Mother’s Day was nearly two weeks ago and I had done my best to avoid social media like the plague but you know how that goes. I still popped on here and there to take a break from writing but severely limited my time spent on any one platform I don’t really get into holidays unless it's Christmas, your birthday (that’s a holiday to me!) or day I get to have off from work. Otherwise, it's simply another day on the calendar. While I know its a source of pain for some who have lost a mother or child or had a tumultuous relationship with their mother, its also possibly the one day that their families might actually give a f*** about the work they do on a daily for them. Yet I’m over here sounding like the Grinch who stole Christmas that people actually reached out to wish me a happy mother’s day and complained to my husband as such. But being the pessimist that i am, I explained to him if you don’t really send me texts for any other reason why now? His response was that it was their way to connect with me. I still side eyed him but understood his point...to a degree. I definitely wasn’t sending out any voluntary Mother’s Day well wishes. I try my best to recognize in some way those closest to me who just so happen to be mothers for the person they are throughout the year. But I digress.
This day means so much to so mothers and the families that love them that I kind of wish it did for me. But for me, it's hard to celebrate a day based on a job in which you find no joy. I’ve been at this parenting thing for almost 8 years now, 2 kids deep and still most days are filled with dread on how I’m going to spend the few hours between getting home and my husband’s arrival, followed by his arrival to bedtime. I know to most of you reading, I sound terrible and my kids unwanted and possibly unloved. But you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Life with them is just different in a way I never imagined.
While my husband and I never had a definitive plan on whether we wanted to have kids or not after we got married, we still put it on a loose timeline if we decided to go down that path. I had even years before somewhat mapped out my life in the event I got married and had kids even down to where I wanted to live and what birth order I wanted to have them. I received everything on that particular list but not exactly how I planned. Our first kid arrived nearly 6 years into marriage after having put off trying for the second time more than a year prior. We loved our kid free life!! But God also has a sense of humor. During the most trying time in our marriage (think separate places) I found out I was pregnant. Now when I had prayed to God for me and my husband to get back together that was NOT the answer I was looking for. But lessoned learned. You have to be specific AND even if you are God will sometimes give you what you NEED rather than what you want. So we rolled with it and worked to piece back our life together and ooooo Jesus it wasn’t easy (and it still isn’t) but this time there was an effort to be better on both our parts. While my husband was still hesitant about impending fatherhood, I dove in, whole body first learning about pregnancy and my delivery options (I really wanted an unmedicated birth) and found an OB that had delivered two of my friends littles after my first one was trash, signed us up for a Bradley birthing method class and radically changed my diet to ensure that I was providing the best nutrients for my growing little one. Overall, my pregnancy was great, we moved to house from the loft we had downtown and generally started preparing for his arrival. Then the moment came. While I didn’t get the natural birth I had longed for (i gave in after hours of excruciating back labor and eventually being confined to the hospital bed) he was healthy, I was numb (literally and figuratively) yet in awe while everyone around me was ecstatic. Really I was just f***in’ tired. I had been up for 30+ hours with 24 of that being in labor. I just wanted to sleep. But the boy had other plans. Life had changed that afternoon and boy was I NOT READY!
Those first few months, I struggled, HARD. I was angry as f*** and slightly resentful of this tiny being who demanded my time and my body (I was a breastfeeding mama) at any hour of the day or night. I didn’t handle my induction into motherhood very well. My husband was so concerned that he would call me daily to be sure I AND the baby were ok. I even had one of my best friends leave her job one day because I didn’t sound okay in a text message response to her. Because of their concern and my own, I reached out to my OB who immediately got me in to see a therapist who would diagnose me with PPD. While I wasn’t prescribed meds, the talk therapy alone was enough to help me get back some degree of normalcy plus the passage of time. Eventually we found our rhythm and I began to see parts of the old me who enjoyed time with friends, reading, creating while also discovering the new me. One who loved to lift weights and wanted to remind every mom that they still have a first name that isn’t mom. The hubs and I were attending counseling, I was starting to look better than I had in college and the boy was sleeping through the night. But things still weren’t right. For all intents and purposes, I may have “looked” and “acted” like a mother but felt the farthest thing from it...and most times, I still do.
Seriously, when I look at my kids, it often feels as if I’m living someone else’s life and holding space until their real mother shows up. But this is my life and these are my kids. My sweet, funny, sometimes annoying children who love me. They. Love. ME. My tiny humans love a slightly insecure, emotionally challenged woman whom they affectionately call mom. I don’t feel worthy of their love, but yet here we are, as I struggle to receive what they so freely give. And you know what? It's nothing short of amazing and for that I am truly grateful.
Despite my feelings regarding motherhood, life with them has forced me to acknowledge some hard truths about the person I think I am, who I truly am and who I want and need to be for myself and them. To be quite honest, I’m tired of my bullsh**. My rigid expectations and natural inclination to maintain order in all things has left me feeling like an outsider in my own home. Even when it comes to my husband, I feel slight pangs of jealousy at the relationship he has formed with our son. But my husband is patient most days and actually gives a f*** about most things that are important to my son. I try my best to show the same level of interest but most times, my mind races thinking about the 50-11 things that still need to be done + keeping his sister from destroying the house while thinking about all the times I went left and should have gone right. Sigh…
I don’t know if I’ll ever enjoy this journey or if I’ll ever feel comfortable enough to be completely “free” with my children. I honestly don’t know. But making sure my kids know they are loved and that their father and I would walk to the ends of the earth for them is something I will not stop striving to achieve. This is the role of a lifetime and its time I owned the part.