My two oldest kids are twelve months and three weeks apart. Girl, then boy. I was a very young mom by many standards. My oldest was a great baby. Smiley. Sweet. Angelic, really. Then came my boy. He was sweet, I say this through a clenched teeth smile. He came out screaming and he didn’t stop screaming until he could talk. He’s been talking ever since. (My great communicator- I make fun- but that part of him is probably all me.) This is the actual truth. During those months we lived in a big old house, that was a bit dark at the time, on a river. It was serene and beautiful except when you were 25, alone (with no adult interaction), and in it with two babies that I called my monkey’s. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
My husband pretty much worked eighteen hour days. He would walk me down the stairs at whatever time he needed to leave in the morning (4 AM was a standard time) and I would sit in a gated room (she learned to walk the week he was born) all day long. I’m going to get real honest here for a second, at that moment, and in that time, I felt like I was in my own version of hell on earth. It was all that I ever wanted, and not quite everything I had ever imagined.
Nobody wanted to be a mom more than me. I fought through too many pregnancy issues to count etc., and I promise you that I wanted them more than anything else in the world, BUT I WAS RIDICULOUSLY MISERABLE. My mom was a school teacher that lived two hours away, and although she was there when he was born, she had to go back to work. The day that she was leaving he laid on my chest, on the couch, with her toddling around the room, and I looked at my mom through tear filled eyes and said, “I can’t do this.” To which she responded, “You have to.”
So I did.
I truly don’t know if my brain went into a defense mechanism, and it pains me to no end now to admit this, but I don’t remember much of that year. I was in complete survival mode and although I smiled at little milestones and cuddled them like crazy, I wasn’t basking in the glory of motherhood, or savoring the sweet moments. It was kind of ugly. That time had nothing pintresty about it. I felt like I was literally keeping them alive.
Was I depressed? UHM, probably yes. I was also a 25 year old with two babies, one of which never stopped screaming, doing it alone for the most part. I, WRONGLY, know that I felt like asking for help would have meant that I was failing at this thing that everyone knew that I so desperately wanted! I told everyone that I had it, but I don’t think that I really did. I truly came to understand how some people hit their breaking point that year. Looking back I flirted with it a few times, I’m sure.
Winter passed and summer came, the girl was still smiling, and the boy started saying some words. That season was over. Halleujah! I will never forget the day that I gave her a hose, and put him in a stationary “BUG” and we played for what seemed like hours (it was probably 30 min), but that day I felt an abundance of joy and realized, I actually can do “this.”
I write this today for two reasons:
#1. Girl, if you can relate to any of my above feelings. If you feel exhausted and alone, Reach Out to someone. You are not alone. Ask someone for help. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your kids. It has NOTHING to do with you being a bad mom, wife, or person. MOMMING IS HARD F’ING WORK and it takes more than a village to raise a human. Tell someone that you need a break, before you break.
#2 Yesterday I was driving through town, for the second day in a row, completely alone. It hit me, there is no one in my back seat buckled in. My season has passed! No one is asking me for a snack. There is no decaying food in my car seats. (At least there shouldn’t be.) There are no sippy cups rolling around. There is no one even in my front seat talking to me. I longed for these days in those early years where trips to the store to get one thing took two hours because of car seats, carriers, diaper bags, snacks, potty breaks, runny noses, car pukers, etc. Now, I want my buddies back.
I have entered a new season of my life, yet I would give anything to go back and visit (notice that I said visit) that other season. My perspective has changed, my kids have changed, and so have I. I’m here to promise you that seasons come, and then they go. No matter what season of your life that you are in whether you are wishing it away, or savoring every drop, it will pass. Life moves forward and it has a funny way of pushing us along with it. I felt alone and wanted the next season to come one season not so long ago, even though I was surrounded by my darling little monkey’s. Today, my monkey’s are swinging on their own trees, preparing for their next season, and I’m sitting here basking in the glory and savoring every single moment, wishing that this one would never end. I’m also hearing my mom’s voice, “You can do this.” ….. and so I will!