The solitude of motherhood is the ultimate paradox. On the one hand, you are constantly swarmed by the needs and wants of other people; on the other hand, you’re often completely alone, isolated, left to navigate the rocky terrain of life with small children by yourself.
I am betrothed to my soul mate but he is unable to co-parent alongside me because his job keep him away from home sixty to seventy-two hours a week. He is the family provider and the children’s extra special Sunday playmate. I am the stay-at-home mom-ship captain-prison warden-public relations director-service coordinator-keeper of all the things.
This is by far the hardest job I have ever had. I have worked in an upscale, posh fruit market and deli with over two hundred register codes to memorize. I have worked in Bingo halls, ice rinks, and day cares. For many years, in between, I held down a second job as a nighttime security guard. After college, I worked as a Health Unit Coordinator, managing patient care in some of the most fast-paced, unpredictable units of the hospital- Labor & Delivery, Pediatrics,Neurology, and the I.C.U.. None of those jobs even begin to compare to the stress, exhaustion, and physicaldrain of Mom Duty.
Everyone undoubtedly knows, it is the village which makes or breaks a good mother. This mother was breaking under the pressure. Going into my first pregnancy, I was a bit on the younger side of the average age for first-time moms. In my naïve twenty-two year old mind, the picture of motherhood American Baby and Baby Talk magazines painted, would become my reality.
What a slap in the face it was to realize those farcical illustrations were far from the truth. No matter how many Mommy and Me classes we went to, how many playgroups we auditioned at, or how well I adhered to the advice in articles like “How To Find Your BMFF (best mommy friend forever) At “Gymboree” and “Build Your Mommy Crew In Style,” I never felt welcomed, nor, did I ever make a single friend.
There is only so much fight in someone, and, by the time I was having my third child, five years later, my fight was gone. Dried up.Vamoose. My tribe would never be, and, I was surprisingly okay with that. A natural introvert by nature, it was torturous bearing the barrage of mother-baby socialization necessary in order to find a gaggle of girl friends who weren’t single, childless, Molly-loving club goers. Those kind vanished, to never return again, the first time my newborn baby cried in their presence.
So, when the third was born, I finally let go of the fairy tale depicting, magazine idealism entirely. All it had done was leave me friendless and on the brink of insanity– and, truthfully speaking, I was afraid of what would come beyond the point of insanity.
By the time my fourth child came, I had fully adjusted to motherhood without the stress of social pressures, and, subsequently, without any outside support. Four kids and one mother – twenty four hours a day, three hundred sixty five days a year – with only the varying levels of school during the school year to break up some time with a few of the kids. Coupled with the task of managing the entire household, and all the bullshit associated thereof, my hands are so full, I am losing my grip on it all, completely.
My sleep is random and sparse, constantly interrupted by one little person’s needs or another. My body is perpetually ready for bed and continually fighting wakefulness, because it has no idea when sleep is supposed to happen anymore. The chores have gotten farther behind than I ever imagined possible; giving up on the idea of ever having a presentable looking home. Not even a flawlessly clean home, just presentable.
Looking around, all I could see was failure in the overflowing piles of paperwork, stacks of laundry baskets that will never be folded before we’ve worn it all, dishes in the sink for days on end, and a smell emanating from our dingy carpets the kids are surprisingly not nose-blind to, but actually seem to prefer. Days turn into nights which turn right back intodaytime again, sending shockwaves of confusion through my brain as it tries to decipher time and date.
I feel trapped in the twilight zone of stay-at-home parenthood, where every day seems just like the last and the memories of each blend together in jumbled chaos. In all of my painstaking endeavors to become an attractive, friend-able Mom, it has become apparent to me, motherhood is an isolating, punishable, and taboo feat in which society makes you feel as if you haven’t done enough. It is a lonely and daunting role which threatens to consume you, if you let it.
For a long, long time, it seems, I have done just that. I have focused solely on the parts of motherhood which were unexpected and/or unattainable. I was blatantly ignorant to the value of what I had staring me right in the face. Becoming aware of the fact that I am miserable by my own fault, has been liberating. I have realized I was only mirroring the rejection I felt from my endless attempts at finding my best mommy friend. I was finding fault in my inability to be a real life Wonder Woman and keep up with lifein its high-speed chase towards death, to prove there was value to the opinion of a bunch of mothers I only knew the back page summary of the story of their lives.
And, you know what? My way of getting through is A-okay by me. I haven’t made the leap off the insanity cliff, yet. Actually, I am probably a lot further from the edge than I ever was before, without the added pressure of a motherhood fantasy dangling above my head. This is the most arduous, back-breaking, demanding, and wearisome role I have ever been graced with. The most rewarding and fulfilling, too. I have the opportunity to see my children every possible moment along their journeys. I can take the time to talk to them, play with them, learn with them and from them, sharing a bond we wouldn’t have had on the same level, otherwise.
So what if I’m not good at managing household repairs and spring cleaning regimes? My children’s laughter fills the air and their smiles brighten the rooms of our home, bringing joy to even the most mundane of household chores. We are busy making memories and memories can be quite messy at times. So can dealing with temper tantrums, sicknesses, and injuries, too.
The solitude of motherhood tests my limits and capabilities on a daily basis. For whatever reason, I was meant to go this journey, but, for the first time ever, I am so damn grateful I have. I have proven to myself that I can. That I am. That I will. I am the mother I was meant to be and there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.
Kristina is a married sahm of 4 angrivating, but sweet, children on her way to insanity and beyond. With big dreams and little luck in life, she is simply trying to survive until the last one graduates with her sanity in tact. You can find her ramblings over at The Angrivated Mom (http://www.angrivatedmom.WordPress.com), on Facebook at The Daily Rantings Of An Angrivated Mom (Http://www.Facebook.com/theangrivatedmom) or on Twitter at @angrivatedmom.
A version of this post originally appeared on The Angriavated Mom: https://angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/nothing-wrong-with-that-nothing-at-all/?preview=true