You know how sometimes you stumble upon a blog post and find yourself thinking "Man! She's a much better mother than me." And you notice that she is taller/shorter/thinner/prettier than you and her house is bigger/better/cleaner/nicer than yours and that she cooks/crafts/writes/decorates better than you and if that wasn't enough, you look at her beautifully photographed children playing together or baking together or reading books together and you find yourself shrinking a bit?
This is not one of those posts.
This post is about how gut-wrenchingly hard it is to be a mom. How there are minutes, hours, days when you want to scream your head off and lock your kids out of your house. How you find yourself begging for three minutes of peace and making deals with just about anyone to give it to you. How you completely lose your cool when you get interrupted, again, by the third of four children while you're trying to pee. The exhaustible inertia of trying to keep your head above water while someone stands above pouring water on your head.
I feel like I've been in the trenches lately. The trenches of mothering strong personalities and kids who oftentimes feel they know better than me. I find myself with my hands held high above my head in the international sign of I SURRENDER but no one yells out GAME OVER to save me. This stuff is hard. Hard to understand. Hard to talk through. Really, all-encompassing, hard. I've lost my footing a bit in how to mother these children who are changing before my eyes. Growing up means new issues, new consequences, new problems and while we have yet to face anything that we can't handle, I can feel it lurking. Like something is watching, waiting for me to lose my balance so it can show up and knock me off my feet completely. I feel like I'm having to work harder than ever before to try and get it right and not just right in the moment, but right in the long term. That the things I'm trying to teach my kids will resonate with them for a lifetime so that some of these issues won't show up again. Or if they do, that they'll be prepared to deal with them. And looking at it that way is daunting.
I find myself exhausted at the end of the day. Like that I've-been-up-all-night-with-a-newborn exhausted.
I find myself watching the clock for bedtime.
I find myself saying the same things over and over and over. And over.
My fuse is shorter than normal and I keep looking around wondering where I went. That mother who was here before. The one with patience and understanding. Who loved the sound of her children's voices above all else. Who knew that even though this path is rocky, it's absolutely the right one to be on. Who found joy in the small things and loved nothing more than being a mom.
I know she's in here. I know she'll be back soon. But right now, what's she's doing is hard.
Trying to find her, while hiding out in my van.
In my bathrobe.