Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is Motherhood a Rock Bottom Job?

{Another repost from July 29th, 2012}

“Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more? Or those who are satisfied with drudgery?”

This is what I’ve been struggling with a lot this last week. My solid, rock bottom moment was when I tried to take advantage of Bella and I time and take her to the Natural History Museum in town. If whoever, other than myself, is ever reading this and for some reason wants to read every trivial detail of the morning, I’ll separate it. Otherwise if you don’t really care, it will be easy to skip.

—I talked the museum up and told her we would see animals, and cool displays of rocks and things and maybe even some dinosaurs. I don’t really know, I haven’t been to a natural history museum in a very long time - I have no idea what’s there. She didn’t know exactly what to expect, based on my vague and confusing description, but she was content and happy to do something different.

I spent 35 minutes listening to MapQuest audibly lead me all over the KU campus and run into one way road after dead end road. And finally it lead me to the street I needed to be on but it was a restricted road that was closed to the public from 8am - 2pm. Maybe it’s just hormones or maybe I’m just not the patient person I have led myself to believe I was, but I am so angry. Bella had done a very good job being patient in the car and being okay with the abrupt change in plans. So instead of the museum we went to Half Price Books to sell two large bags of books I had been holding onto for too long. Bella is a sweet and independent little toddler. That being said, she’s not the best listener at times. I had a very hard time getting her to listen to me, to stay with me in the store, to not open products and to follow me to the front when they called my name.

For the two bags of books I had expected at the very least $10 for, they offered me $3.25. It’s so silly, but it was another defeat. I had hoped to make enough to maybe buy us a happy meal lunch or pay for a new toy I was going to pick up from someone from a Buy Sell Trade group. I begrudgingly accepted their offer and played with Bella in the kids’ section for about 5 minutes until it was time to meet the woman from the group about her new toy. It took many polite requests to follow me and keep walking and a lot of patience to get her corralled out of the store. It also took every bit of patience I had to keep track of her baby that she had to bring into the store with her. The last straw was when I turned around to check on my little dawdler to see her baby was missing, again. We had literally walked 6 feet from the door where she last had it. I was frustrated and asked her again in exasperation where her baby was. She smiled like she knew but wouldn’t communicate with me. I tracked the baby down to a nearby bush and explained to her that we can’t hide baby when we’re not at home. If we had left the store without baby, baby could be gone forever so we really need to hold our baby the whole time we’re not at home. She got upset and asked me to carry her which I frankly just didn’t have the energy for. I told her No, that she was a big girl and could walk this time and she started to cry. —

I lost all my patience and in my own much loathed cry voice asked her why she was crying. I’m just trying to get to the car! I’m just trying to get us out of the house for ONCE this week! I’m just trying to have a good time as mother and daughter! And it’s going downhill terribly fast!

I scooped her up because she wouldn’t walk at that point and waddled to the car with her, still crying. I buckled her in explaining that we had to go get this new toy I’ve been telling her about and she was crying harder. I slammed the door, got into the driver’s seat and lost it. I yelled and punched the steering wheel, asking why everything had to be so hard this week. Everything had to be so terribly hard and lonely. And it seemed like the harder I tried to make my daughter happy the worse things got. That morning was the final piece of evidence I needed to solidly prove that I was not at all the mother I had thought I would be. The mother I had really planned to be.

I cried and felt terrible that Bella had no idea what was happening to her mom in the front seat. I turned around and looked at her startled eyes and told her how much I loved her. If she ever remembered that moment of my maniacal crying, I had hoped she would remember my last words in the moment being that I loved her so much.

I composed myself and punched in the lady’s address into that damned MapQuest and listened to her stupid voice lead me around town once again . On the way, for the first time in my life as a mother/housewife, I seriously doubted my ability and considered my other options of work outside the home. It was a sad moment I hope to never visit again. I have always known this is what I was meant to do. I was a nanny for a family one summer in 7th grade and remember vividly looking out her quaint kitchen window and thinking that this was what I wanted to do when I grew up. Anything else would be extracurricular, whether it was being an art therapist or a writer or musician. My true calling was to be a mother, and the best damned mother I could be.

But driving home in that moment I seriously doubted it all. But there was not a single other option and I felt hopeless. From the backseat Bella started talking to her baby about Baa baa and suddenly it all snapped back into place. I was pretty devastated by my buildup of self doubt, negativity and lonliness but hearing her sweet little voice was the spark in my hope. “Motherhood is not a hobby, it’s a calling”. My privilege, my joy, my dream job, my calling, my life.

I stay home with my babies because they are my absolute number one priority. They are my blessing and they are who bring me back from the most hopeless of places, every single time. God has blessed me immensely through them and I can never fully thank or acknowledge Him for that.

On a slightly lighter note:
This is a magnet we have on our fridge and the other day Bella pointed to it and said, "Mama!"
... why, yes. That is me sometimes. I hope your honesty is always this endearing, sweety. :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi I just read this after typing into google "rock bottom in motherhood". I had already been hysterically crying but as I read this it was way worse. I have a 7 and 1 year old and I am 5 months pregnant. Today I'm thinking to myself that I can't do this and I wasn't cut out for it. I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one who feels like this and loses it sometimes. I feel myself spiraling into a severe depression and I don't know how to save myself. I just want to thank you for this post. I don't feel as crazy now. I hope things are better for you, mama. Your words help so many people.