Reading my post again this morning, in the light of day, I realize how awful it sounded, how incredibly negative it seemed, how intensely ungrateful I came across. That post made it sound like I don’t even like my kids, that I don’t appreciate my life. It made me cringe.
It’s not true, by the way. I do like my kids. Well I love them, and most of the time I like them too. My daughter is just so challenging right now. So, so challenging. I read other people’s posts and I just don’t see that kind of behavior in their own kids. Or at least I don’t see their inability to handle it, their hopelessness that it will get better. These are things that I feel, but I don’t see it in other moms. Other moms who just had two babies seem to be managing so much better than I am. They seem more grateful, less self-absorbed. And I wonder, is it me? Is it my daughter? Is it some delicate interplay between us that makes it so incredibly difficult for me to manage our time together. She’s three and a half and she’s still hitting and kicking me out of frustration. She still screams in my face in rage. She still requires 15 minutes of play and negotiation to get dressed in the morning. Is that normal? Is it normal that I have such a hard time dealing with it?
I mean, these are my kids. They were the whole point. They were what I fought for. And now I’m writing posts about how I can’t get away. About how they are, essentially not enough. How do I reconcile those two contradictory feelings: that my children are my everything and yet I need time away from them to recharge. Shouldn’t they recharge me? How could something I wanted so badly be so hard for me manage in my life?
I wonder sometimes, if I’m not cut out for this. If I don’t appreciate it enough. If I’m not grateful enough. Learning I’d most probably be an awful (and ultimately unhappy) SAHM was such a hard blow. Now I wonder if I can even cut it as a WOHM. Maybe motherhood in general is just not for me.
I don’t know. I was just really struck by my post this morning. Really embarrassed by it. I thought of people who might still be trying reading that post and I was ashamed. I felt the need to apologize.
The scariest thing is I didn’t even feel sad or particularly negative when I wrote it. I just felt I was explaining things as-is. But reading back over it, there was such an air of hopelessness about it. I was surprised. Is that how I really feel? Hopeless? Maybe.
Maybe this is all just about going back to work and my fear of losing even more of myself as I put on the new and demanding hat of “middle school teacher.” I’ve never worn the “mother-of-two” and “middle school teacher” hats at the same time before. Both require so much of oneself. So much energy. So much patience. So much understanding. So much of putting your own needs behind the needs of others. Who will I become if my needs always have to come dead last?
Fear is an ugly thing and I suppose it twists our perceptions into ugly likenesses of the truth. I’m trying to remember that as I make me way through this final week of maternity leave, as I cherish these final days with my amazing baby boy, whom I love dearly.
And please know, that I do love my life. And I do know how lucky I am. Even if sometimes my writing betrays it.