Have you ever stood alone over the trash can in the kitchen, slowly eating pieces of leftover Halloween candy, and woefully think to yourself Why did I have kids?
An endless loop of video game music plays in the next room along with requests for snacks, and I can see the baby crawling towards the fireplace. He’s going to try and climb it again. Moms can’t dream, are you kidding me? I’ll have a dream when they are 18 and out of the house.
That was yesterday for me. These thoughts are all lies, but it’s hard to not get overwhelmed and just throw in the towel sometimes. I look back to my 20’s and think of all of that time I could have used. I wish I could get that back!
When I was working, I looked at stay-at-home-moms with such envy. If only I could stay home with the kids, then I would be happy. I finally took the plunge, and I’ve been home with the kids for about a year now, and it’s hard. I knew it would be. I have had some great memories, but I often feel like I’m simply not important or giving anything of value to the world. And I keep coming back to that feeling. What if it’s too late for me? What if I missed the boat? Will anyone care about what I have to say when I finally have the time to say it?
I am lost in a sea of lunch money, fundraisers, permission slips, and book fair money. I make way for the endless parade of exterminators, heating and air repair men, and insurance adjustors. My shopping list is never satisfied. I have a whining baby at my feet as I try to get dinner started and the stupid diaper genie pedal is stuck again. I have a television chock full of shooting rampages and adults mistreating children and each other. I am trying to help my son’s teacher at school keep reign over his attention span, and I am in the midst of endlessly policing a fearless baby.
I am appreciative of the well-intentioned advice to “enjoy them while they’re young.” I know that I will miss this and that the time goes fast, but that advice simply does not help me in the low times. Don’t I have a right to feel frustrated sometimes? Isn’t it okay for me to be tired of changing diapers and sweeping under the high chair a hundred times a day? Can’t I feel sorry for myself right now for just a little bit?
I recently awakened my dream again of being a writer and I feel like I’m so far behind in pursuing it. You might think, you’re a stay at home mom, that should be a cake walk because you don’t work. I don’t work, but I’m up to my neck in children right now. My writing time is at night after the kids go to bed, but I’m often times just as tired as they are at the end of the day. Is there any hope? Where is my inspiration and why does it keep hiding?
I told my husband that I would be needing a break soon after he got home. After dinner, I went to lay down in the bedroom to rest my exhausted brain and body. I planned to just take a 30 minute break, but fell asleep a lot longer than planned. My husband had put the boys in bed, and I woke up when I heard the bedroom door creep open and little footsteps coming towards the bed.
I rolled over but I still had my eyes mostly closed. My 6 year old son gave me a sweet kiss on my arm and my forehead, and then he whispered “I love you Mommy.”
So there it was. Reward, perspective and hope. He came in to say goodnight since I’m always there to tuck him in. And thank goodness, I need the reminders on how lucky I am.
None of this is their fault, and I will never regret having kids. Being a mom has changed me so much, for the better. I’m in the trenches now, but I know that I will feel immense pride in the job I’ve done as they walk across the stage to get their diplomas. They are actually giving me my best material in life lessons. So I keep going.
I know that one day I will get to hold a book in my hands. It’s a book that I’ve written, that somebody needs and gladly pays for. I will get there. More the tortoise than the hare, but I will get there. And with any luck, they will stand there with me, with just as much pride for what I have done for my own life.
So it turns out that both the baby and I are taking our first steps together. And how sweet the victory will be at the finish line. With sweet little smiles, and the help of a little leftover Halloween candy.