need daily help is also hard to think.  With most kids, at around 18 you can think of them progressing on to missions, college, marriage, etc.  But with Carter, well, he'll be around as long as he lives.  I want him to live a full life, but I don't want to sign up for all of that time.  It's overwhelming to think about.


 I anticipate a harder road ahead also, because of having 3 babies and Chris gone more at school.  Sometimes I question my sanity but, I will take it one day at a time.  I have enough love to go around, just not enough energy.  That, I hope, God will help me with.  I absolutely know I am imperfect and I have a long list of things I should be doing or improving on.  Just, some days, I want to complain how I hate this time of my life.  But lest you think I am always like this, let me share what I do love about being a mom.  I also love babies and the newness and hope they bring. 
-  I love when they are cuddly and need you
- I love when I hear that little voice say "momma" although sometime I cringe
- I love that little hand in mine when we walk
- I love their laughs and smiles, meaning they are happy
- I love their pure joy at simple things
- I love buying things for them

I have so many thoughts percolating, I don't know if I got them all down.  But I just felt like sharing.

1 comment:

  1. Hey There.... Have not read blogs for about a year and now catching up. Love Loved this blog. I know exactly how you feel and appreciated your post in more ways than one. The smile I got the tears I shed the feelings that we moms do feel with normal kids and a special needs one. The end about having Carter with you forever and being a baby for so long. I totally understand that. Taylor was my last though and I feel blessed in that matter because I don't know if I could have handled having others. My hats off to you for that but yes the fact that your other child does need a normal sibling. There are so many factors that people don't always think about being a parent of a special needs child. I appreciate you and your comments always. Hang in there and best of luck to you and the new baby. Being a mom is so much hard work but rewarding.... I just keep telling myself the quiet moments will come eventually. LOL

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