Friday, October 3, 2014

I can't get rid of them

I tried to explain it to Joel tonight.

But words don't often come easy to me.  Not the spoken kind at least.

So usually I settle for angry.  It's easier than sorting and communicating my actual feelings.  Anger is easy because I can say it's you, not me.

Other feelings get complicated.

This is the best I could do tonight.

"It's just... You have all these different identities.  Work Joel.  Social Joel.  Dad Joel.  I have one.  Mom."

My identity is so wrapped up in my kids that I literally can't separate myself from them.  They're always there.  Usually physically.  Sometimes mentally.  Other times, just a nagging suspicion that I've left something undone.

I've been home with one or more kids for the past six and a half years.  Six and half years.

I've loved it and I've hated it.  I've convinced myself it's best for my kids and best for my family, and even best for myself.

I've noted the struggles of working moms, and tucked them away for moments when I couldn't handle one more poopy diaper or meltdown or when I just wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee and not have to get anyone anything to eat... ever.

But the truth is I am just. so. tired.

And it's not the mentally tired that leaves you feeling drained, but also smart and accomplished.  Or the physically tired that causes your muscles to ache, but your pride to soar.

I'm just tired.  Plain old, boring tired.  With no sense of accomplishment to dull the ache.  Because as hard as I work to mother these children, I go to bed at night with the overwhelming sense that I could have/ should have done more.

More patience, more time, more outside play, more crafts, more talk, more laughter, more love...

I'm not sure I've ever climbed under my covers and thought, I did a great job today.  On top of that my kids refuse to cheer me on, even with all the feeding and clothing and general caring I do for them.  And, believe it or not, my husband doesn't walk in the door shouting my praises.  It turns out he had a day of his own.  With struggles and hardships and successes of his own.

But sometimes I get so jealous of him.  Because, once in a while, he comes home and he's had a great day.  He feels like he really got through to the kids, or he's discovered a teaching technique that works for him, or he just enjoyed his job.

I hate that.

Because at the end of my day, I've repeated myself 100 times, and yet never got through; I've tried a million parenting techniques, but none that really worked; I've enjoyed moments, but never the whole job... never the whole, entire day.

Tonight I finally got the kids to bed.  Joel was out celebrating a good friend's birthday and I was just sitting down to a late dinner and some mindless TV.  As I went to take my first bite I noticed Finn hovering at the top of the stairs.  I paused the show, put my plate to the side, and walked towards the staircase.

Just as I passed through the dining room Aiden popped out from behind the wall... and I screamed.  Like, horror movie screamed.  His eyes went wide, and wider still when I then buried my head in my hands and cried.

I love my kids more than the world, and often I'd choose a night home with my family over anything.

But tonight it was too much.  When Aiden popped out from behind that wall, I wasn't thinking how scared I was.  I was thinking, Oh my gosh, I can't get rid of them.

I love them.  So much.  But I can't get rid of them.

And yet just last night I looked over at Joel as the kids laughed from their dark bedroom and the baby's tiny feet pounded across the floor and said, "One day, this is all going to be a memory."

And not even wistfully.  I meant it.  And at the moment it felt so real.  This will all pass so quickly and we'll look back at these years as a time in our life like no other.

And thus stands the dichotomy of motherhood.

I can't get rid of them, but I don't want to let them go.

And so I'll go to bed and wake to do it all over again.  And some days will go better than others, as they do with all jobs.

And some days I'll just need to trust that I did something right today.  Even if it was just one thing.  And without praise or cheering or pride... I'll have to trust that the one thing was enough.


  1. Your post made my day better for sure! <3

  2. I've been a stay at home mom to one child for exactly 4 days and one hour and I don't know how you do it! I've been trying to figure out what is so tiring about it and you've captured it perfectly (as always).

    1. Oh Tracey, I still firmly believe that it is way harder to be home with your first newborn than any number of kids beyond that. Stay strong, mama!

  3. I can SO relate to both posts, Kimmy! Thank you for putting into words what many mommies feel :)

  4. That was Val, not sure how to get my name to appear, haha!

    1. So glad you could relate, Val! Makes me feel a little less crazy:)