Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter of Discontent

My adorable five year old asked for second breakfast today and I screamed. A long, loud, rip-my- throat-out scream. I was contrite in an instant, pulled him close, apologized profusely and fed him. I tried to busy myself so that I didn't take time to assess my sanity. It didn't work. I think I might be just one train stop shy of crazy town today.

Lately I have felt like that mother bird who works and works and works only to drop food into the mouths of her offspring. I've also felt about as necessary to the functioning of the universe as that bird. Not to mention feeling as drab and brown as she is.

It isn't that I feel like what I do here at home is unimportant. The thought of letting somebody else raise my little men (like in the form of daycare, not as in just chucking it all in a moving to New Zealand) makes me cringe. If I didn't think it was important then I'd find away to go back to work tomorrow. I had these kids. I'm going to raise them.

At some point each day I come to a place where my nerves are frazzled, the frequent bickering and wrestling and nagging threatening to destroy my grip on sanity. Thankfully, I usually get to that place about the time Plantboy gets home and he never questions the need to step in and help while the moment passes, or we cross that threshold just as it is time for them all to go to bed and I can recover for a few hours. Today that moment came at 9:30 a.m.

Yesterday morning I had a few friends over to discuss the book "Life of Pi" with. It was a lovely morning and much-needed for me. (Though several, recent outings have convinced me that having time away from the kids isn't a magic bullet either. The vitality it gives me doesn't seem to last more than a few hours.) We got to talking about depression and isolation in conjunction with the story. One sister said, "I can't imagine what it would be like to be so depressed that you couldn't get out of bed. How can you just drop out of your life?" I smiled and stared vacantly out of the window.

If it wasn't for fear of further disapproval in my sons' eyes, I don't think anything would have motivated me to leave the covers this morning.

Like Pi, I sometimes feel like I'm in an isolated life raft. Trying to tame a tiger. I'm sure that is a metaphor for something but I think I'm too tired to think it through. Hopefully like Pi, my faith will sustain me through this in-between place I have been in for some time now. I need to reconnect with God more carefully so that He can remind me that He knows even the needs of the sparrow.

Thanks for listening. Maybe cleaning the kitchen, again, will clear my head. Or maybe it will just reiterate the futility of fighting the chaos. Oh, dear . . . maybe I'll start by making the bed today o I don't crawl back inside of it. Or getting out of the bathrobe. And no reading of Feminist Mormon Housewives today. I think it might be toxic.

13 comments:

Christie said...

You sound like me about ten years ago. Yup. Just like me. Mine was low-grade depression which my counselor says is common in stressful situations -- like raising young children. After trying all sorts of things first (exercise, gratitude journal--which was probably the most helpful, stress management class, etc.) I went on medication. I've been off and on it since then. When I need it I take it. Not just for myself, but mostly for my family.

Hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It's just that it's a really long tunnel. The older your kids get, the more time you'll have for yourself and intellectual pursuits.

Check out my blog and enter "depression" into the search field.

Jenny said...

I had these kids. I'm going to raise them.

*atta girl*

It's like running a VERY.LONG.marathon. Except you're not a kenyan. And altho' your kids get older and you
have "more time for yourself,"
the marathon does NOT.END.
(when you're doing it right)

So. Take frequent breaks, don't let the unending chaos break you, and learn how to best nourish YOU. Because everyone else will continue to suck the life out of you, even tho' the embryo stage supposedly ended after the first nine months of their little lives...

~sending HUGS~
xo

Janssen said...

I can't read FMH at all - it just riles me up too much (and I don't even have kids).

Good luck - your kids are lucky to have you.

Z. Marie said...

I wouldn't term what I have depression, just what-in-the-world-have-I-gotten-myself-into symdrome. I've recently realized everyone around me constantly wants something: a snack or to watch TV, to nurse or be held 24 hours a day, or my support of the idea of buying a 40-inch HD TV. It's enough to make a person scream. (And yes, he did get the TV.)

tamathy said...

I remember one night being pregnant with #4 and sitting down after a really long day of wrestling kids and trying to please everyone. It was the first second I'd had to myself all day and the cat jumped in my lap and rubbed her head against my hand. I almost screamed "I don't love you!". I didn't feel like I could nurture one more living thing that day.
I don't have any big, new answers - just want to say - "I hear ya sister" and "just keep swimming" and "hang on little tomato". Also- my boys think you are cool and I think you are smart and pretty.

chris w said...

Wow - how the heck did you get in my head today?

It's always nice to hear other women express your exact same feelings so you realize it's not just that you suck at being a mother and can't handle it as well as other women. It's just a hard job.

It's the most joyful/depressing, thrilling/monotonous, highest/lowest self-esteem job there is.

Good thing you have people in your life that remember you held your own against self-inflated pre-med students in an extremely competetive science dept at USU. Not only do you CREATE BEAUTIFUL STORIES, you have the courage to put them out there for others to enjoy/judge/reject. You are anything but brown and drab.

I know how hard it is for someone who has made meaningful contributions in other areas to put that on hold for something that regularly makes you feel like a complete failure.
To go through years of schooling to clean the same mess repeatedly day after day, give up half an income to do so, oh and to top it off - regularly gain 30+ pounds.

These little people are worth every second of those feelings, but sometimes it's hard to get through the next minute let alone the whole day.

I love you and hope you remember how amazing you are. Oh and that you have plenty of company on that train to crazy town. :)

AmyJane said...

This sounds scarily close to home this year. You be sure and let me know if you find any solutions.

Scully said...

I don't have children or a husband, so I don't know precisely what you are feeling, but I have experienced facing multiple, infinite channels of need with a limited, and dwindling, reservoir of ability to give. Sometimes my reservoir is miraculously filled through faith, sometimes through other people, sometimes through actively damming the reservoir myself and taking care of myself, and sometimes it takes me getting physically ill to make me stop and reverse the flow. Each time is different and, usually, inspired. But it doesn't make those last days, weeks, months, or minutes of panic any easier or less real. So hang in there, know that there are semi-strangers out here that empathize. And maybe take a bubble bath while the Ewoks distract the Jedi.

Yankee Girl said...

Lots and hugs and kisses to you.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I completely empathize, and though I regret that you're on this train today, I'm also kind of glad that I'm not the only one.

[BIG HUG]

Dickey said...

Completely understand. Love you.

emandtrev said...

I can't seem to come up with the right words, but I do know this feeling. Every situation is different, obviously, but I hope it gives you some sense of solace to know that other women go through it too and care about you. You are so strong, smart, AND beautiful--do take some time for you and don't let the dark days linger too long. Hugs...

Science Teacher Mommy said...

You are all so wonderful. Now if I could just think of something witty or profound or wonderful to write then I could put up a new post and stop looking so needy.

Nope. Nothing.