2014-THANKSgiving

Riding The Ferris Wheel of Motherhood

133 Comments

mother-having-hard-time

The other night, my husband kept texting, “leaving any minute” “be home soon” “just waiting for the bus” and it was almost 7:00 before he got home. I’m not sure if I was tired, the kids were tired or if it was a full moon, but by the time he walked in, I was ready to walk out.

I get to the end of my rope regularly. Life with young children jumps from amazing and awe-inspiring one moment to out-of-control and exasperating the next. I have an up and down personality and my highest highs are followed by crashes of the lowest lows, all within one rotation of the minute hand on the clock.

The other day my children were playing together on the top bunk in my son’s room. They cuddled on the pillows with their stuffed animals and blankets, both giggling and squirming around like Labrador puppies. My son made his little sister laugh hysterically and she tickled him under his chin and teased him back; a real sibling love fest. I smiled and felt all warm inside and proud of the beautiful healthy kids I was raising. All was well.

Seconds later I turned away to brush my teeth and the whole scenario cratered. Laughs turned to screams. Giggles turned to cries. Snuggles turned to grabs and pushes. Toys flew across the room. My heart raced and blood boiled as I jumped to separate the two before someone fell off the bunk. Both kids were crying. It was the end of the world, in preschooler land. It was one of those moments when I just wanted to quit.

Growing up, if I didn’t like something, I quit. I quit competitive swimming, gymnastics, ringette, art classes and who knows what else after a few years each because I wasn’t a star at them. My world was very black and white. Do the enjoyable and easy things that I could excel at. Avoid the difficult things. That philosophy was fine when there was just me to worry about. It even worked with my husband in the picture, for the most part.

The months (and years) after becoming a mother were the hardest of my life so far. I’m not really sure how I made it through those years of terrible sleep deprivation. My fierce love for my newborn son (and then three years later, my daughter) taught me that just because something is really, really hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. The wondrous little children that were created and carried and loved and rocked and fed, sometimes with my tears blending in with theirs, are mine to keep.

I’ve learned that wanting to quit is normal; anyone who tells you parenthood is blissful perfection is a liar. Parenting babies and young children is like riding a ferris wheel that never stops. But there’s no smiling man at the bottom to push a button if you want to get off to catch your breath.

All we can do is embrace the high highs and perfect moments, fleeting as they may be. Breathe them in and take lots of pictures. Cuddle up to our son’s snuggly warm cheeks. Trace our daughter’s dimples with our fingers and hold her tiny feet in our hands.

Freeze the perfect moments in our memory so we can bring them back to our mind during the times when everyone is screaming, and we’re trudging through a dreary day and the ferris wheel is scraping the bottom again.

Related post: Being a Good Mom is Making me a Bad Wife

Comments

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  1. 5

    says

    Did you read the article? She’s not “whining”. She’s being truthful about how there are ups and downs. And it DOES help to know that you’re not the only one having feelings of being overwhelmed. Pretending everything is perfect and awesome is what doesn’t help.

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  2. 6

    says

    I like the articles. For me, they remind me that I’m not alone in having off days…or weeks! Anything that doesn’t look like it will appeal to me, I don’t read. Simple. Or we have the option of unliking the page.

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  3. 7

    says

    It’s not always so negative, there’s also a lot of funny & risqué/rude subjects and articles brought up. Things like this are giving mothers reassurance that it’s not always this idyllic motherhood picture that you see in the media!

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  4. 10

    says

    It’s not all negative, it helps them to understand that it is OK to not be perfect. That the reality of parenting isn’t perfect. I had this exact conversation with a friend of mine not long ago, she was afraid that she wouldn’t be a good mother because of all the women around her who tout how wonderfully amazing it is and act as though it is a simple task. Women need to stop putting that pressure on each other and instead acknowledge that we all have rough days and support one another. Not act as though the mother who is having a rough time is a horrible person who doesn’t deserve children.

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    • 11

      Lala says

      Tell your friend, I had a neighbor and we had our first babies within the same month and became friends. Her home was constantly ready for a photo shoot, gourmet meals, always full of energy, I felt like the worst mom compared to her. She went on a 2mo vacation back to her parents country. I ran into her husband and asked how he is coping all on his own for so long & I joked how many nights is pizza night? His answer, he laughed, “ahhhh I miss her but its not bad, we still have the meals delivered but just for one and the cleaning lady still comes 3 mornings a week. I worry about (her name) though. Her appt with the doctor to get her thyroid balanced out was for while she is away and having energy like super woman isnt good in the long run the doctor said, can you talk her into seeing someone back there when you email her?” Enough said.

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  5. 12

    Katie P says

    That bunk bed scenario is the story of my life. Sometimes it plays in reverse (the kids are fighting and crying and I’m ready to lose it, then suddenly they’re playing nice and I feel guilty for getting mad). It’s exhausting and wears me down mentally and emotionally. I look forward to when they are older on a regular basis, and when people tell me to cherish these years, I want to punch them in the face. I’m sure I’ll look back fondly on these times and think, “Oh, they went too fast!” But let’s be honest, I do that with many stages of life. The stage of life I’m looking back most fondly on right now is the semester abroad I took in college. Many days, compared to where I’m at now, those really seem like the best of times!

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  6. 14

    says

    I’m a pretty driven person, persistent. But I have certainly thought “when is a real grow up coming to take over?”, “I am clearly not qualified for this job, how do I put my two weeks notice in?!”

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    • 15

      Lala says

      lol Ive thought the same. I have never ever been able to stick to a routine. EVER. Now there are two little ones, “why did you wash your face before brushing your teeth, you always brush your teeth first you did it wrong!” I just want to scream, “get out of my f-ing bathroom! Im an adult!” Yet I swear they can be more mature then me with their habits and organization, need for routine…lol Im supposed to be the role model?

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  7. 21

    says

    Thank you. (:
    As a young mom of almost 3 children,(DS7 DD3 Pregnant6mons) I needed this. During this summer vacation it has been so rough on me. Between constant bickering to he did this or she did that, it gets to you after a few hours alone without another adult around.

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    • 22

      says

      Im in Australia and we just finished a 2 week school break. DD 9 and DS 4. Hubby works away 20 days at a time then home for 10 and of course he was way for the entire school break, I can soooo relate !! They can seriously drive you crazy at times!!!

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  8. 23

    says

    Totally feel this today. In fact I had all 3 of my kids under the age of 5 awake by 6. Just walked into the kitchen actually looked around and said out loud, “I don’t think I have the energy for this today!” Here’s to proving to myself, somehow I’ll find the energy I need and that I will in fact survive the day. I might still be in my sweat pants, but we’ll all be alive and fed!

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