Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Just Wanna Be a Mom

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Sometimes I just want to be a mom.
Not the housecleaner.
Not the laundry doer.
Not the dishwasher loading and unloading hunk of love.
Not the cooker.
Not the grocery shopper.
Not the errand runner.
Not the body cleaner.
Not the booty wiper.
Not the paperwork filler-outer.

I want to do more with my kids instead of for my kids - more reading to them, more princess dancing, more one-on-one basketball, more video-game playing, more coloring, more sitting and watching a DVD (instead of using that to occupy them so I can make dinner, clean house, etc), more chasing, more cruddy craft-doing, more baking . . . with them.

Yesterday I lost it. Had an MBD (mental breakdown day). Was really feeling like I needed a break so I asked my husband to give me a few hours off. I laid down to nap. In a one-hour time span the kids busted into my room at least three times. Not much of a nap. I came out of my room to find my husband playing video games with my son. Meanwhile, dishes were piled up in the sink. Shiloh made them lunch, but did not unload and re-load the dishwasher. Jordis (who is potty training) had gone behind her bed and peed. Shiloh had not cleaned that up yet because he was having his special time with Elijah.


The problem is that there will always be pee soaking into the carpet. Or cat throw up resting on the hardwood floors waiting to be stepped in. Or dishes waiting to be put away or cleaned. Or laundry piles everywhere. Shiloh did not understand where I was coming from and I thought he was being very unhelpful and rude.

But as I processed it more I told him that I was jealous of him. He can let things go. He said he just compartmentalizes things - cleaning time and kid time. I try to do this and most often fail at it. I even have a chore chart (that Shiloh created) that I show in my book. Which days to do which chores. Once things are done - you're done for that day. Chill out. Relax. Play with kids. Blog. Whatever. It worked pretty well . . . until the third child came.

Since having the third kid I have less and less of a handle on all of this. Anyone else feel like going from two to three kids somehow multiplies the housework and "to do" list by ten? I'm not even talking about the deep cleaning but just basics - cooking, cleaning up after meals, laundry, and somewhat having things picked up. Seems unchorechartable. Just trying to manage. I'm not even a Type-A person or neat freak!

And after the kids go to bed . . . kinda too tired to do that stuff. Easier to tweet, blog, read, watch a show with Shiloh or something that involves little physical effort or brain power. No offense to you blog readers who thought I was giving you all my brain power.

Sometimes I just want to be a mom.
And that is what I am.

Yes, I am a need-meeter and I have a lot of things I have to "do" to keep the household afloat and to keep us from being featured on Hoarders or Nanny 911 or Intervention.

But the truth is that basic need-meeting is all part of being a mom. Taking care of all the peripheral stuff so my kids are well fed, have clean dishes to eat off of, are well-dressed (kidding, obviously), and don't smell like pee and poop is all part of being a mom. And it is all part of creating a loving environment. Part of making my kids (and husband until I go off on him) safe and secure.

And as much as I have MBDs about this stuff and struggle with balancing it all . . . I am so thankful to be the mom. To be there for all the monotonous stuff. To be such a huge part of their every day. I would rather being mommin' it than any other job . . . well most of the time. Some days being a toll-booth worker sounds pretty enticing.

I am so thankful to have three healthy children. Way more "work" but also way more fun, laughter, cuddles, and adventures.

And for disclosure purposes I should give you too much information and let you know that this desire to abandon the motherhood, flip out on my loving and helpful husband, and have thoughts of joining the army happens during a certain time of the month . . . when my husband figured out the timing of my MBD yesterdat he pretty much just laughed his head off. Of Course! I swear there is no correlation and I am acting completely rational and normal.

*If you read this entire post I feel like I owe you $150 because that was a good therapy session for me.

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Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll take your $150.00 in this format... next time you are in the Phoenix area, I will take you to a yummy dinner and we will meet for reals. Amen. :) Hang in there! Mine are 10 and 7 and I actually got a 2 hour uninterrupted nap yesterday. Not braggin. Givin' hope sista!

TDM Wendy said...

And today I went shopping with my mom and Lydia (the 4 1/2 year old). It was a great break simply because we were out of the house! And my husband let me sleep in, too. Feeling better today.

That One Mom said...

I'm with you. I have had a hard time lately enjoying motherhood. I really thing that we set such high expectations for ourselves and end up starting our days with our plates too full. Glad you got your therapy in and I'm totally okay with only getting a portion of your brain power.

Bill and Jenn said...

Wendy, read the whole thing (you can mail me my check) and can totally relate. I have often pondered the fact that a woman's ability to multi-task is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I wish could just tune-out all the "noise" and live in the moment with the kids. Men seem to be more skilled in that. ;)

No words of encouragement or advice for you because I'm right there with ya sister. But rest assured you're not alone!!

P.s.- have you read Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts"? HIGHLY RECOMMEND. All is Grace, my friend.

TDM Wendy said...

That One Mom,
Full plates. Yes. Dishes along can cause a breakdown for me.
Check in mail.
Reading "One Thousand Gifts" right now. About 1/3 way through. Definitely good stuff in there. And yet at the same time I am thinking "How does she stand over her sink and stare at the reflection in a bubble for what seems like hours. And then makes up foofy words for everything? Her kids must be younger or maybe they nap or something?" But overall I am liking it although sometimes due to my lack of brain power I have trouble sifting through all her flowery wording. I know that is called poetry, but since having kids . . . I'm just not playing with a full deck anymore :)

Nolie said...

Pay up ;) We all go through it. Even I do and I just have the 1 kid, Tobei and the animals. You know and we know that it is a tough job and we are allowed our breakdowns.

Erika said...

are we the same person b/c i had that day yesterday, too! of course, i only have 2 to take care somehow it seems more pathetic coming from me. haha. thanks for keeping it real!


Grant & Jill said...

Thanks, Wend. Love this post. You're rocking the mom job, my friend. And good for you for processing with your hubby. super important and hard to do amid the chaos! xoxo

Barbie said...

Have I mentioned that I love your blog? I do. For making me feel normal. And of course for entertaining me. Seriously, as I was reading this I was playing this scene in my mind only it was my children and my husband and my ranting. :) We've all been there! All those old folks with grown kids say that we'll miss this one day. I know we will, but sometimes in the midst of the mess it's hard to believe.

Steph @ MomKaboodle said...

Ever notice how there's a direct correlation to the amount of sleep (or depressing lack thereof) and the magnitude of the Mommy-Meltdowns? This said as I'm sitting here at 12:40 in the a.m. Oh yeah, I'm setting us up for a REAL good day tomorrow!

Hang in there...and the potty-training thing doesn't last forever (love how she's holding her full diaper though - precious!). 'Course I'm dreading potty-training my second. Ugh.

I'll take that $150 now, please and thank you. :)

RefreshMom said...

My husband does that mental calculation every time I have a MBD. If it's not that, then it is probably the lack of sleep thing (although that's so consistent it hardly counts as a factor any more).

My kids are just a bit older than yours; my little one will start K in the fall. For now I probably err a bit on being with them and taking shortcuts on that other list. I tell myself that next year when they're both in school I'll switch it around. We'll see how it actually works out!

Looking forward to seeing you at MOPS this week. (I know from experience those MBD's often come in conjunction with a speaking opportunity. I hope the holiday tomorrow will be both fun and restful for you.)


Karisa said...

I really needed to read that and laugh. I am in the same boat. No mother is alone!!! The problem is that no one can let the others know we have MBDs we have to front that everything is fine and great!!!

One Crazy Mom said...

I can soooo relate. When Luke is on duty he is great about dishes and general clean up. But homework doesn't get done, kids don't get ready for sports practice on time, and a whole bunch of other stuff that has to keep rolling to maintain the chaos. And you pegged the nail on the head for me. It's jealousy. He has so much more "play" time with the kids than I do. Which I love. I love that he enjoys playing with the kids. But I'm also jealous. I feel like if I were to take that time I will just have to pay later while playing catch up.

Okay, I'm ready to go back to Costa Rica now. Did I mention the slow pace of life I fell in love with there?

One Crazy Mom said...

Oh and yes. The 3rd child completely pushed me over the edge, and housework multiplied exponentially. But he's worth it.

Heather said...

Wendy, I only have one and I so know how you feel. You gave me a copy of your book at Mariners Church MOPS this past fall. I have a blog too and posted a link to yours today.

You're great. Thanks so much for "keepin it real" :)

Charla Liedahl said...

I think we're on the same cycle, Wendy, because my Saturday practically paralleled yours. Thank God that his mercies are new every morning!

Shannon said...

I blame the 3rd kid, too! With two, you teeter on the edge, but with three, you just FALL (or get shoved???) RIGHT OFF! Man. I'm ALWAYS a step behind! (Mine are 5, 3.5, and 21 months.)

And I, too, have gone off on my (amazingly hard-working and engaged) husband after trying to "take a break" ... breaks seem like such a JOKE. Unless my break can occur in across state lines, the children ALWAYS find me. :( It seems like HE always gets both the fun playtimes AND the naps ... what the heck?! How does that work? Sighghgh.

(Ironically, we are supposed to be putting the kids to bed right now, but where is hubby? ASLEEP ON THE COUCH! Haaa. In his defense, he has a LOT going on and is exhausted ... but STILL!) ;)

I hate the moment of realization when my hubby figures out that my MBD is related to the time of the month ... sigh. On the one hand, I like having SOME sort of explanation for my INSANE behavior ... but still, it's humiliating sometimes. Being a girl is HARD!

:) Love your honesty and your stories! Have a GREAT week! (And eat some CHOCOLATE! Haa.)

Kelly K. said...

Why is it husbands can just "let things go"...I am so not good at that. I wish I could trade brains with him for one day just to see what it's like to never let things bother you and to never hold a grudge when something or someone really gets to you.

Motherhood truly is the best and yet hardest thing in the world. And as much as I can take MBD's out on my husband...I have to say, he keeps me sane. Single hats are off to you...I don't know how they do it. They deserve a medal!

TDM Wendy said...

Oh yes the calculations and the sleep. AND the speaking stuff this week.
See you tomorrow!
Let's get away together and leave the kids with Luke and Shiloh. Can't wait to see you on thursday night!
So glad you enjoyed the book and it helped get you through those sleepless nights! Thanks for your blog shout-out!
That's funny.
Kelly K,
Can you imagine what would happen if we traded brains with our husbands...

kmcory said...

I owe you $150. I needed that. With only 2 kids, I feel that way all the time. And...I honestly have to say that it intensifies during certain times of the month.

Rachel said...

OMG! That was so good I burned my dinner. thx for MY therapy session :).

Anonymous said...

as a mom on the other side, i can say you are totally normal. i too am a mother of 3, 3 adult kids now. i don't think i slept for 6 years and my husband wonders why i said "no thank you" to the 4th child. i also homeschooled for 15 years. sure i had many mbd days, but i wouldn't trade those years for anything. being a mom was the best job i ever had and i will admit i miss it at times now. thankfully the grandkids come and bring back some of the joys we had as moms, without the many responsibilities and sleepless nights. now i don't sleep for other reasons, like hormones! you're doing a great job and you will never regret any minute you invest in your children's lives :) and yes, the times i left the kids alone with daddy only meant more work for me as i came back, but those are precious memories with their dad that cannot be replaced.

mel @ the larson lingo said...

You can drop off my check next time you see me :)
And, I totally agree about the MBD's around that time of the month. Never realized that until I read this. So THAT explains why I was irrational & short with my girls last week. Love you Wendy & I think you are a great mom. For reals.

TDM Wendy said...

So I guess we all agree that hormones are make believe and they don't affect anyone.
Rachel, Sorry about your dinner.
Anon, Any time spent with dad is precious, like you said. And my husband is awesome at it. And he can even keep up with housework when I'm gone. he should teach classes. to me.

Anonymous said...

You don't know how much I needed to hear this Wendy. With my son with special needs, my 6 month old, and household duties, it is tough. But just reading your blog helped me realize just how important the job we do really is!Your children won't remember the cleaning and chores, but they sure will remember your time and love you give to them.

Jamie said...

I am right there with you. Cory was asking me to "come play and be silly" and I said that I'd be happy to do so if the dishes were done.

The ability to "turn off the stuff that needs to get done" is something I will be completely jealous of and would love to borrow some of the skill!

Jen @ The Gifted Giver said...

Don't worry! It all lasts a very short time! My kids are 10 and 13. We are still very busy! I still have my MBDs but I totally feel more balanced ( mainly because my kids do chores- chores are a GREAT thing!) believe it or not, you will miss the chaos, but know there is a rainbow ahead:)

Heather :: AFD Jewelry :: said...

Great post, Wendy. I feel the same exact way, and even though I only have two kids I feel like going from one to two multiplied all the work tenfold. Oh well. I know it won't last forever, and this is just one of many seasons of life.

And you can PayPal that $150 to me, K?

Angie said...

YES! Someone out there gets me. You. Get. Me.

Except that I don't mind loading the dishwasher. But unloading it? Dreadful.

I can relate to everything you said (except, you know, the dishwasher thing) - dads seem to swoop in and be the heros and save the day and make it look so easy. Where's the stress? Where's the frustration? Does their time expand and do they grow a few extra arms? What is the SECRET?!

And I'm not trying to one-up you, but having a fourth kid (who is 6 months old now) just means more poop, less sleep, more laundry, less time, more noise, less sleep (oh did I say that?), more work, and less energy.

It would be a fun experiment to toss out all responsibility for the day and just ENJOY our kids. No dishes, no laundry, no cleaning, no errands... just BEING. We can always catch up tomorrow, right?

Sorry for the novel. I just found your blog tonight (via Mel) and this hit a nerve with me. Love your writing!

Knit and Purl Mama said...

As a mom of 3 I am on the same wave length as you. The dishes and laundry and chores never ever ever end. It wasnt so bad with 2 kids but with 3 it's insane. When people ask me how it is going from 2 to 3 kids I give the truth. That while I love all my sons equally, I don't regret but I dont recommend it. Lol. Glad to know I am not the only person out there who is in this boat.