Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stress

Chalk this one up under "Things Nobody Warned Me About". Motherhood is stressful.
Who'da thunk it? I mean, don't mothers sit around all day in their housecoats and curlers watching soap operas? And since millions of women have done it for who knows how many years, it can't be that hard, can it?
Truth is, motherhood is more like taking a triple course load in a never-ending semester.
Let's discuss.
1. Money. Unless you finally managed to find a nursery that carries money trees, there is just never going to be enough. You can scrimp all you like, but your kids keep growing and eating and wanting toys. And they don't particularly appreciate it if you buy their shoes three sizes too big in order to economize.
2. Time. Another luxury triple-load college students hoard, judging by how little of it is left over for me. I'm not even talking about not having time for those cutesy little crafty hobbies those home-schooling mothers of eight seem to create out of thin air. I don't even have time to keep the house clean. I've been meaning to clean out the diaper pail for days, for example. And the dusting? There are some cabinets I haven't dusted since we moved in. When I actually have a moment to myself, the list of things to do is longer than the grocery check-out line. But usually going to the bathroom is first on the list. As I like to tell my kids, peeing is a priority.
3. Physical space. Sometimes, when I'm sitting at the computer, I move my elbows, just for the sheer joy of it.
4. Auditory space. When the kids are in bed and my ears stop ringing, I sometimes complete a whole thought in my head.
5. Oh, the pressure. Everybody thinks they know how to raise kids, especially magazine articles (5 simple ways to end temper tantrums) and people who don't have any. They also know how your house should look, how to produce the behavior you want, how to be a great wife, how not to lose your temper with your kids, how not to get them to turn out to be serial killers. So you feel like you don't measure up to the people who know better, even when "they" don't agree.
6. Oh, the frustration. How many times can you tell your child not to throw the toilet paper in the toilet until they get it? Why do you flap your lips up and down to suggest to your kid that telling you what's bothering him is far more productive than screaming? Why do you make dinner so that he can tell you how icky lasagna is and that you have to make him mac and cheese instead?
7. Oh, the built-up anger. See above. Then add kids whacking each other, bossing their parents around, pulling the cat's fur, biting you, and see how long you provide an example of productive ways to handle your emotions.
Then add cutesy little jokes from well-meaning clueless people about how little sleep or appreciation you get, how it's all worth it, how they wouldn't trade the time they spent at home with the kids for anything, etc. Really? That's too bad because if they want more of it, they can borrow a couple of my kids for a few hours.
Then take a deep breath (or a day off) and remind yourself that people who have actually survived parenthood say that it all passes, sooner than you'd think. Promise yourself that somehow you will live through it, too.

3 comments:

Melanie J said...

I'm having one of those days today. My ten year old threw up at church and it looks like he's got the flu. My toddler is trashing the living room faster than I can clean it and I'm pregnant and worried about catching the flu myself. But this is just a day. It's a day that might stretch longer than others, maybe even to cover two or three days, but then after that, we'll be back to good days and everything will be okay.

Meyer Family said...

I'm sorry you're stressed. Those days or weeks, whatever they may be, are hard.

Sara and Company said...

Amen, sister!