“You’re sick of being a mother,” he said.
The words were a revelation. No judgment. No guilt trip. No “I feel sorry for our kids,” just a simple, “OK” and some solutions, some ways to eke out some satisfaction from my days. He offered words of encouragement. Pure love, pure pride in his wife when he pointed out everything that I am, that I forgot I was.
“Label yourself,” he said.
“Wife and mother,” I replied.
“You get up and 5:30 and write for an hour and a half every morning. You run three times a week. I'd add writer and athlete.”
I sighed. I’d chosen to see less in myself. He reminded me of words of love my friends poured over me at our going-away party. “You make it better where ever you go,” they’d said.
I started to cry, humbled again by their distant unconditional love. At once, I felt better. I keep reminding others that tough times pass, that seasons change, that all the clichés about struggles and challenges are clichés for a reason. Quick to remind others, slow to remember. Somehow I’m not allowed to struggle like everyone else? Absurd!
Really, my life is, in most ways, better than before. I mentioned that to Dave and he asked, “Most ways?”
“I don’t have my friends here. They were my support.” I also don't have a life outside of my family.
So, now comes the next phase of restarting life. I’ve got car insurance and cable. I found my local Trader Joe’s and a few good running routes. The logistics are covered. The every day is done. Now, I’ve got to tackle the long term.
My good friend suggested I go on meetup.com to search for groups. “Ninety percent of the people you’ll meet? Meh. But you’ll find some gems.” I like the idea, but I need more than friends, I think.
Is it awful that, as a stay at home mom, I don’t want to join a dedicated mom’s group? I cringe at the thought of hanging out with a bunch of moms, talking about motherhood. The last think that I want is to find common ground around the same subject that is making me crazy! Realizing that I’m sick of being a stay at home mom explained everything. I need more than just my kids. I need more than just my family. I need my own life again. I need a life separate from carpools, helping with homework, and making meals.
I may get crucified for saying I’m sick of full-time motherhood. Judge me, accuse me of being an unfit mother, or tell me I’m simply wrong for feeling this way. Want to know my reply to anyone who may chide me for my feelings? Staying at home with kids is the hardest job on the planet. Waking up every day to demands, questions, more questions, incessant questions, rules, breaking of rules, enforcement of rules, manners, more manners, please sit at the table, nagging, pestering, begging me to play but not that I want to play this, interrupting, not liking breakfast, no I don’t want a peanut butter sandwich for lunch I want grilled cheese no not milk I want water I don’t want an apple I want a peach. Don’t cut it up! I’m not cut out for it these days. I possess neither the patience nor the will. I’ve been built up too strongly by success in my career to step out of that life without some level of dissatisfaction. Nobody needs to remind me that raising children is the most important job I’ll ever do. Please refrain from consoling me with reminders of the positive change I’m affecting through the unconditional love I feel for my kids. I’ll remind you that we’re not all built the same. This doesn’t fill me completely. I don’t feel nearly as alive as I did when I worked a mere 10 hours a week. That’s it. Ten hours! I won't apologize, either.
By itself, motherhood confines me. I feel limited and unfulfilled. Doing double, working as a trainer in a kick-ass gym and mothering? Now that’s what I call satisfied! Sure my schedule was nuts. Yes, I felt pressed and stressed sometimes. But my body, mind, soul, and spirit thrived! I challenged myself and brought that growth home. I feel that I was a better mother then than I am now. I need to get back to that place. Again, I find myself in the position of trying squeeze in everything I need to do alone into about 6 hours a week. I feel pressed and stretched and confined and going crazy. It’s about to change, though. I feel it.
That’s it. I’ll break out of this new shell soon enough. The process just sucks.