I spent the weekend with my family and a long to-do list nagging at the back of my brain.
I’ve allowed myself to get run down in body, mind, and spirit. I’m spent. I have nothing left to give anyone, and every time I look at the mountain of laundry or face another meal time, I just want to cry.
It never ends. None of it ends. It is unending.
It’s hard for me to enjoy my family when I get like this, and I know that to prevent going into this bad place I have to take care of myself. I have to sleep enough and exercise. I have to write. But sometimes, I can’t do those things simply because I’m a mother and the thing about motherhood is that you tend to sacrifice your needs for everyone else.
I never understood it before I found myself holding a painfully full bladder while I helped my son pull his pants up and down and waited as the endless seconds ticked by until he was finished.
“Pretend you are a grown-up. What would you do for the day? First I would wake up and make coffee. I would go to work. Next I would go investigate science. I would show my family. Then I would get my pj’s on and go to sleep.”
Mothers begin a long journey in selflessness the moment they realize that their body is housing another human being, and that human being is going to have thoughts and opinions and will want to eat at inopportune times and will become very upset when you don’t serve him pancakes on the red plate.
That human being might learn how to screech “MOMMY!!!” at frightening volumes and cause you to spend the entire day in fight-or-flight mode.
She might bite.
He might have a temper.
You, the mother, will be forced to adapt. To care for and shape these humans into people of character is no small task. It’s very tiring.
I’ll say it again: IT’S VERY TIRING.
Right now my kids are small and their needs are immediate, so finding time for myself is hard. My days are a constant struggle to cope with it all, still enjoy life, and arrive at the end of the day not hating anyone … including myself.
Tonight I was staring at their uneaten bowls of dinner and thinking about the to-do list I still haven’t started when I realized that the baby was crying in her crib. It took everything in me to stand up. I didn’t want to be needed anymore. I wanted to clock out for the day. And, in yet another act of being a mother, I walked into my daughter’s room anyway.
I didn’t feel like it, but I’m still her mother.
She was relieved to see me. I took a deep breath and picked her up. As we sat in the rocking chair in her room, she laid her head right over my heart and rested against me as I badly sang — half because I really can’t sing, and half because I was trying not to cry.
I never want to forget how it feels to hold my youngest child when she wants to be held. She leans into my body, wrapping her tiny arms around me and tucking herself in. I’ve already forgotten what it felt like to hold the boys when they were this small, and it hasn’t even been that long. OMG, WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
We rocked for an unknown period, and for the umpteenth time since becoming a mother in 2008 I realized that my children give back more to me than I give to them — to-do list be damned.
Which is fitting, since I won’t get much accomplished for the next 2.5 months.
(If you liked this post, then you will LOVE I Still Just Want To Pee Alone! Click here to find out more!)