Dear Mama (On The Days That Break You),
You know the days. The days that start with no warm up or warning; you are thrown face first in to the deep end of the parenting pool and have forgotten how to swim. The days when the odds feel against you: you’re sleep deprived, self-care is lacking, your kids are in rare form, you know you need a break but there is no break in sight.
The whining is amplified. The fighting is non-stop. When your deep breaths only dull the screams you feel in the depths of your gut. You don’t want to yell. Don’t be a yeller, you tell yourself. Be calm. Deep deep deep breaths. Why aren’t they listening. WHY AREN’T THEY LISTENING.
You daydream about the life you used to live. Sleeping in, eating when you wanted, a time when personal space wasn’t a pipedream, feeling like a productive member of socie… But your thoughts are interrupted by the tiny humans requesting a snack (11 minutes after they had breakfast). So you go to the pantry and get them Goldfish at 7:32 a.m. because you have to choose your battles. Or you just give up.
Outside. Going outside is always a welcome reprieve: the fresh air, the sunshine, the exasperating energy of small humans. You even go to a new park to spark their sense of adventure. It works. For 5 minutes. Then crying because his brother took the only swing. Screaming because you didn’t bring the right snacks. Tantrums because he wants the bubbles another kid brought and won’t share. Side eyes all looking at you because they are moms that have their shit together; what’s wrong with you? Why are your kids being the monsters? You’re failing your kids. That’s what you tell yourself.
Load back up in the minivan, fighting back tears. You have to get out of there or you will implode from embarrassment or rage. You can’t even tell the difference anymore. Why is this so hard. This is all so hard.
Sneaking upstairs to flop face first on to your bed is your go-to coping mechanism. That, or a glass of wine while hiding in your closet at 4 p.m. Maybe they can handle themselves for two minutes. I just need two minutes. Seeking any and every sliver of solitude the day will allow. But now they are arguing about who’s taking up more than their fair share of the Lego table and you are belly flopped back in to mothering. Drag yourself up off your comfortable bed and put masking tape down the center of that stupid table. There. Deep breaths.
You shoulder the weight of it all. On the days that break you, it’s too heavy to bear. Every action, inaction, fight, tantrum and whine feels like the final straw. The straw that broke the mother’s back.
I see you, mama. You feel broken. You feel alone. It all feels never ending.
You are strong. Tomorrow is a new day. Deep breaths.
Until then, let’s drink wine in the closet in solidarity. Cheers to those quiet two minutes before we dive back in.
Another Mama Surviving Two Minutes At A Time