Sunday, November 13, 2011

One Desperate, Sad, and Selfish Momma Coming Up

With a few life-changing events that have happened recently, I've been engrossed in, well, myself.

Selfishness just eases right in, doesn't it?

So I've been obsessed with getting to work early, working extra hard at my job, and coming home to relax--NOT playing with my kids.  Yes there are many legitimate reasons for this shift, and I will not disclose them here, but an adult confronts these issues rather than avoids them.

Sometimes I really hate being an adult.

Yesterday, after an especially hard weekend, I had a long cry fest on my husband's shoulders explaining to him that I am a failure as a mom.  He reassured me that I wasn't; he also explained that maybe the failure is in thought and inaction.

I hate it when he's right.

During the kids' naps, I did some serious soul-searching.  Yesterday I mentioned reading Brooke Shield's book, Down Came the Rain.  My feelings toward this book are hard to explain.  There are moments when I really hated it and moments when I really loved it.  However, those moments of hatred didn't have to do with the words on the page, it had to do with seeing myself in those words and hating myself after reading them.

Complicated? Naturally.

Something Brooke relates is how after she went on medication and started intense therapy, she was able to reign in her Postpartum depression.  When she had her first taste of what a working mom would be like--a 4 week shoot of a show with her daughter on-set with her--she finally appreciated just how well her medication was working. Rather than feeling happy she was working, she felt sad that she wasn't with her daughter and resentful toward her job for taking her away from their special time together.

Cue the [self] hatred.

I haven't felt this.  I miss my kids while at work, but not in this manner.  In many ways, I feel happy they are in preschool/daycare because I know they are having more fun than they would if they were just with me.  I could not offer them what their current situation can.  At the same time, I haven't felt this deep sadness when I'm not with them.  I feel relieved when I say good-bye and head off to work.

What is wrong with me?

This weekend, as I mentioned, I had a Come to Jesus (Hallelujah!) moment.  With all the pressures mounting up over the last two weeks, augmenting my anxiety and depression levels, I felt the urge to run away and hide under a pillow.  Those familiar feelings of fear in the morning, evenings, and, particularly, the weekends added to my despair which led to more self-doubt and self-loathing; after a while, I didn't recognize the person in the mirror.

What can I do?

I believe in change.  I also believe that if sh*t happens in life, it is my responsibility to roll with the punches rather than succumbing to the inevitable pain, resulting in a TKO.  When I found exercise hard, I woke up early.  When I wanted to write without interruptions from kids, I woke up earlier.  So with all this self-doubt and self-loathing (and, ultimately, selfishness), I just needed to think creatively.

It started with reading books to my little Andrew, then I moved to taking pictures of him and his sister; writing a post on my family blog about their silly antics; laughing with Ben over the phrases Emily uses (I can't, I'm too little) and the serious looks on Andrew's face; and finally, snuggling with my sweet, angels at the end of the night.

I can't say I have eradicated all the gloom, but I can say I am trying.  And that, for me, is the most important part of this crazy, self-obsessed, puzzle.

Also, before going to bed last night, I felt a twinge of sadness that I wouldn't have all day to spend with my silly kids.




  1. I think we all go through moments where we are not the best mothers we could be. Thankfully, they get balanced out by all the moments where we are good mothers, over a lifetime.

  2. I know my kids are having more fun at school than I could ever give them at home, especially in a foreign country with my bum leg. I wonder how I ever managed to do it day in and day out back in the States. How didn't I go crazy? And I think, maybe I did, a little. For me, self-reflection always churns up feelings I'd rather not confront, but when I do, I ultimately feel renewed and willing to cut myself a break. I'm glad you found the same!

  3. Why do we do that to ourselves? I do it far too often, and yesterday was a particularly dismal bout of self-loathing. But hey, it's nice to know I'm not alone. xo

  4. I too find solace in words especially when I find myself feeling down and unable to deal with what needs attention. You are definitely not alone.

  5. For a long time I had a very difficult time understanding why my kids would want to be around me at all. It was the hardest when I was depressed Post Partum with my third. I felt like I was hiding from them all day long and then handing them off to their dad when he got home. It's taken little changes, but I've been learning that the little rituals are HUGE in kids memories, especially when you chat about them again right before bed ("And remember how we played airplane on the floor? That was fun!") I may not be able to to that much with them depending on the day, but I think you are onto the secret. :) Good for you for pushing through the fog.

  6. Ah, I like your approach. Kind of like an average? That is much easier to accept than a day-to-day grade. ; )

  7. For me, the self doubt and the self incrimination are worse than any of my other feelings. I get so caught up in the idea that I am wrong that I can't see past that idea to reality. I'm careful not to globalize the negative. Each moment is in a specific circumstance. And the wider context is a good one.

    I think it's very logical and reasonable for you to enjoy your work, work you've talked about wanting to do since I started reading your blog. I think that being focused on one thing at a time, rather then obsessing about what you're missing by doing whatever that one thing, it just about the most sane reaction to life.

    And I think making small changes that you can point to at the end of the day is the best way to relieve the guilt. I remember, ever night that first summer after my second was born, I would beat myself up for the borning day my big girl had. Until I planned one or two little things ahead of time so I could 'have fun' with her too.


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