I never imagined that motherhood would be this hard. The day in, day out relentlessness of taking care of little people who need and demand so much from you. Fighting and avoiding battles, uttering phrases you never expected to hear come out of your mouth, attempting to reason with preschoolers over the method and use of the toilet… not to mention the mundane realities of just keeping them fed, clothed and alive!
This week I was so overcome with frustration and emotion that I pounded my fist so hard into my yoga mat that I thought I might have broken a bone. The shame that washed over me when I thought that I would have to live with that reality was immense. ‘What kind of mother does that!?’ was stuck on repeat in my mind, coupled with ‘You think this is bad? It’s only going to get worse as they get older’. ‘You are crazy, out of control’. ‘I just can’t do this anymore!’
Nap time didn’t go well. For about two months now, we have been on this dream collision of schedules where each of the kids go to sleep or have an extended rest/play time in their rooms and I get to have 1.5 hours of yoga, blogging and catching up on my Feedly posts. I was almost afraid to mention it out loud, for fear that just speaking of the situation would cause it to vanish. The recharge time that it created for me was incredible and I found the days so much easier to handle.
Ivy and Hudson had fallen asleep in the car and were not enthusiastic about being resettled. Eli was in a button pushing mood and I was too tired to respond with grace or anything resembling patience. I was sticky and uncomfortable with the unusual humidity and my hair felt as if it had been smothered in grease. I had already pushed ‘pause’ on the yoga video five times to deal with excessive noise or crying and it was less than a few minutes in. The last straw was Eli flinging the metal part of a dog leash into the wall just at the point where Ivy and Hudson had finally been quiet. I stormed in and snatched the leash out of his hands, shut the door and lost it, pounding my fists into the yoga mat in a vain attempt at unleashing some of the white hot rage that I felt. There was audible swearing too….lots of it.
For someone who loves control so much, I freaking HATE losing it. It is like the ultimate betrayal of myself. ‘I should be handling this!’ ‘How the hell do you think you are going to manage four kids if you can’t even handle three?!’ ‘Dave would be so patient right now.’
When Dave got home, he found me in the shower, sobbing. I didn’t even care what happened with the failed nap time anymore, I just wanted a f*%^ing break. He sent me out to do some Open House work at a cafe with strict instructions not to come home until dinner (‘though make sure you bring back a pizza!’). Venturing out into the wider world without the kids did make me feel somewhat human again, and being able to churn through planning work and pick up supplies for the Kids program did make me feel as if I had accomplished something positive despite the sense of destruction and chaos that lingered at home.
I hate writing posts like this. I don’t even want to admit that this darkness can burst out of me. I wish I could just cope all the time, gliding through life with patience and resilience. I fear that my kids will see me as this enraged monster, even though Dave keeps reminding me that I really don’t lose it as much as I think. It is easy to magnify the failures and moments that you want to hide, I guess.
“What’s going on inside of me? I despise my own behaviour. This only serves to confirm my suspicions, that I’m still a (wo)man in need of a Saviour.”
I don’t even have any profound reflections on the event, other than the powerful pull of Shame’s voice as he browbeats you into thinking you are the worst exhibit of motherhood and the only one failing right now. Making it impossible for me to even reflect on a positive narrative of myself as a mother. Reaching out to Monica and Naomi over message, tears streaming down my face as I relived the emotions of the day, truly lifted most of the dark shadow still lingering over me. Their encouraging words putting into perspective the reality of how hard this gig really is, and how much of ourselves we have to offer up every day.
This is meant to be hard. And I do keep reminding myself of the incredible gift it is to even have children, let alone three healthy, cheeky, spirited ones. Particularly in light of the horrific events of the past few weeks around the world. We are so freaking lucky to live in Australia, to have more than enough to live comfortably, and to have at least the illusion of peace through our systems and structures. Sometimes it is far too easy to get tunnel visioned and completely miss the wider picture.
I don’t expect that it will magically get easier, and I’m sure I will lose it again over something seemingly trivial in the future. But for now, admitting my darkness and confessing it so that it doesn’t continue to grip my soul works for me.