Saturday, April 10, 2010

paging the Goblin King

You might consider this a rant, but I've got to say it.

Kids?

They're a pain in the ass.

I have a scene to write, edits to plunge into, a list of titles to imagine, a painting to finish, and a studio that could really use a good cleaning. But instead, I'm trapped in momland, where I am the sole source of sustenance and entertainment for two very needy children.

I feel like a revolving door for crackers and sippy cups and diapers. I'm so accustomed to barking at my daughter when she jumps on the furniture that I don't even look up when I hear her tiny body smack into the leather. "To your room," I say. And she just goes.

Days like this, when I really, really want to do things for myself, are the hardest. I feel like they're taking something from me, like I'm fighting to stay afloat. And they sense my frustration, they feel me pushing them away, so they just surge closer, arms scrabbling and mouths open, desperate for my love and attention.

I want to give my children the gift of a mother with passion and accomplishments. I want them to see me as a role model, a happy and OH MY GOD. QUIT TALKING TO ME. QUIT IT. LET ME WRITE THIS BLOG ABOUT HOW YOU WON'T LET ME WRITE. WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH YOU? DON'T YOU GET THAT I'M A HUMAN BEING WITH FEELINGS AND NEEDS? I HAVE FED YOU BOTH WITH MY BODY. I HAVE MOVED THROUGH LIFE AS A ZOMBIE ON 4 HOURS OF SLEEP. I SACRIFICED THE SKIN OF MY ONCE-CUTE STOMACH FOR YOU. I SPEND EVERY WAKING HOUR MAKING SURE THAT YOU'RE HEALTHY AND RELATIVELY HAPPY.

Just let me have this. Please.

I know you're young. I know that it's hard to balance my needs with yours. I know that I need to cherish every moment, because you'll be on your way to college in the blink of an eye. Seriously, every person over the age of 60 who sees your sweet smile in the check-out line of Target tells me so.

But right now?

Right now, I just want you to go to bed and let me be myself.

Being pregnant was hard. Giving birth was hard. Learning to care for a helpless infant 24 hours a day was hard. But having two children under 4 while being a complete and mentally healthy human being with creative pursuits is damn near impossible. The more I want it, the harder it is to get where I want to be. They feel me pull away, and they pull back with greedy hands.

But it's quiet now. Even their bedtime music has played out. And I can finally hear myself think again. I can put my feet up in my favorite chair and have a cup of scalding hot tea.

And all I can think about is that I was a bad mother today. That I should have spent more time making them laugh, teaching them, exploring the world with them instead of sitting here, trying to think, being resentful. I don't feel guilty until they're asleep.

In the quiet I've wanted all day, I'm suddenly not sure what it was that I wanted so much.

No. Just kidding. I know exactly what I wanted, and I'm really glad to have it.

All of it.

3 comments:

charissimo said...

I feel like our children must be twins somehow separated at birth (even though one was born in Wisconsin and one was born in Georgia). This very day I said to my child "Please. PLEASE stop talking for just a minute. PLEASE. Just so I can reset my brain." His Owen Meany voice is the incessant soundtrack to my life.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Oh, yes, I know how you feel. And, unfortunately, when it is quiet at night, I am too tired to get much done. Figures that I'd figure this out just as my kids are old enough to actually sleep.

Peggy Sue Brister said...

I know you don't see it now, but it does get easier as they get older. When they are toddlers they need you 24/7. That's our job. We chose to have children and raising them is hard & tiring & sometimes frustrating. But we made that choice, they didn't. I struggled in the same situation you are in. I had 2 babies, both in diapers, only 13 months apart. But when they get about 5 or 6 (when they can wipe their own butt) things get alot easier. When they are 6 and 7 and can reach the box of crackers themselves, it gets even easier. And there is always bedtime. That's when most moms have to grab their own quiet time is the kids' bedtime. We have to run on less sleep if we want personal "me" time.