This week’s guest writer is Meagan Lucas- Meagan is a Canadian expat living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She is a writer of fiction and a reader of everything. She is a wife, a mother, a fast talker, a slow runner, and the friendliest recluse you’ll ever find.
The first time you felt it the room was dim, the lavender walls were aglow from the ridiculously expensive nightlight. The creak of the glider and the fake rain noise of the sound machine did nothing to cover her cries as you tried and tried to force your battered nipple into your starving infant’s mouth.
It’s not baby blues, it’s not Post Partum Depression, it’s the soul sucking feeling of all you gave up to be here, the fear that you’re not nearly good enough, and the realization that you’re completely alone.
Yes, you have been there for your children’s first steps, and first words, and first pees in the potty. You are buried in snuggles and dance parties and moments of bonding that you’ll cherish forever. You know many mothers don’t have that ability, and you wouldn’t give this time up for anything. It’s you that they want when they bonk their noggins or stub their toes. What you alone have is special. Yet, you were also there alone when your cat vomited on the kitchen floor and your eighteen month old decided to rub it all over himself and the cupboards. You were there alone when your two year old “borrowed” your wedding ring and dropped it down the furnace vent. You were there alone when you killed yourself for an hour to put your over–tired toddler down for a nap, only to have the fedex man/the gutter guard guy/or some guy selling meat out of his van ring the doorbell and wake him up.
Being a Stay at Home Mom is awesome. Until it’s not.
You left a job you excelled at, one that challenged and fulfilled you. You had work friends. You wore pants that could only be dry cleaned, and shiny, sparkling things without fear that tiny fingers might rip them out of your ears. You had business lunches and perks, and you left all this for screaming – sweet Jesus so much screaming – and diapers, and always having peanut butter on your sweat pants. You left it for crayon drawings on the wall, cheerios everywhere and having to say “I can’t hear you when you’re whining” a thousand times a day.
You are stuck between a rock and hard place. Half your friends are jealous of your ability to make your children your full time job. The other half think you’re nuts to leave your career and grad school education behind to wipe up poo and boogers.
It feels like no one understands.
I’m not going to give you some pithy self help list of how to fix it, because honestly, I don’t really know how and I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution. I’m not going to tell you to join a MOPS group or play group or the like. You don’t like other people’s kids and the problem of Mom judging and shaming is a whole other letter. But there is one thing that I want you to remember:
You are not alone.
Remember you are not alone when you are up in the middle of the night for the millionth time re-tucking your almost four year old back into bed or nursing your bottomless pit of an infant, when you feel like you haven’t had a real sleep in years. Remember when the house is quiet and dark except for the light above the kitchen sink where you wash bottles at three am and you have to bite your own hand to hold in the sobs.
Remember you are not alone when the baby is screaming bloody murder for no apparent reason, (seriously, no reason at all,) when the sound waves feel like slaps in the face. Remember when it has been so long since you were able to hear yourself think that you want to just walk out the front door and never come back.
Remember you are not alone when you can’t remember the last time that you ate, but your son just dumped an entire plate of lovingly fixed food on the floor and your daughter refuses to eat anything but chicken nuggets from the big M.
Remember you are not alone as you wash yet another load of food stained onsies, potty training accident underroos and your own worn out sweat pants. Remember, even though you haven’t showered in days, and you don’t own any pants that have non-elastic waist bands, and you choose tops based on their ability to hide stains, that you are not alone!
Remember you are not alone as you watch the other mothers at Preschool dressed in LuLu Lemon and crisp Ann Taylor drop off their kids, and you want the ground to swallow you and your sweatshirt and greasy ponytail.
Remember you are not alone when naptime finally comes and you choose to watch The Good Wife with a cup of tea for an hour and cry instead of cleaning the kitchen.
Motherhood is like Fight Club. The first rule of Motherhood is we don’t talk about Motherhood. At least not the bad stuff, not the loneliness, or the boredom, or the isolation, or the suffocating feeling, or the desire to run screaming when you see yet another sippy cup of spoiled milk leaking behind the couch.
You’re not alone.
Remember this the next time a friend or loved one forgets to ask you how you are in favor of asking about the children, or your husband’s first words when he gets home late from work are “it smells like poop in here,” or the big one throws a temper tantrum in the grocery store complete with laying on the floor and breath holding, or the little one dumps the kitty litter box on the floor. Remember there are thousands of other mother’s biting their tongues, taking deep breaths, and counting the minutes until nap time too.
Much love, (and wine),
To view the rest of the project click on The Path.
You can contact her and read her ramblings at www.meaganlucas.com