When Motherhood Disappoints
A few weeks back, after having a particularly funky week, during which I was completely exhausted emotionally and physically, I fell into a mothering slump.
I didn't find anything that my kids did cute or entertaining. In fact, nearly everything they did felt annoying. I couldn't pretend to be interested in any more 6-year-old stories, or 11-year-old school drama tales, or even begin to think about sitting through yet another episode of Max and Ruby. I didn't feel like making one more sandwich, pouring one more drink, turning one more load of laundry, or hearing one more person yell the word “Mama.”
It. Was. That. Bad. The Mom Funk!
All I really wanted to do was to go lie down in bed and watch a grown-up show with lots of cussing and sex and not be interrupted for at least five hours.
Sounds selfish, right? Sounds like I deserve the worst mother of the world award, huh? But it also probably sounds very familiar.
Motherhood can be disappointing. Even the best mothers who make the cutest cupcakes, who keep the cleanest house, who iron every pair of jeans before they are worn, and who never get tired of building block towers or wiping boogers off of their little ones' noses can easily fall into a slump.
One of the things that makes our lives work, function, and flow is a routine. And sometimes, that routine, especially for a mother, can get monotonous and unfulfilling. Sadly, when we feel unfulfilled or unsatisfied with being a mother, we also tend to feel guilty. We wonder how in the world we can feel that way.
Kids are outlandish creatures. When it comes to our energy and time, they are vacuums. If you aren't careful and don't pay attention to your emotions and feelings, you will easily become drained. And then, all you have left to offer your children is a robotic form of the real you, who is completely wiped out and void of emotion.
When you start feeling disappointed or let down by the tremendous responsibilities of parenthood, it is vital that you pay attention to yourself. Give yourself a break — both literally and metaphorically — and try to step out of your box a little bit and mix up your routine so that it feels fresh again. The laundry and the cooking and the naps and the cleaning will all wait for you. Give yourself permission to take a reprieve and do something with or without the kids that you truly enjoy (even if that is drinking coffee while watching R rated movies!). The world is not going to end if you use the television to entertain your 3-year-old so you can read a few chapters of your favorite book. And, it is OK to lean on someone else to watch your children so you can go try on bras by yourself. You get the point!
Feeling disappointed doesn't make you a bad mom; it doesn't make you a failure. It means you are human. It also means that you aren't putting all the responsibility of YOUR happiness on your children’s shoulders. They aren't responsible for making YOU happy. YOU ARE!
In so many ways, regardless of how far we have come from old stereotypes, there is still a part of each of us as mothers that expects too much of ourselves — apart that is willing to do everything for everyone else and put ourselves last. Somewhere along the way, someone started the rumor that THIS is the mark of a good mother. (And this person needs to be punished.)
The best way to make sure your kids are happy is to make sure you are happy. Happy moms raise happy kids. So when you feel your happiness and glee and excitement for all things domestic dwindling, take a break! And believe me when I say this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!