I have talked to a few friends about my disillusionment with motherhood. Maybe not motherhood in general, but with myself as a mother. I did my fair share of babysitting as a kid. I feel like I mothered my little sister and my nephews that came early on. I had this whole image of the kind of mother I thought I'd be. (These were not lofty aspirations, these are things I thought were totally realistic and within my power.) I thought I'd pack the kids in the stroller and go for a jog every morning. I thought we'd come home to a healthy breakfast eaten while doing flannel board Book of Mormon stories. I thought we'd spend our days playing at the park, having pic-nicks and at the library reading stories. I thought I'd get a few afternoon hours alone, while they napped, so I could read, clean, decorate and prepare our deliciously healthy dinner. I thought my husband would come home to a clean house, a hot meal and a happy family.
Illusions all of them!
None of those things exist. The reality is that I have spent most of motherhood trying not to "lose it". I feel like each day is hurdle to overcome but no matter how well or poorly I do, I face the same hurdle the next day! The main issue for me is that my kids dont sleep well. I complained about this to my aunts once and one of them said, "I hate to tell you but you're going to be really tired for the next 18 or so years." ?!?! That's not ok with me! I dont function tired! I know lots of women handle it but I dont. I'm a mess. The kids not sleeping means that not only am I tired but that I dont exercise, I dont eat well, I dont have patience, I dont talk kindly, I dont feel like cooking or cleaning, etc., etc.
And here's the real kicker: I feel so guilty for complaining about kids that dont sleep when I personally know women who have to leave their kids to go to work and would LOVE to be home dealing with what I deal with all day. And I personally know women who mother autistic children and wish with all their hearts that their child would talk their ear off like Cohen does mine. And I personally know women who have lost a child and would give anything to have that child back. I fully realize that the "burden" (if I can even call it that) that I bare is minuscule in comparison. That's where the guilt comes in. Why cant I just buck up and be the mom I had envisioned for myself? Why dont I just count my blessings and be happy? Why cant I run on empty like SO many mothers do? Why do I need to work out and sleep when lots of women dont?
I dont have the answers to those questions. But after nearly 3 years as a mom, I have come up with a very general answer. It is what it is. My kids dont sleep but I HAVE TO. To be patient and productive, I have to get more sleep. This light bulb came on as I stood in the shower and cried this morning. (Dont feel sad or worried for me. I think sometimes my best inspiration comes during a good cry. It's a humble moment that allows the release of the negative, a chance at a new perspective and an opportunity to move forward.)
It is what it is... so how do I deal?(I'm really just asking myself that question but feel free to comment if you've got the answer!)