Sometimes I feel like the worst mother on earth. Sometimes I feel like I am so stressed that I might explode. Sometimes I feel like I am so tired that if I lie down to go to sleep, I might sleep for 3 days straight. Today is one of those “sometimes.”
Don’t get be wrong. Being a stay-at-home mom is HARD. It is draining, overwhelming, exhausting, stressful and chaotic…. But I miss it. It’s ironic since I had many days while I was still on maternity leave that I would daydream about being back at work, wearing real clothes, accomplishing big things, having adult conversations, peeing when I needed to pee, drinking coffee while it was still hot, taking a break when I needed a break, etc. it seemed like a dream. It’s not.
Being a working mama is extremely difficult. With a 1 year old and 2 year old at home, sometimes just getting out of the door in the morning with all of us dressed and all of our gear packed is a small miracle. Showering, doing hair, doing makeup, getting dressed, packing a lunch, packing a laptop, packing a diaper bag, changing diapers, dressing kiddos, putting shoes on unwilling feet, loading kids into car seats and dropping them off at daycare is a huge list of tasks to accomplish every weekday before 7:30am… It’s only made harder when one or both of my kids scream and cry because they don’t want me to go. Talk about heartbreak. And all of this early morning commotion so I can jump on the highway and start my hour-long commute in rush-hour traffic. Ugh.
I treat myself to takeout coffee far more often that I should because dammit, I deserve it (and need it!). Oh… And I have yet to find a travel mug that doesn’t leak or make my coffee taste funny. (Side note: the bonus of being a mom is that I can blame any “bump in the road” spill on my kids.)
Work is challenging and demanding and far harder to do now since I have so many things juggling through my head all at once and rarely (never) go into work on more than 5 hours of sleep. I miss my kiddos when I’m at work and wish I could be home. I hope they are having a fun day. I wonder if I shut my flat iron off before I left. I hope I put the milk back in the fridge. I question whether or not I packed Tylenol in the diaper bag in case poor little teething Mr. C needs it, I contemplate quick dinner options and whether or not we need more diapers.
If I take a quick lunch break, I use it to buy things like diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, etc. I do my monthly Costco runs at lunchtime so that I don’t have to enter into the circus that is Costco on a weeknight or weekend since I can no longer go mid-week during the day when “everyone else” is working. The only downfall is that I can’t buy anything that needs to be refrigerated on my lunchtime runs. Not until winter at least when it will stay cold in the car all afternoon.
My drive home is always an hour or more of stop-and-go traffic. I rush to pick my babies up from daycare. Their reaction to seeing me walk through the door is always the highlight of my day. They have no idea just how bright their little faces shine as they look up and yell “Mommy!” as they run over offering the most incredible hugs that melt the stress off my body. This part of the day makes it all worth it.
I load them into the car, drive them home, unload their gear and my gear and bring it inside as I unlock the door. Then I unload Miss M and remind her to go to her brother’s car door. Then I unload Mr. C and either bring them into the backyard to play as I run in to start dinner while watching them from the kitchen window and running in and out to make sure they are okay…Or I carry them both inside with me so they can’t take off into the backyard as they both scream “Siiiide!” and pound in the door because they want to be outside.
Playtime. Dinner time. Dishes. Bath time. Teeth brushing time. Diaper time. Pajama time. Storytime. Bedtime. And then the night is over… Time to relax and fold a load or two of laundry before bed. Life is exhausting. Sometimes it’s too much.
Tonight as I was mid-bath stage, with both kids shampooed, washed and teeth brushed, I found myself holding back tears and telling myself (inside my head) that it was almost bedtime. Hubby came upstairs and could see that something was wrong. I was just tired. All I wanted to do was lie down in silence. Alone. From daycare runs to a rush-hour commute to a crazy work day, to another rush-hour dash to pick the kids up from daycare, I find myself pulling into the driveway to pick them up and forcing myself to take one quick, deep breath to give myself a chance to switch from career woman to Mommy.
My kids are so excited to see me, to play with me, to hug me, to love me, to babble away to me. They are also hungry and needy and tired and cranky and don’t want to eat their dinner and don’t want to share the swing and don’t want to brush their teeth and don’t want to go to bed. It can be a really tiring part of the day. And when I feel overwhelmed by this part of the day, I feel my entire body fill with guilt because my babies need me. Since returning to work, I only get a couple of precious hours to spend with them during the week. It’s not enough and it’s not fair. It’s also not fair that by the time I am able to finally spend time with the little loves of my life, I am spun up so tight with stress, exhaustion and anxiety. I feel so drained. It’s unfair to them. I want to be the best Mommy I can be to them but sometimes I am just too tired and that makes me sad.
Tonight was one of those “sometimes.” I was pushing through the whole day and pushing through dinner and being patient with a screaming one year old who threw his plate of Shepherd’s pie against the wall because his mouth hurt from teething and he was enraged from pain. I pulled together enough energy to enthusiastically run through my 2 year old’s flash cards so she could excitedly shout out all of her colours and numbers. She is such a smart cookie! She knows all of her numbers and colours at just 27 months old. I pushed myself to do the dishes and then clean out the fridge while the kids ate their dessert. It needed to be done. By the time I was finishing baths, I had nothing left. I was so tired. So drained. So exhausted. So starved for “me time.” I tried to keep pushing but I couldn’t. And I was mad at myself. Mad that I couldn’t drum up just another 30 minutes of “super mom.” Bedtime story reading is one of the highlights of my day. Today I couldn’t do it. For the first time ever, I accepted my husband’s offer to go and lie down. The pressure I was feeling was too much and I needed a break. I had nothing left.
I laid on my bed while Hubby got the kids diapered and into their pajamas. I heard them both yelling “Mommy! Mommy!” and tears trickled down my cheeks as I laid in silence and felt like I had let them down. We only get a couple of hours together each day after all and I was giving up the last half hour as they called for me wondering where I had gone. How awful. How selfish. How sad.
I refused to cry and just tried to regroup. It felt incredible to be alone. I could feel my entire body rejuvenating. It was only about 7 minutes before my 1 year-old son came running in yelling “Mommy!” with a huge victorious smile knowing he had “found me!” He climbed up on the bed all by himself and plunked himself down on my stomach wrapping his arms and legs around me and pushing his cheek into my chest, holding me as tight as he could. Then he bounced up smiling with his nose against my nose and squealed “Mommy!!! Yuh-you!” I love you too, Buddy.
Hubby finished reading Miss M her bedtime stories and then came in to bring Mr. C to bed. I kissed him goodnight and took a few deep breaths while listening to Miss M bang against the baby gate at her doorway screaming “Mommy!” A few more minutes. I breathed and let myself unwind for another 5 minutes then I got up and walked across the hall to Miss M’s room. “Mommy!” she squealed with excitement. I opened the gate and she reached for me to pick her up. “No. Let’s have a cuddle! Do you want to snuggle?” She immediately turned around and did this crazy,energetic little skippy jog that she does over to her bed. We climbed into her bed and she snuggled into me with a sweet little smile on her face. Then she poked my nose and said “nose!”, then my eye and squealed “eye!” Then my mouth and said “mouth!” She did the same thing for hair, ear, eyebrow and chin. Then she cracked me right up when she poked my chest and said “Boobie! One! Two!” Excellent counting, little one!
Lesson learned: a 15 minute timeout can go a long way. Life is busy. Being a Mommy is challenging, exhausting and demanding. We owe it to ourselves to take a quick intermission to regroup and recharge. 15 minutes of silence and solitude can go a long way. It makes it so you can function again, snuggle with your little love bugs, smile at their sweetness and enjoy their limitless love and affection. I will be taking the time to recharge my “mama batteries” more often. I’m not saying that this little break miraculously fixed everything and eliminated all of my stresses but it certainly helped me to refocus and enjoy the little things. Like a big hug and “yuh-you! from a tiny little boy and lying in bed listening to my 2 year old count to 10 as she plays with my hair. These little things truly are the big things. When you start only seeing the tasks and the to-do lists and the countdown to bedtime, take a quick timeout to refresh so you can appreciate the little bits of sweetness that life offers.
A special thank you to my Hubby for offering to cover for me so I could take a quick break. The only thing I am worse at than accepting help is asking for it. Thank you for offering (again.)
Andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart. Thank you for reason this post! Please consider following my blog or liking my page on Facebook by clicking here! xo