Rushing out of the house, grabbing coats and hats as we dart to the car that has been sitting cold in the bitter winter air but there is no time to stop and warm the car up because we are running late again. We are perpetually running late for our engagements. We are poorly dressed and I am haphazardly tugging hats onto the refusing children through protests and squirms. “But it’ll keep you warm, you need to be warm!” What kind of mother runs out wildly in frigid air when her children aren’t even dressed?
The same kind of woman who rolls out of bed in the morning and says, “OH, THIS SHIT AGAIN?”
I’m not going to go down that path of defense with you, we know each other better than to have to say “I love my kids, but…” of course I love my kids, you love your kids, they are ours, but that is not to say that the job of caring for them isn’t sometimes tedious and frustrating in a way that makes you pull your hair from your follicles while tears stream down your face, and you bury your head in your hands as you bend over the kitchen counter wishing you had bought at least four more bottles of wine. The kids have taken every opportunity to act like potential super villains and I may as well just be the banged up Metropolis. They’re running, screaming, fighting over toys. Toys mind you, not life, not death, not cuts scrapes or bruises. No serious infractions or injuries to anybody’s health. Toys. And if there is one thing I’ve run out of patience for, it’s arguing over stupid, commercial plastic shit that we bought at Target on one of my desperate trips to just get the hell out of the house.
I blamed winter, I blamed pregnancy, then I blamed the baby. I blamed the blahs. I blamed the kids. The one honest to goodness thing I was never willing to face was myself. What needs were not being met for me? Why was I constantly shuffling my kids out of their house to go shopping or find a play date? Because I need adult human interaction mostly, it’s not that Target sells the best yoga pants ever and I love them so much that I could just hardly stand the thought of spending a day not looking at them sitting on the same rack. Well, that part might be at least seventy-five percent true.
I surely, stubbornly was not willing to accept that I couldn’t stand being by myself. I needed comradery in a constant and desperate kind of way. I needed another grown woman in my life to sit across from me and just talk. Talk about how much they loved the Bush administration for all I care, but just a person who would connect with me and read my face and talk over the constant thrum of noise in my house. Where is my Wisteria Lane?
I need fresh air and outings, but hell, I don’t need to be running away from my feelings and my own insecurities, Target doesn’t have the answers I need and I’m not going to find anything in the bottom of a Venti Soy Chai Latte but bigger love handles, and the pungent stank of douchiness that I even just asked someone making minimum wage to make that bullshit for me.
I’m coming around and digging my heels down as firmly as they will go. I’m not sure my husband can make money as fast as I can blow it up China’s ass and fill my house with more baubles. He shouldn’t have to be forced to support my unhappiness, and my unhappiness shouldn’t take us into financial ruin. I can’t outspend my problems any more than I can outrun them. I may not be able to convince any fellow moms to move in and sister wife with me on the compound (we can get a puppy ladies, c’mon!) but I can start taking responsibility for myself and stand up taller.
I won’t “should” all over the place and start to worry about the things I ought to be doing with my children just to create more anxiety that I am no doubt ill equipped to handle, but I am going to be kind of present for them and work my way out of feeling overwhelmed in just tiny baby steps. “Read a book with me mommy” won’t send me fleeing tomorrow and the fear of being stuck at home and bored with my kids won’t make me run in horror. I can stand up to those feelings and not stress drink Five Hundred calories of Salted Mocha. By mentally being here for my kids at least half of the time and only employing the distractions of shopping trips in the most dire of circumstances, I can save myself from crumbling under the weight of the life I’ve created for myself. No friends or money are going to dig me out and save my day. I had these kids, these are mine to raise and looking to other people to show me how or distract me from having to do it isn’t going to get it done.
Who gave me these kids to handle and raise and turn into adults when I myself am constantly trying to escape my inevitable ascent into adulthood, and when am I going to feel like I’m there yet?