This post has been marinating for a while. I’ve let it sit and sit and whenever I’m feeling frustrated I’ll add to it or change something–maybe that’s why it’s so disjointed. Camryn has been an absolute sweetheart lately and these hard days are much fewer and farther between, but today I got a little piece of it again and thought it’s probably time to post this. I kind of don’t want to because it’s such a downer (warning!) but I think it’s worth it just in case it strikes a chord with someone and makes you feel a little bit like someone else is in your boat.
Sometimes it feels like we’re on opposing teams. Like my child’s sole objective and purpose for living is to thwart, delay, and frustrate each and every single item on my life’s agenda–from showering, eating and brushing my teeth, to writing, shopping, and exercising –even when most of the agenda items on my list are acts of service for her. It’s a give, give, give relationship, and sometimes it seems so unfair. Like when I spend hours meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking healthy meals and being creative about what I feed her, and then she throws the food on the floor and rubs it in her hair. Like when she flails, twists, and flings herself over the edge of the changing table as I attempt to change her diaper, stands up while I try to put on her shoes, just plain freaks out while I brush her teeth.
It’s like she’s constantly thinking, “what can I do to make what mom is trying to do harder?” it’s demoralizing and defeating and even though my intellect knows this isn’t the case, sometimes it feels intentional. Mean-spirited, even. As if the sound of mom relaxed and enjoying herself is audible and irritating to her and she feels the need to search out the relaxer and make all relaxing cease immediately.
When she refuses to sleep or let me get something done, it’s so frustrating. It’s like I’ve given her everything from my first waking moment and her nap refusal is her saying that’s not good enough. It doesn’t matter that I’ve given up my body, my time, my talents and attention, my schooling and career aspirations–everything has been sacrificed for her, and sometimes all of that isn’t enough and she demands more. She demands all of me when I have nothing left–even the 90 measly minutes of “me” time I have been looking forward to, leaving me, for the day, feeling bereft of the last bits of my sense of self. It feels like something I deserve has been denied me. It feels like I’ve been doing everything to fulfill her every need, but then the one little thing I need, whatever it may be that day, doesn’t matter. It’s so hard when it feels like what I need is so little to ask but I still can’t have it. Like I can wake up in the morning with only one measly item on my to-do list that should take 1 or 2 hours and I still can’t even get that thing accomplished.
Motherhood is sometimes selflesslessly, lovingly serving yourself into exhaustion and then having your offering thrown in your face and stomped on. It’s constantly forgiving when no apology has been offered.
Sometimes I want to throw my own tantrum. Just throw my hands and say “I cannot be this selfless. I can’t!” I rarely feel this way, but it’s little parts of every day. Or one big part of a bad day. I know that so many have it harder–more kids, babies that are harder than mine, sleep less than mine, demand more than mine. But I do feel this way. And it’s worth it, obviously, one thousand times over no doubt about it, but that doesn’t change that this mothering thing? it’s hard.