Yesterday was a cry day. It wasn’t your cliche bad day; I didn’t miss the bus, break a shoe lace, or spill my orange juice. In fact, I started it off by going to the beach and playing in the sand with my toddler and his Grandma. Then we went back to Grandma’s house and played until it was time to take Dirk home for nap time. Dirk napped for 2 hours and I took advantage of that and prepared dinner and even had a nap. All in all, it was the making of a perfectly fine day, great even. But after I woke up from my nap I felt really discouraged. That’s a feeling I’ve had a lot of lately.
Throughout my life, I’ve had the attitude that I can do anything. Well anything that I want to do. I know I’m not an athlete, or a musician… but I guess I figured if I really put my mind to anything I could do well at it. No problem. Right? If I can’t do it, I just don’t want it badly enough.
Being a parent is a completely different story. This is the first time I’ve done something that I just assumed I would be a natural at and then realized that it is way way harder than it looks. Being a stay at home mom is the best job in the world but it definitely comes with its difficulties. First of all, everyone assumes you have all the time in the world, so you should have time to keep your home spotless, lovingly prepare all of your meals, do creative pinterest crafts, and anything else anyone asks of you. Some days I do have energy to do these things but some days, my best laid plans are foiled, all my little one wants to do is colour on the walls and all I want to do is curl up in a ball. And second of all, it’s not like being in the workplace, where you can be promoted or awarded for your performance monetarily. My toddler doesn’t provide me progress reports or public recognition, so all I have to measure myself against is the yardstick of other parents. And all of my mom friends seem so “together”, they seem like they have energy in spades and they do all sorts of fun crafts with their kids, feed them healthy meals, and never let their children watch TV. Not to mention most of my mom friends have multiple children and I only have one! Well sometimes, I don’t feel like I measure up at all.
So like I said, it was a cry day. And when my husband said that he was heading out to spend time with his mom, all I could do was ugly cry, much to my husbands distress. Some days you just need help, and all I knew was that I felt grossly under qualified to be a mom at that moment and I needed my husbands company. My sweet toddler played happily and ran around and was so loving while I cried for no logical reason at all.
Motherhood is full of so many fears! I feel like I let Dirk watch way too much TV some days. And I worry that I’m rotting his brain. What’s that thing people say? No TV before 2 years old? Riiiiiight. How do those people get anything done? Maybe their children are really independent. I love my son fiercely and I love that he always wants to be with me. Always… always.. even when I’m in the bathroom… or trying to do the dishes while he pulls the knives back out of the dishwasher, (this is the surest way to get me to stop doing the dishes and he must know it, because I can’t keep putting plates in the dishwasher when my 2 year old is running around with steak knives). Sometimes turning on the TV is the only way I can distract him while I do chores, or pay bills.
I also worry that I love my toddler too much and therefore don’t discipline him firmly enough, seriously, how can I worry about loving someone too much? But I do and it’s totally irrational! I worry that something will happen to him and I won’t be there to stop it, or that I’m stunting his growth with too much mac and cheese because that is literally one of the only things he will consume….and the list goes on and on and on.
Am I alone in this?
Most of the time I don’t worry, I play and laugh with my family, and persevere, and get things done and genuinely enjoy what life has to offer. But some times in those quiet moments, the doubts and fears creep into my head.
I remember reading somewhere that Facebook has made this generation one of the loneliest. We are so connected to everyone’s Facebook perfect lives but we aren’t connected with reality. We’re connected to perfectly posed moments and happy travelling posts. Most of us don’t post pictures of our home after the kids go to bed or a real life photo of ourselves after we’ve bathed the toddler (drowned rat comes to mind). I guess after writing all of this down, I’ve realized that I just need to cut myself some slack.
We all just need to cut ourselves some slack. We are trying. We are doing the best job we know how to do. And it’s okay to have a cry day, even though it may totally perplex your spouse, it feels good sometimes.