Thursday, 4 February 2010
When motherhood feels like misery
It’s been hard lately.
After the rush of the morning, the reminders that spiral into yelling-after-the-fifth-time-I-told-you-to-find-your-boots, the frenzied drive to school and the anger just simmering below the surface, it comes.
The guilt. The pain of wondering how deeply I’ve wounded this morning. The feeling that I’m hurt, too, and I don’t know how to make it better.
Can it be easier than this? Is it lack of organization in the morning? Is it my constant reminders that are the problem? No matter what I try, it’s always 9:05 and we need to be in the van NOW and someone is playing with a car on the floor with one sock on and we have no idea where the mittens went. This is after a morning of a few pushbacks and a couple emotional blowups already, where I’ve explained what the rules are, over again, with the kindness the morning’s mercies give.
But now we are out of time, I am all out of patience, and yelling is my white flag. I give up trying. I smack them over the head with my white flag, too: I know the yelling will get immediate results.
But now they’re motivated out of fear. And I’m the one they’re afraid of.
Just the other night when I was talking with the girl, my oldest, about how we should all take a time out when we’re speaking out of anger or meanness, even Mommy, she laughed and said, “Yeah you should do that! You’re mean a lot.”
Just last night I whispered in my boy’s ear that I didn’t want to go through the day feeling like I was fighting with him all the time.
I desperately don’t want it to be like this.
It’s sort of like finding a way to stay healthy, for me. I think if I could just find that one plan, that one system, that works, really works, it would all be easy and I could give up the struggle. I could be a nice mommy.
I know in my heart it’s not that easy.
I look at Benjamin and he’s laughing at me, I’m running around so fast, and he’s right. I do look ridiculous. I say a whispered thanks that he doesn’t understand yet, that he doesn’t feel the frustration and anger the way my older kids do. And then I remember that I used to feel the same way about Owen. It goes deeper than just “lately.” If I keep going like this, Benjamin will know soon enough, too.
This isn’t a post with a “lesson learned” at the end, of some grace discovered. I don’t know where the lesson is. I can’t see the grace. I only know I want to enjoy motherhood, to really love (more of) the moments, to help them find their way in this world with joy, showing them how it’s all about love, love, love. I want the burning, crazy love I feel for them to show its colors in every interaction we have. But I feel like I can’t see their character for the missing mitten in front of me.