Warning: This post may be a little depressing

I've felt like I've given up a lot of dreams in order to pursue motherhood. That's true of all mothers. I also think that giving up dreams for certain realities and plain old sacrifice is part of earthly experience, and those who don't are missing some important experiences.

The problem I've been facing is that even my dreams of motherhood aren't happening. The whole experience isn't what I'd always hoped it would be. My days are filled with grueling hard work. I'm so tired and sore at the end of every day, and then I wonder why the heck am I still so fat? Aren't I working hard enough to burn that, yo?!

Discipline is the other dominant part of my days. I feel like a zookeeper more than a mother 90% of the time. "Don't bite that - don't hit her - you have to wear clothes - don't suck up the dirty water on the dishwasher door - don't smash the tv with the hammer - don't stick your finger in the outlet - don't play in the toilet." (PS - I have said every single one of those things today, and its only 1:30).

So I'm having to lower my expectations on this whole experience, which is depressing. I thought there'd be more sweet, calm moments. I literally cannot keep up with their energy. I can hear them, its nap time, but what are they doing? Removing the wooden slats on their bed frame and making a slide. I don't even have to go up there, I just know.

Then there are the things that just make me feel deprived. Like missing lunch because there's no time after I feed the kids (there is just no way I can eat at the same time,) or not being able to use the bathroom without someone coming in and asking me to do something for them. Millie bit a hole in a favorite dress.

I decided a long time ago that my life's focus is on my children and not me, but there are some days (like today,) that I just feel so run down and there's nothing left.

I wasn't planning on writing about this - but Trev and I were trying to plan a trip to Paris this fall. I was so excited. Looking at plane tickets and everything. But in the end it just wasn't possible. Maybe in a few years. But there are so many things like that in my life right now - well, maybe in a few years blah blah blah - but I need something to be happy about right now. My mom has been trying to tell me to shoot lower - maybe just a weekend away, or smaller dreams. I'm working on that one.

And then there's that stupid voice in my head that says, "Well, you can't complain about anything. You have running water. You're not raising children in the sewers in Mumbai. You have a house and a husband. There are couples who desperately want kids, and you're complaining about yours?!" I can't even let myself have a moment of decent self pity because I feel so stinking guilty if I do.

Outsiders who watch me with my kids are almost always amazed. And say so to me. It makes me feel good, and I think maybe I am succeeding. But I can't see what they see.

My greatest fear is that after my children are grown, and I've given it all I've got, there won't be anything left of me. Like I won't have any more dreams, and I'll just be this daft old lady who watches soaps all day, eating marshmallows. I know, reading this you're thinking that's a weird thing to be afraid of. But I am! What if this whole hard experience just knocks it all out of me?! It could happen, peeps!

I order in all these travel books from the library. "The Bazaar Quarter of Istanbul." "The Markets of Paris." "Spain and its Wonders." The last batch I returned them without even opening them. What's the point?

Trying to encourage myself is hard when I do the exact same thing every. single. day. And its not going to change for hundreds more days. But what am I complaining about? I'm not in a concentration camp. (SHUT UP, VOICE.) What to do?! I thought writing it all out might help....it didn't...poop. Now I have to go upstairs and reassemble their beds, for the umpteenth time.


  1. I don't think you should feel guilty for thinking your life is sometimes difficult. Just because there are people who are worse off doesn't mean everything is easy for everyone else. I mean, it's good to keep perspective and it's also good to not wallow in a pity party...but I don't think you should beat yourself up about struggling with life sometimes.

    Also, you are one of the very last people I could EVER imagine watching soaps and eating marshmallows. Ever.

  2. I could have written this yesterday. My kids turned my bathroom into a swimming pool and slipn'slide while I made dinner. Every towel in the house was dunked in the full bathtub and the floor was greased with sunscreen. It was awesome.

    I really do think a lot of surviving this part of motherhood is lowering the bar. But not so much the losing yourself bit. That part I can't swallow.

    But I do find I'm able to find myself in much smaller pieces than I'd ideally like. A cup of tea, here and there. Insisting on setting a formal table for dinner every night. A 15 minute pinterest session. And lots of trying to figure out how to go back to school for a 2nd bachelors and do it 3 credits at a time for umpteen years.

    But really, I have no answers, only my deepest empathy. If you do have any epiphanies in this direction, PLEASE DO SHARE.

  3. If it sucks everything out of you than I will make sure that we rent a villa on the Italian coast for a month a la Enchanted April and the magic will revive you. I will!

  4. I have been criticized for "choosing a career over my son." Its a bias that a lot of stay at home moms have about working moms' choices (while different soap box I could get on, but won't). However, I have found that because I recognized that I wouod be unhappy at home, because I have adult interaction everyday, I can fully appreciate my time with my son (even at 3 a.m. when hes teething) because I am happy with who I am and what I am doing.
    My sacrifices come in things like having (and expecting) a messy house (I am laying on my couch, my husband is playing a video game, there are balls from our ball pit EVERYWHERE, swords, laundry, toys...etc) This can stress me out, so we usually have people over twice a month so my house can be clean and so we can socialize with other couples. I have a bunco group that I go to once a month as well. We have also instituted once-a-month "go out without the kiddo" night
    this year.
    I say all of these things knowing full-well that my household consists of two adults and one toddler, two full-time incomes, and holidays and summers off.
    Bottom line: find something, one thing, that makes you feel like you, and do it. It won't be a sacrifce- it will be a balancer and you will hold on to that part of you that you don't want to lose (teaching community ed seems perfect, by the way. I really hope it works in your favor!). I wish everyone could have their perfect situation with intense happiness and joy!
    I'm sorry you're in a rut. Come visit us- weekend away, we'll be your bed and breakfast at Zion!!! Even bring your kids- we'll take on the madness!

  5. I really liked what your other commenters had to say. Way to be uplifting, ladies. I'm also really glad that there are people like you out there who will talk about this kind of stuff. I think a lot of us feel it in our own ways but are hesitant to say anything. It's really refreshing to hear.

    I know this was not the point of your post at all, but I've got to say that you are very funny. Even in your frustration, you are very funny. That is a high compliment from me; I value funny. Your list of things you actually said today: hilarious! You can't make that stuff up. "I can't even let myself have a moment of decent self pity": very funny. Soaps and marshmallows: also funny because I just can't imagine you doing it. I have my own fears about what I'll become. I joke with Blake that if I end up staying home full-time I might devolve into opening at etsy shop, selling jewelry out of my home, and/or starting a photography business.

  6. Clarification: it's not that any of the things I mentioned are bad; they're just so NOT me. It's funny.

  7. Oh Shelley, I can relate (but only on a small scale, since I only have one three year-old and you have three kids!). I hope that you are able to find some "you" time, so you don't go insane. The continuing education class sounds like such a fantastic option. I don't even feel like a person unless I'm able to talk about art history - and I think that you need something along those lines, too.