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(Worst) Mother of the Year

Like I have said, things have been rough lately.
I am having a hard time. As soon as I get into a routine or a rhythm, something seems to come along and knock my on my ass again.
I am having a really, really difficult navigating my relationships: with my husband, with my children, with my friends. I feel I am retreating.
Marriage is rough. Marriage with children is even rougher. Throw a special needs child into the mix and, well, you may as well just crack open that bottle of Malbec and call it a night.
There are moments, days, weeks, that I feel like I am keeping everyone just at an arm’s reach away. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it is a long ago learned defense mechanism from a less than perfect childhood? Maybe it is a way I learned to disengage, so as to protect myself from getting hurt? I don’t know.
What I do know is that often when I am with my family lately, I am mad. I am angry. I am short with them. I don’t want to be there. But I am there, and I go through the motions and I get through the day.
But that is not what I want.
That is not the mother I envisioned being.
I think this last bit is true for a lot of women. Where we are at age 40 is not necessarily where we saw ourselves earlier in life.
I always thought of myself as a very strong person who didn’t take shit from people. Lately, I feel like I am always playing a victim. I never wanted to be the victim.
I’m not saying I AM a victim, I just feel like I am. Like I’m always complaining. Like I’m put upon or something.
Sure, life could be easier. Who wouldn’t agree with that?
But, lately, I feel like my threshold for mess, disorder, chaos, crankiness, demands, expectations is overflowing. I am at my max.
Maybe it’s time for a change, I think.
But what to change?
I can’t, and wouldn’t change my children. As much as they drive me crazy they are mine and I love them unconditionally.
A job? Perhaps. But it would mean a complete career change. The thought of that scares the shit out of me. (This belongs to my fear of failure, which I acquired at a young age. Better to not take risks than fail. Better to not make a fool out of yourself–this is what I hear in my head but I know better than that. I will teach my children to not be afraid.)
Then this happened, after DAYS, maybe weeks of my being a cranky pants, Jackson turned to be and simply said, “Mom, you don’t have to be so cranky!!”
And there it was. The slap across my face that I so needed from my boy.
He was raising the white flag and saying “ENOUGH!” but not just for him, for me too. Enough of this nonsense. Enough of feeling bad about yourself. Enough of caring too much about things (or people) that mean too little. Enough of not taking care of my kids. Enough of not REALLY being there for them on the day to day basis that IS my job.
My kids are not neglected by any sense. They are well fed, well dressed, well entertained, well taken care of in the physical sense. But what I am talking about is their emotional selves. I was not being the best mom to them. I was busy busy busy all the time. I was telling them to wait a minute as if they were annoying me. I was getting frustrated when they asked me for help, which is such nonsense because, from a very young age, have always encouraged them to come and ask for help!
I was sending them mixed signals. Telling them I would do something, and then forget about it and be annoyed when they called me on it. Where did I get the nerve to treat my children with such disrespect, and lack of consideration for their needs?
I didn’t have the right. They deserve better.
I know it, but I couldn’t get out of my own way.
It took my almost ten year old, calling me on my crazy, to get me to snap out of it.
And thank god he did. I needed that.
For all the things I could possibly do for him, that was the best thing in the world he could do for me.
I love him. I love my daughter. They are my world. I would move heaven and earth for them. And I know they would do the same for me.
Man, am I lucky!

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2 Responses to “(Worst) Mother of the Year”

  • Melissa Smith says:

    I was recently behaving the same way, everyday felt tense and busy and impossible to please anyone much less everyone and i resented my children, my husband and really my whole family….like they somehow had it easier than me, or didn’t feel the same emotions i did. I was unhappy with my job, my body and the way my husband tried to help…ridiculous i know. I should be grateful for any help and just keep quiet, that was my thought, but running my mouth was always my action.

    My sister talked to me, and I don’t think I made it easy for her but she convinced me to do something for myself, not Autism Speaks activities or playing on my pool team but something that was just for me and I used to do it before I had kids and therapists in my life.

    I joined the gym, with my sister, who runs 5ks and half marathons, and I didn’t freak out about the price like I would normally do, or wonder how I’m going to pay for it each month. I just met her there, joined and jumped on a treadmill. I did intentional, honest exercise for ME for the first time in 3 years, since my first pregnancy. It felt painful and hard at first and I had a million excuses not to go but I went, and two weeks in I find the time decompresses me and when I get home after a work out and my kids are super excited I’m home, I’m also excited to be home with them.

    It was the gym for me, maybe there’s something you used to do that you need to try again…for just you, the you before husband, kids, and therapists…

  • Your Dad says:

    Only a good mom would see this and acknowledge her shortcomings.

    I just heard this last night; we have to give up on the life we planned to make the most out of the life we have.

    As you are there for your’s, we are here for you,

    Love ya

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