I’m feeling angsty. When I looked up angst in the WiKiPedia, I realized I’ve had this word floating in my brain that is so fitting, so perfect, so exact for how I feel. I didn’t even know I knew what this word meant. Surprise! I’m not an idiot. Sometimes I amaze even myself.
If I’m being honest, and since when am I anything but?, I’m finding, even after almost two years, the transition to motherhood doesn’t end once you leave the hospital, or wean your child, or switch to solid foods, or get bold enough to shower each day (mostly) or start sleeping through the night. Nobody tells you that even after two years you’ll still struggle with your new life, your old life, and finding the place in the middle. The thing is, I like my new life. I really do. Most days. But I find my irritation and frustration and the string that holds it all together is just a tiny bit more fragile. The radio station named “KFUCKED” by Anne Lamott plays more often and it’s a long battle to change the channel. I didn’t know when I went to get help at three months post partum that the newness of mommyhood wouldn’t disappear in the first two years. I don’t know if it ever does. You can lose the babyweight. You can wear your jeans. You can see your old self in the mirror at times, but something has changed. Something is not the same. And it’s not visible, it’s not obvious unless you know what you’re looking for.
I’m sure not all moms feel this way. I know people just love being a mom. And I do. Really. I love it. I love my daughter. I love my husband. Ok? So, I’m not trying to be full of negativism and family bashing. It’s not that. It’s deeper. Maybe it’s the PPD showing it’s ugly lil’ head, just a little bit, and talking ugly things in my brain about how unfit I am, or how I’ll never be a better designer because I don’t have enough time, how there aren’t enough hours in the day to do laundry and dishes and clean and why the hell would I want to do that anyway? What happened to dreams? They’re there. They’re just buried under five loads of laundry and boxes to pack and menus to make.
I want to be a writer. I want to be a designer. I want to be a professor. I want to be a mommy. I want to be a nurse. I want to be an astronaut. I want to be a fireman. I sound like a four year old when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And what I really want to say? “I want to be a kid when I grow up.”
I don’t want to have checks bounce. I don’t want to have the earnest money returned. I don’t want to fight with a toddler or take the car in to the auto repair place and I don’t want to cook dinner. But someone has to. And I sort of signed up. I have an autographed copy of my life and it’s hanging on the fridge right next to the domino’s pizza number.
Pizza. To which KFUCKED says, “Calories. Fat. and Money.” Sometimes I can’t win.
Per Wikipedia: Kierkegaard used the word angst (Danish, meaning “dread”) to describe a profound and deep-seated spiritual condition of insecurity and despair in the free human being.
Oh. Hello. Yeah. Me too. Maybe it’s time to dye my hair black, ditto toenails, fingernails and lips and start corset training. I don’t thing almost 40-somethings are supposed to embrace goth, but if I’m feelin’ it, I should probably just go ahead and be it.
By Sallyacious on 2006 09 08
I know what you mean. For me, it’s the constantness of the days. One day just blends into the next with no end in sight. It’s not like a “real” job where I can come home and leave work at work. IT NEVER ENDS! I haven’t been apart from Abby for more than a few hours since she’s been born while Damon has gone on several business meetings and has been able to have time away from us. I’ve been telling him he should go visit his parents for a long weekend. After all, I’ve made every trip to see my family without him. He keeps telling me that I’d miss her. OF COURSE I’d miss her, but I so need the chance to miss her. The truth is he’s terrified of travelling with her alone. Sorry to have gone off on a tangent…
By BrandiB on 2006 09 08
Nope. It’s not a tangent. I totally got it. It’s a worty cause to have time and space to miss someone. I mean, we need that with our husbands, right? Why not the poopers?
I’m DYING for a date. Or a night alone. And I get to have that time, but I always feel so damn guilty about it. Just a few hours, guilt free. *sigh*
By Mrs. Flinger on 2006 09 08
All I have to say to this entire post is.. Amen. Amen, Flinger..amen.
By Abby on 2006 09 08
Have you seen the job description for a mom? Who would apply knowing all this?!
POSITION: Mother, Mom, Mama
JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
RESPONSIBILITIES: The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three sec onds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.
Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.
By AmyM on 2006 09 08
I totally understand. The job of being mommy is 24/7. Yes we signed up for it. Yes we love our kids. But I think it’s very normal and healthy to admit we might not love the fact that we feel we can never turn that “mommyness” off. Men seem to be able to turn off the parenting switch much easier. Being a mother is all consuming. There’s not a second I don’t think about my kids. (ok…maybe a second, you know what I mean) And yet some days I miss the carefree selfish pre-mommy years of doing whatever the heck I wanted. And then I feel guilty. It’s a vicious circle. But I understand. Our generation has been taught that we can have it all and we can…just maybe not all at once.
Damn…maybe I need to write a post about this!
By Jamie on 2006 09 08
Sometimes I want to dance in black heels with abandon and smoke a cigarette not caring who sees. Occasionally I want to go somewhere and not worry about how soon I must be home. I want a day—just once in a while—where it’s not my job to decide what food to make and cut into tiny cubes. I want a man, other than my husband, to covet me, to chase me, to make me feel sexy as hell.
With that said, I am not unhappy. But, I am a woman. First and foremost.
By Colleen on 2006 09 08
Oh man, you nailed it. You nailed it exactly.
It may very well be PPD rearing its ugly head—hormones can do some funky things after a miscarriage—and I hope you are taking very good care of YOU in the midst of the babyrearing and laundrywashing and moneyworrying. It is just so very hard sometimes.
By S. on 2006 09 08
It’s hard but you manage it well.
By Kerry on 2006 09 08
Have I mentioned I love you for your typos? You never mis-type a common word like ‘the’ or ‘and’ or something like that - you seem to get the one word that half the post (or today, all of it) is about, and it always makes me smile/giggle.
Anyway, I want to be like my grandmas when I grow up, but I’ve still got a long ways to go. Took me a few decades to get here though. But I still want my mommy to clean up the vomit on the bathroom floor or to do the dishes - but then I *am* the mommy of this house. Yeah, those responsibility things are way over-rated IMO.
By lanna on 2006 09 08
This sounds like a case of mommy burnout. I’ve had it many, many times.
The only known cure is a vacation without your family. A girl’s trip.
Just let me know when and where and I’ll be there.
By Ficklechick on 2006 09 08
I have the same problem sometimes. Usually when I’m watching too much t.v. I want to be digging somewhere in the Amazon or doing open heart surgery. I think it’s only natural. When really this is what I want to be doing. I feel as though I only get to use a smidge of my brain capacity. Like my brain is wasting away. I feel like like I need to go to school or pack up my kids and go make a difference somwhere that people are in need. Some people actually do that. I just think about it. Then it hits me, I’m right where I’m supposed to be and God will let me know otherwise and light a fire under my ass if need be. But on another note, don’t get me started on bouncing checks.We just returned something to Ikea so our mortgage check would clear. It’ll be okay. Oneday we’ll look back and miss the chaos that comes with child rearing :0)
By kelli on 2006 09 09
Okay…. EVERYBODY OUT OF MY HEAD!!
This is by far my biggest issue. I was not even IN the “I want a baby” camp, but my hubby was. And, seeing as how he is my soulmate and the best guy I’ve ever known, I decided to go ahead and achieve that dream with him. Unfortunately, all of the things that made me NOT want to have a child are coming true. To be fair, some of the good stuff is too, but I think my PPD has really prevented me from being able to see the forest for the trees.
It just seems like a vicious cycle. I feel trapped and like I don’t even WANT to do the “mom” thing. That makes me feel guilty and like I am a horrible mother. People tell me that I need a break, and suggest all sorts of things. I totally know I need a break, but feel like I don’t deserve one because I’m a horrible mother for not loving being a mom. So I feel trapped and sad and angry. It just doesn’t seem to end.
The only thing I know for sure is that I DO love my child. And my husband is the MOST important thing in my life. So, for them I have to hang in there, even when I don’t want to. The scary thing is people always say “It DOES get better”, but I totally do NOT believe them!
Wow… I sound so pitiful! I need a break… ha ha ha!
By Katie Kat on 2006 09 09
Seriously, I want to be a kid too when I grow up. I think it is why I love being a Mom.
However, that whole responsibility thing I can do without.
By Piglet on 2006 09 09
I really like Anne Lamott. My sister-n-law sent me her book about her son’s first year right after my son was born. It was a heaven sent for me.
By Piglet on 2006 09 09
At least I’m in good company, y’all! And yaknow, I think Kelli is so right on. It’s when I want to do something else (I currently am ITCHING to do a design but at that time the kid needs stuff, the car needs stuff, the bills need stuff .. mainly money..) that I get most like this. It’s when what *I* want and what I *need* to do don’t match.
VIOLA! Free therapy! Lovely.
Smooches to the badest ass blogger people in the blogosphere. Y’all make my day.
By Mrs. Flinger on 2006 09 09
I just want to say, I know how you feel. I really do… and I think that many more moms feel just like we do.
By Serenity Now on 2006 09 09
I know where you are coming from I have been there myself. I hope you don’t have to go through what I went through to realize that you can have everything that you want. You can be a wonderful mother without giving up the rest of who you are.
I found out that by being a little selfish and making myself whole I have become an even better mother.
I wish that I could tell you it gets better but I realized after 15 years of marriage and 14 yrs ofl being a mother that things don’t change unless you change them. People will think you are content to just be mommy forever and ever and never have anything for yourself. Just because you want a career, a girls night out, 2 hours at the spa by yourself does NOT mean that you are a bad mommy or that you don’t love your kids or want to be with them. Society has bred into us woman unrealistic ideas of what motherhood should be and it pisses me off ! STOP feeling guilty for being human and for wanting a life of your own.
We are not one dimensional creatures and we shouldnt have to choose just one side of ourselves to show and bury the rest. Yes you are a mother but you are so much more than just a mother. Let the designer, the writer, the Gothic vixen OUT! Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
We teach our children to be themselves no matter what other people say. We teach them to be proud of who they are and to reach for the stars, never settle for less that than can do anything they want to do if they just put their minds to it yet we don’t take our own advice. You think our children don’t see that? They probably look at us and say yeah yeah… she is just spewing hot air what has she ever done with her life! Remember the best way to teach is by example.
Some women are perfectly content being just a mother or just a wife but the truth is most of us are not! I am willing to bet that alot of those who say they are really are not either.
By Teena on 2006 09 10
Les I made you something to cheer ya up. http://www.flickr.com/photos/grotegut/sets/72157594277980890/
Well hopefully it cheers you up and doesn’t make you realize you are friends with a loser with no life LOL.
I love ya girl!
By Rachael on 2006 09 10
LMFAO that was just too damn cute!
By Teena on 2006 09 10