Thursday, April 1, 2010


By MamaD

It's past midnight and I'm having a hard time getting to sleep even though I'm exhausted. I have a floor full of used tissues next to my bed from simultaneously blowing my leaky nose and wiping away tears. It's been hard couple of days. Lucy has been sick since this weekend and has been sleeping horribly (and not sleeping so well for a while before then too). I've been sleeping with her every single night which for seasoned co-sleepers, may not sound so bad but for me, really disrupts my quality of sleep. Especially with her waking up frequently during the night from who knows why - earaches? fevers? stuffy nose? teething? And being separated from PapaD is no fun either.

Today was the worst. I thought I had a lot to look forward to - a rare midweek date with hubby and friends to go get Indian food for dinner followed by the US National Womens soccer game versus Mexico. I don't know if it was the crappy, cold, snowy weather all day. Or maybe the stress (from procrastinating) of submitting the last 2009 expenses for our flexible spending account. Or that Lucy has been sick and experiencing a lot more separation anxiety. That I haven't been getting much sleep. That I've been missing the gym. But it was a bad day. I got frustrated. And I yelled at my sweet, little daughter. And I said some things that I'm ashamed to write. And I know that she didn't fully understand what I was saying and she won't remember her mommy's angry face from today but at the time, she was probably confused but could understand the negativity of the tone of my voice. It also doesn't change the fact that my innocent baby was still yelled at because her mommy couldn't control herself.

How could someone yell at this face? It's easier than you might think...

Following this came the guilt. Guilt that such terrible thoughts crossed my mind - thoughts that I'm ashamed to write. Guilt that I'm not more grateful for having a healthy child and a home and a husband and wonderful family and security and on and on and on. Guilt that this thing called motherhood is so hard for me and doesn't come more naturally. I read some of Q's posts on here and maybe just with my personal circumstances, find them a little inapplicable because I feel like I should have that song, "Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows everywhere...." running through my head (no offense Q - I love you but we must be in very different places right now and it was just one more thing to tip the scales today - I'm sure that everyone else loves them). And I keep meaning to post a different perspective on here so I can give myself a voice and remind us all that it's okay and normal to struggle and talk about it but it's just another thing on my list that never gets done.

I literally wept today. Scratch that - I was sobbing. Because I felt so trapped. Like I would never escape from this world of messy home and fussy baby and worrying about everything and never getting anything done that is fulfilling. Like I was going crazy. And all the while, I was telling myself that I have to pull it together because I don't want to freak out the babysitter when I pick her up or our friends that we are hanging out with tonight. Just feeling helpless. I mean, I know that in the end, we'll remember the trips to the zoo and the social interactions and not whether the house was clean but remember here, I'm the practical one so clean house, good dinner, and saving money are high priorities for me and that takes a lot of time.

No one tells you about the challenges of being a mother. About how isolating it can be or the crazy feelings that you might experience. But we probably wouldn't really understand the more seasoned mother's warnings until we actually experienced it ourselves. But I guess we all need something to test us. Perhaps we can let it unite us together and strengthen not only our own will but the relationships with the people around us who support us. I was able to fight back the tears when I picked up the babysitter and when I left my baby wailing with her and all the way to the restaurant. And then I forgot about things for a while.

Trying to look on the bright side. Although Lucy cried for half an hour after I left (this is a new development - I've left her many times before with nary a tear), she went down for bed in about 5 minutes and hasn't woken since (cross your fingers she sleeps through the night). I had some delicious Indian food. US beat Mexico 1-0 (although it was only an exhibition game) and the players made snow angels on the field after the goal. I got to drink hot chocolate and eat churros in the cold, cold open stadium in the snow (but at least we got some precipitation in the dry state of Utah).

As I was lying in bed with my husband, I asked him if I was going crazy. He replied, "Yes - but all the best people are." So here is to all the other trapped, crazy, helpless mothers out there who sometimes scream at their children for no good reason. Tomorrow is another day. Let's raise a glass to the babysitters who stay with our wailing babies so we can have some time off and the husbands who support their weeping wives. A good night out can do wonders for the weary soul. And don't worry if you're crazy - cause all the best people are.

And yeah, we just watched Alice in Wonderland - didn't want you to think that PapaD was totally ripping off the movie.


MamaQ said...

i admire your openness and honesty because on the days of overwhelming guilt and sadness and frustration i am incapable of unlocking the gates for fear of an uncontrollable avalanche. being a human being is hard. being a mother is even harder.
that is why i write of sunshine and lollipops, that is how i deal with my own imperfections and feelings of inadequacy and failure. i need to find the silver lining to have some semblance of sanity and happiness.

you are one of my favorite people in the whole world. you are a good mother. lucy knows that, too, which is the most important thing.

and as little orphan annie says, "the sun will come out tomorrow...

MamaM said...

Sorry you've been having some rough days and nights, D. I also raised my voice with my two-month-old (you know, the little human who is practically an angel and is 100% reliant on me)when I had to put her in her crib four times before she actually stayed asleep FOR 10 HOURS. I think the important thing is that we recognize we shouldn't be yelling at our children and make efforts to be better.

I'm glad you got out and saw snow angels. Why don't you let me babysit Lucy sometime? I don't think I ever have yet...

And the post was very well written. Good job.

eileen said...

good post. this thing called motherhood: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. but luckily, i think we mostly remember the best.

in relation to this and the newest post on potty's kinda ironic, that after having a day like yours, i completely lost it on my 2 year old and his potty training efforts. (which weren't that bad really) i yelled and cried and ignored him, telling him i was mad at him the rest of the day (luckily his dad was home shortly after the strike) really hit the poor guy, and he hasn't had an accident since! he keeps telling me how going in the potty make me happy.
shoot, it makes me sad to hear him say it. why in the world did i get so mad!?
somehow good results came of it...but i'm never planning on using that tactic again....

Katie said...

Oh, MamaD, I feel your pain and can totally relate. I too often have nights where I go to bed in tears because of the way I treated my little babies. And every morning I pray to have patience and not lose control, but it seems that I struggle making it through breakfast without losing it. Although I love being a mother and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, it is indeed the hardest thing I've ever done. It definitely has brought out the worst in me...and I hope the best as well. I pray that my kids won't remember some of the things I say to them. Just two days ago I called my mom crying about how I'm the worst mom in the world.

Anyway, I wish I had something positive to say, but I don't. I'm in a slump myself and I'm reading every toddler book out there right now to try to find something that works for me and my kids. I do appreciate your post though because I know I'm not alone!

And from what MamaQ tells me, you're an awesome mom! Good luck with the "crazy" moments and know you're not alone!