2014-THANKSgiving

How Did I Get Here?

35 Comments

How did I get here

As I crawl on my hands and knees under the dining room table picking up what appears to be an entire ear of corn under my 18-month old son’s chair, I think to myself, “How did I get here?”

I glance over and see my poor cat, Malcolm, neglected since the birth of my son, and all but forgotten since the birth of our twins five months ago, looking back desperately between his cat toy and me, as if to say, “Well, you’re already down here. Might as well play with me.” But I can’t. Not because I don’t want to. More because the twins are exhausted and screaming in the living room, in expired diapers and onesies encrusted in the afternoon’s spitup, and my son threw pasta at the wall.

Luckily, my husband handles the twins and their onesies while I tackle the bottles and remnants of dinner. These are our nights. These are our days. This is my life. I vaguely remember working. I vaguely remember running programs and teaching psychology at night. I vaguely remember adult conversations, dressing down on Fridays, potlucks, and Secret Santas. Now, I can’t even remember what time I last fed the twins.

It’s an effort, and that’s putting it kindly, to take a walk, go to the mailbox, basically to exist in any way that resembles my life before children. Am I complaining? Not sure. Do I hate it? Can’t say that I do. However, if you would have told me, say, five, ten years ago that I would get married, become pregnant immediately (and I mean immediately), stop working, have a son, then get pregnant four and a half months later – with twins – I would have laughed in your face. Hard. I would have laughed even harder if you told me I would enjoy it.

I watched my impressive collection of nail care products and makeup seize up and become unusable in the two years or so I was pregnant. I let my credentials to practice expire because a high-risk twin pregnancy kept me from attending the mandatory trainings. I mourned the loss of my career for the better part of a year and a half. Let me tell you, the arrival of twins when you already have a thirteen-month-old son will snap you right out of that.

I have never been so busy, or worked so hard in my 32 years. My skills and education fell by the wayside for the sake of becoming a stay-at-home-mom. And even though I hate it some days, and I mean really hate it, I’d hate more to have a nanny or a sitter see my babies smile, crawl, or speak for the first time, or be too tired or stressed out from work to see (or enjoy) it myself.

I spend my time talking about poop and puke, smiles and rolling over, and savor a measly fifteen minutes of silence at the end of the day before falling soundly asleep. I find joy in my son’s pronouncing, “Thank you,” correctly or seeing him comb his hair and brush his teeth. And in watching the time-hardened faces of my family soften at the sight of my babies.

My hatred for my situation and “lack of fulfillment” melted away when Matthew leaned over and kissed Michael and Maggie’s heads for the first time. I even surprised myself.

So it’s okay, I think. For now, at least.

Comments

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  1. 1

    Skye Diaz | motherhood, etc. says

    Hi Stephanie,
    Wow… I thought I had it bad. My post today was about the same theme as yours but I only have 2 girls 17 months apart under age of 3! I totally feel you and know almost exactly how you feel. Motherhood is damn hard, especially in the first 2 years. The advice I can offer is that you MUST have alone time. Fit it in somehow, find help wherever you can so you can get that alone time for you need your space and sanity. How you even have time to blog is beyond me!! ;) It’s taking me two years to get mine started because I’ve either been pregnant or too damn tired and exhausted to do anything else.

    The great thing is everyday gets easier, even with your three. Stay strong and take care of YOU.

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  2. 2

    Cate8 says

    I am exhausted now after reading and thinking about your life. Going back to bed–oops, no I can’t. My baby starts Kindergarten today. She is 5– I am 48! The last of my 8 blessings to go to school. She can’t wait. I am not sure I will make it through the day at work without crying.

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  3. 3

    Seriously Sassy Mama says

    I love the part about picking up the ear of corn. It makes me think of all the times I have missed a item of food on the floor, under a chair, under the couch, because one of my three girls needed something. Being a parent is awesome. I also pushed my career to the side to be a parent. I still do it part-time, but it is strictly part-time.

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  4. 5

    Lyndsay says

    I love this. It’s so refreshing to hear people admit that they are just as happy if not more happy in their mom shoes than they were in their career shoes. I feel like there’s too much defense around the topic in general and it’s just refreshing to see your side. I was someone that was defined by my career and that changed the moment I held my oldest. I wouldn’t go back to that life for anything. I’ve never been more sure of who I am now that I’m “Mommy”.
    xo

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  5. 6

    Angel_DWMW says

    It’s nice to see other women whose lives have changed completely still happy with their choices. I chose to work outside the house after my kids were born. I missed a lot of those “firsts” and while I regret that, I need that space. I don’t have that special ability you have to stay home with my kids. Yet we both live different lives than pre-kids; we both face challenges; and we both still love our lives. Most of the time.

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  6. 7

    Elizabeth Flora Ross says

    I could so relate to this, though I only have one child. I have really been struggling lately. This is so much harder than I ever expected. I feel I am floundering. The days are long. But when they end, and that sweet little face looks up at me and says, “I wuv you, too, Mommy!” That makes it all worth it. Yes, I am frustrated. Yes, I am exhausted. Yes, I wonder where my life went. But most importantly, yes, I am happy. And so is she. I would not want it any other way.

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  7. 8

    mom2twins says

    Yup, I agree on all parts! I am in awe that you can manage to post a blog that is both articulate and whitty, when there are days I can barely string a sentence together!

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  8. 9

    Christi says

    Oh my, that’s a lot of little ones all under the age of 2! You do have your hands full! I have an 11-year-old and a 1-year-old, so mine are spaced far apart. I was a Career Counselor before becoming a SAHM, and while I also sometimes miss the Secret Santas and the water cooler gossip, I don’t ever regret not working!

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  9. 10

    Michelle Saunderson says

    I can feel for you. I didn’t have kids that close and no twins, but I still felt overwhelmed when I became a stay at home mom. I did not crawl on the floor too much cleaning up though because I had a dog that was allowed to “clean the floor” when the kids were done eating. I just mopped up after the dog did the pre-clean.

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  10. 11

    Farrah says

    Last night I was driving the minivan home from the store. I had to get a tea infuser – well really it was to get the hell out of the house. I have 11 month old twins and a 2.5 year old and as I drove I started thinking those questions…’Who knew this would be me?’ ‘Where did I go’ and ‘What if….’. Of course I love my boys dearly. I love my husband dearly too- but this is an overwhelming loss of ‘self’ on occasion. It doesn’t help listening to David Dye on the World Cafe play some of my old college faves.

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  11. 12

    Megan says

    I have a five year old and a one year old and it is a dream of mine to raise them! Right now though they are with a sitter 80% of our waking hours. It’s sad. I’m sad when I think about it. I’m here from the “You’re so freaking lucky!” Club! lol

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  12. 13

    Char says

    I have almost-3 year old twin girls. Hubby and I both work full time. I love those kids more than I ever could have imagined, but I need to work for my own sanity. I couldn’t do what you’re doing all day, every day. And you have 1 more than me! Glad to know you love/hate it too though… I’m learning I’m not alone with that.

    The girls started full-time preschool last week and I can’t believe how proud of them I am! Growing up quick…

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  13. 14

    Twinisms says

    I like how you put that, ‘mourning the loss of my career.’ It’s true, it is a loss, worth it in the end, but still a loss. Congrats on braving the world of mommyhood-it’s the best job ever.

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  14. 16

    Nery says

    At least I see that I’m not alone in my “what have I become” and “what ifs” !! I’m not a SAHM (yet) but I’d love to be one just to live all those “growing-up-cute-things u mention. It makes me sad, but I need to work.

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  15. 17

    Jeanine says

    Meet another mom just like you. The only difference is that I am 40 and my girls are older. But I dumped my high priced education (college & grad school & credentials) to stay home with my kids. It is an oddly weird and depressing feeling, at times, to look up and think that all you worked for is gone. I also let my credentials lapse because I had no choice.

    I have a special needs child whom I love dearly, but has sealed the deal that I will never work again. Many of my friends have gone back to work. Our kids are in late elementary and middle school. But I am here still at home dreaming of what could have been. It is lonely as all hell. I have talks with myself, however. You are still a teacher, Jeanine. Maybe not a paid one, but a valued one. Your skills will always be with you, Stephanie. You will be surprised how often you use them and need them in the years ahead.

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    • 18

      Cory says

      Oh wow, Jeanine, you just spoke to my heart. I am a teacher by trade, and now work part-time at our church with the religious ed program, but it is nothing like running a classroom, engaging minds over new experiences with literature, tutoring a student and watching them *get it*! I MISS it, and I’m realizing that I really am grieving the loss of that. But when I read, “you are still a teacher… maybe not a paid one, but a valued one” seriously tears sprang to my eyes. I am valued. My husband and kids and even my parents and friends really value me, in fact they value me much more than any of my students or families I’ve worked with ever could.

      I’m not the ushy-gushy type, but seriously, thank you.

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  16. 19

    bea. says

    You are awesome and have my total respect. I’ve got 18 month old twins and cannot imagine throwing one more kid into the mix. I have to roll up my pants to clean the floor after every meal. Pick up the food, mop up and vacuum,and don’t forget to clean the walls!

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  17. 20

    Team Suzanne says

    Your excellent post makes me think about the difference between happiness and contentment. I think, most of the time, at least at this stage of my life, constant happiness is too much to shoot for–but contentment is the goal.

    Much of living in a house with young kids–your career gone or dying or half what it was–is not the stuff that makes one feel exhilirated and categorically happy. But it’s a content feeling. A deep recognition that life is good and that you’re lucky and have many blessings.

    I complain a lot, use more foul language than a happy person ought to and subject more people to my frustrations than I probably should. But, I’m content. There’s nothing about my life that I would change.

    For me, letting go of the feeling that I “ought to be happier than this” is important. Why isn’t my life as rosey as I thought it would be? As everyone else’s seems to be?

    Screw it. Life is not one big cupcake. Contentment, dotted with moments and periods of happiness, is enough.

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