It’s six, but to my body it still feels like five. Like clockwork, Emily is up in her crib, right next to my side of the bed, chirping, “Mommy! Mommy!” in that sweet, little voice she has first thing in the morning.
“More night-nights,” I moan in that deep, drunken-hobo voice I have at any given time.
I think about that post, Mommy, Somebody Needs You, that recently went viral. If you haven’t read it, it is worth reading. It’s a mother’s ode to being at her children’s beck and call and what a blessing it is to be a mom.
For those of you who know me, that last sentence miiiiiggghhht sound a bit cynical. But I’m actually not being cynical here. Being a mom is the greatest gift and the most amazing journey I’ve experienced as a human on this planet.
So, I get it.
At six (which still feels like five) my two-year-old needs me to roll over, hug her, give her nursies and get up to make her oatmeal.
Then my six-year-old trundles in with his blankie and lego ship and he needs to cuddle. Then he needs pancakes. Then he needs me to referee between him and his little sister who has attacked his lego creation.
The fact I have these two miracles and all their needs is awesome. It is awesome they need me, because their needs make me a mom.
But you know what? I’m freaking tired.
There. I said it.
Mommy wants 20 minutes of sleep, uninterrupted by cartoons, or crying, or the smell of a soaking wet diaper right next to her face. Mommy is worn out from the relentless hum and drum of all that working motherhood has to offer. Mommy doesn’t want to make a fricking bowl of oatmeal. Mommy doesn’t want to exercise her WWF skills to change the sopping diaper about which her two year old could care less. Mommy doesn’t want to pick up legos and put them back together.
There are a rash of viral posts about cherishing every moment of motherhood, appreciating the downs because they are just as much of a blessing as the ups. Overall, I agree with their basic premise. Slow down, smell the roses, cherish your children, etc.
These posts are great and worth reading, if you haven’t already. They are beacons of grace and light, which counteract beacons of vinegar like me. The moms who wrote those posts have got motherhood (and blogging) down pat. They are maybe at a higher level of self-actualization than me. Those posts are full of acceptance and humility to which I might only aspire.
But I’m not going to read them anymore.
I screw up a million and three times per day, and I know it, and I lament it deep into the hours of the night. So, I don’t really need to read about the three words I am saying to destroy my son’s sense of self, or the eight things I am doing that will make my daughter become anorexic, or how I’ve severed trust with my children forever because of the times I raised my voice, or how if I tell my children to “hurry up” in the morning I will one day regret it big time because we’re all gonna’ blow.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids like crazy cakes. Crazy cakes I tell you!
My daughter’s chubby little starfish hands kneading playdough melt me into a puddle on the floor and I seep through the cracks right down into the cellar, where thankfully it is cold enough for me to re-solidify so I can go back up and ensure she does not devour said playdough.
Watching my son in his karate class almost always almost brings me to tears, as I watch him punch and kick with confidence and enthusiasm, as I watch him do everything he is told for a solid hour and feel like oh my, there is hope!
My children take my breath away, and knock my feet right out from under me all the fricking time by doing the slightest things: Jack leaves a sticky note on my computer that says, “I love you mama,” or brings home a paper he wrote about groundhogs and I am blinded by his brilliance. Emily sings to her baby dolls or says, “Missed you mommy,” when I come home at the end of the day, and I am certain I’ve glimpsed Nirvana.
So, I get it. I get how important and amazing it is to be a mom. I get how fleeting and precious it all is, and honestly, I am doing my very best to treasure and be utterly present in every moment.
It is hard. There is an almost bi-polar experience to parenting for me. One moment I sigh about how amazing Jack and Em are, and how lucky I am, then the next moment I am sighabout the desperate, deep despair of my exhaustion and frustration at the relentless pace of it all. I happen to have a very helpful and supportive husband who does more than his share, and I still feel overwhelmed.
While I respect those blogs, and think they are thoughtful and well written, having someone else suggest I should be enjoying it more, doing it right-er, and appreciating stuff at a higher level is not helpful. Maybe there are moms out there who need to know and hear those things, but for me, it deepens the self-depreciation when I forget to be thankful for a mili-second.
Expectations for moms are already ridiculously high. I know I am not alone when I say that I am in an almost constant state of exhaustion and falling-apart from trying to keep everything all together and rise for my children. It isn’t just moms either. Most of the dads I know (including my amazing husband) are also wringing their hands, wondering, how do I do it all?
It makes me wonder what we parents need to hear and see and have to keep us going.
Personally, having a Huffpost article tell me I am not meeting those standards because there was one week when we ate Happy Meals twice, or because of that one time I corrected my child before connecting with them is not what I need. Like I said, I generally agree and respect all of that stuff, and I’m trying my best. But what about when I fail? What about when I fall short of the mark? What about when I wake up early and just don’t want to be needed for a while? Does that make me a bad mom?
I think not.
It is easy to convince myself I am a sucky mom. I’m not. I’m a good mom who loves her family whole heartedly, but I’m not supermom. I also do not believe striving to be the perfect parent or feeling frustrated with our own fatigue or limitations are mutually exclusive issues. Modern parenting is a package deal filled with some interesting conundrums, and it is a task in and of itself to try to integrate everything without going cray-cray, or at the very least putting ourselves way down.
Maybe you can relate.
So, while I am speaking my truth here, I would also like to take a moment to let you know if you feel less than positive about Daylight Savings and how it affects your children (particularly in regard to how your children affect your sleep), that is perfectly okay. If for some reason you weren’t thrilled by your two year old pulling off her diaper after her nap and finger painting with the contents, then you are perfectly normal. If you lost your spedoinkle a bit after your kid’s third tantrum of the day and forgot to be blissed out, you’re just fine. And if you don’t have the moxie for floor time with your baby after a 12 hour work day, you are not going to parenting hell.
What about if you yelled at your kid? Hug them, apologize and move on.
Cut yourself a little slack. How come there are no articles out there telling us that? Because that is one I would read. Through compassion and acceptance of the self we generate lovingkindness for others.
We are only human, after all. And sometimes we just need more sleep.
Does Daylight Savings affect your little one? And what would you like to hear as a parent to help motivate you and help you feel supported in doing your best?