I have long believed that the problem with motherhood is that you can’t check out for a bit, go on vacation, take a motherfucking “mental health” leave, “recharge” over the weekends. Look forward to Friday.
Or, you know, two weeks in Mexico. (Do people actually do that?)
There is no built-in relief valve and very little potential for “a relaxing evening.” And yet, sometimes you really aren’t into it, and you have to keep going. For like, years.
You can’t “leave it at the office” at the end of the day. There is no end of the day. THERE IS NO END OF THE DAY.
It feels relentless sometimes. It feels unforgiving. It feels forever.
(Hey there HI, look, quick note: I know it’s not actually forever, so we can just go ahead and not write the “Someday you’ll be very sad they’re gone, Janelle” comment because thanks I know and yes it hurts my soul and I’m super fucking tired anyway.)
But I realized something recently, from my friend, Lynn. I told her I couldn’t write or get anything done beyond the most critical components of each day. Like I just couldn’t fucking do it. No motivation. I just want to lie around in my bed and eat simple carbs and drink tea, for health, but also flavor. Mostly flavor.
I told her I couldn’t muster the willingness to do more and didn’t know what was wrong with me. I told her I want to watch movies all day.
She told me, “That’s cool. You should do that.” And I was like “What?” And she was like, “Just fucking DO THAT. Why do you think you shouldn’t? You’ll get done what you have to. We always do.”
I couldn’t answer. I guess because I feel like I “should” be doing this and that and the other damn thing, and disengaging, doing things that are frivolous and “not helpful to others” is somehow wrong or ungrateful or a waste of time but mostly what I felt was shame.
Shame? Really? We’re there, Janelle? We’re at “shame?”
You know what?
Where the hell did it come from anyway?
When did I start believing that “me time” is some scheduled-in healthy activity to recharge my soul and feel capable and mature again? Did I ever feel capable and mature? When was that, exactly?
Like a bath or spa trip or pedicure or “night out with friends” is enough to soften the fact that I was awakened at 5am and puked on by 5:30am, while lying in a bed with sheets I had put on the night before.
Sometimes, I’m just over this shit, and what I need to do to “nourish myself” is perform the absolute bare minimum, possibly for days at a time, until something changes.
Yes, that is my deep conclusion. You’re welcome.
I lose motivation and I think something is wrong with me. I think “You should be progressing, Janelle, moving forward on projects at work and at home, feeling inspired and healthy and shit!” I lose the ability to be all the things all the time and suddenly I’m deeply flawed and need help?
Fuck that. I’m human. I’m being human. I’m tired.
Then I feel guilty for feeling guilty about my limitations because clearly I have internalized gendered work expectations and I should be okay with who and what I am without thinking I need to be “fixed” and improved somehow by “positive self talk” and yoga, so I’m ashamed about dropping into bare minimum and I’m ashamed for feeling ashamed for dropping into bare minimum?
WHAT THE FUCK HAVE WE DONE TO WOMEN?
Or maybe I’m just crazy. Whatever.
I’m going with Lynn’s theory.
This weekend, I did approximately 12 minutes of housework and stayed in my pajamas 85% of each day. Big activities were: Trip to store (alone) and trip to movies (with kids). That’s it. Full stop. Have a nice day.
Today, after dropping my toddler off at day care, and driving to my office, I turned around and drove the 15 minutes back home. Even though I had a hundred things to do, emails to send, people to contact, words to write, I felt a heaviness in my eyes and across my face and remembered that I had changed the sheets again, on account of the vomit, so my bed had crisp white sheets on it, and the house would be silent and empty, and I could let the cats in and we could get in that bed, and sleep.
So I went home, and silenced my phone, and took my jeans off and went to sleep, with my hair still wet from my shower, and when I woke up after an hour, I realized I wasn’t done yet, so I went back to bed, and I slept for 2.5 hours straight.
Then I got up and wrote to you.
Because you know, here’s the thing:
We already do, at the bare minimum, a ridiculous amount of work. We get up at ungodly hours and get puked on and deal with kids with nightmares and kids in wet pajamas and breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Getting dressed, getting to school and work, getting home, groceries, activities (they pop up even when you avoid the bastards). We’re driving carpools and packing diaper bags and getting dressed for work. We’re feeding and cooking and “leaning in” and washing and texting and planning and getting degrees and getting sick and well again and helping other humans do all these things. It’s a beautiful shit show.
And somehow, on top of all that, we think we need to be fit, happy, and organic. We think we need to be sleeping well and using soft voices and engaging in age-appropriate play and we need the weeds pulled and the dust bunnies gone and the garage organized. The entryway cutely designed.
I don’t even believe these things. And yet somewhere, deep in my gut, there’s a voice telling me, “No Janelle. You can’t sleep for 3.5 hours when you’re supposed to be working, even though you’re nearly out of your mind with exhaustion.”
And I look at my garage and think “Does anyone else live this way? Seriously?” And I wonder if there’s something wrong with me, secretly.
And when my kids are being assholes, I think, “I probably made them this way with my yelling.” And I feel ashamed, and afraid.
And sometimes I realize it’s 5pm and I picked up my baby at 4pm and I’m already tired of taking care of him. I ask myself “Janelle! What are you doing? He’s already almost two! He will be gone soon! How are you not enjoying every moment? How are you not savoring this time?!” And my heart drops again into a flash of deep shame.
You know what?
This is what I’ve got. This is it. It’s either enough or it’s not.
Sometimes it’s full of power and creation. Other times it’s asleep during working hours with a pillow over its head. But it’s always here, and it’s always ready to grab a tiny hand, examine the fat little knuckles and wonder how anything so beautiful could possibly exist, and why, why the fuck are we up at 5am?
I guess what I’m saying is we’re enough.
But you don’t need me to tell you that.
We can look around, and see for ourselves…
Though sometimes it’s nice to hear.
Hey. Fuck housework and write with me.
We’ll have fun.
SusanMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:04
Did I ever mention that I love you? I dream of 3.5 hour naps. I managed to pass out on the couch for about 45 minutes before shit hit the fan. Yay.
Donna JoMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 16:37
I ♡ YOU. THANK YOU
KatMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:08
Thank you for this. I needed it today. I am so tired and more often these days I feel sad and hopeless and guilty rather than enjoying my almost 4-year-old and my six-month-old.
AnnaWednesday, 13 April, 2016 at 15:29
Quick unsolicited thought: PPD is a real thing. If you think you might have it, getting help is… really helpful. It made a big difference for me.
ChariseMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:10
Thanks so much for this one. I really needed to hear it today as I am at work and my hubby and I are temporarily sharing a car and he and my son forgot to pick me up. I had to call to ask where they were. They were playing. I would rather be playing too!
Rose GilbertMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:13
THIS is what a great writer is; giving voice and order to the thoughts in my head that I don’t know how to express. Thank You. Again!
KeelyMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:14
THANK YOU! I needed to read this.
Tabitha orrMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:19
i needed this. Right now. I have six kids and joint custody and I’m an honors student finishing my undergrad and writing a thesis that may be published and I still do my ex husbands grocery shopping because if I don’t the kids call me and their hungry and I still drive them to dance and three separate jobs and the park and sometimes even when it’s not my week I go over to read them bedtime stories and I make straight fucking As and occasionally I still socialize and yet I still feel shame. Every time I do nothing or visit too long I feel like I’m fucking it all up and then you write that you feel that way too and I at least know I’m not alone. I want to write you every single time you post but I don’t because I feel like one in a babble of fan girls, but literally you are my lifeline sometimes and often we are in such the same flow that I could have written your post as they come to me and it’s spooky or like a prayer and I feel blessed and rescued and not alone.
Denise BMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:52
Tabitha Orr, you should write too, that read beautifully. It was like Beat prose, I wanted more.
Tabitha orrTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 7:49
Thank you very much.
Linda SchadeFriday, 1 April, 2016 at 9:12
Tabitha Orr: I wish that my magic wand that makes stress pressure and ex-husbands that fall short disappear were not in the Wand Repair shop. I would lend it to you, right after I fixed my life (though I have no kind of husband,ex or otherwise). I am just a 67 year old grandmother raising a 15 year old amazing irritating awesome irritating granddaughter and a therapist in a drug treatment presumably for adults but are actually teenagers with grey hair. In the meantime, Tabitha, I’ll just send you my warmest wishes for you to stay real and cuss more to address the real stuff and part of my heart that you stole with your story and the some more parts of it to Janelle who has such wisdom that i waited almost 67 years to get (and I’m still working on it) and the rest of my heart I’ll hang onto cause that’s how I get through my days. And sometimes I don’t cuss and I just whisper “thank you for waking me up this morning” because the alternative is just too awful to contemplate. After all, I want to see this irritating 15 year old make it out of adolescence in one glorious piece. So here’s your hug. Feel free to pass it on, cuss whenever, and laugh as often as you can. Oh yes, and chocolate. chocolate helps almost everything.
MariaMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:44
I just this minute got off the phone to my husband…he is away in Germany for work while I am home in Sydney with our 3 kids… So I’m feeling a bit miserable, shitty, fucking fed up. My rant to him was pretty much what you covered in your post – thank you! Fuck this fucking supermum shit, I’m clocking the fuck off my shift & fuck the shame.
I think I love you. Thank you for clearing my head. Enjoy your day.
Rachel RomanoMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:46
Loved this. Thank you.
TeriMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:50
this. should. be. our. mantra. “I am enough!”
KathleenMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 15:58
Janelle: You are fabulous. Your writing is a gift every week. I feel this shame, too. My kids are old enough to care for themselves, but I feel guilty for coming home from work and wanting to read or watch Netflix. I feel like I owe more time to the work gods before I deserve my pleasures. I tote up my completed tasks to determine if I’ve earned a rest. And I think, damn, I did 18 years of two shifts, one paid, the other not. Why can’t I just chill? Thanks for publishing the shameful lurking thoughts in my head. You are a rock star.
Gee JenFriday, 18 March, 2016 at 3:07
Yes thank you Janelle and thank you Kathleen for also expressing my thoughts!
RevancheMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 16:15
This *tired and this totally not into it* feeling was 100% me today. I’ve been lucky that with just one human kid, it doesn’t come super often yet but I did not even know where to start to feel better. Even after my husband adamantly says: DO NOT worry about cleaning up or dinner, where do you think my brain is at 4 pm when I’m worn completely out from minding the child all day? Tsk. Stopping now. Thank you for writing this!
TracyMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 16:22
This is perfect Janelle. I was feeling so shitty from using a can of cream of mushroom soup in my grass fed beef stir fry with organic broccoli. I needed this to lighten the fuck up. Thank you! I love crisp white sheets. That nap was a good decision.
ChenayMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 16:22
Perfect timing, as always. I was just talking to my husband about him taking our 22 month old to his parents’ for a weekend, but then I felt guilty about her being away from me for two nights whiles she’s still nursing, and nursing at night. And then I found this wonderfulness the other day: http://wendywisner.com/…/03/to-the-mom-of-a-nursing-toddler/
KeliTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 11:52
Thank YOU for sharing that link!! Together with Janelle’s post it has pretty much saved me from the last two fuck-awful days I’ve spent hating myself.
Its ok… Such simple words, so sorely needed
SarahMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 16:33
Wow. You got it 100%. I’ve been working overtime the past month (and not an hour or two, more like 6-10 hours of ot a week!!!) On top of taking care of my 4 kids! I’m exhausted, the laundry isn’t folded – but at least I got it washed, right?- the house is a mess of toddler toys, the floors need to be washed, I don’t feel like cooking dinner, and please will everyone just get out of my space?!!! And then I feel bad, we play that game or 8 of go fish with the 7yr old, and I watch way too many episodes of Dino trucks with my 2 year old. Lucky me, the 14yr old would rather stay in his room….well, until he decides to come down and harass his brothers. If I get out shopping alone, I find myself wandering aimlessly through the store, because I’m just not ready to get back yet. Ugh, I need that “me time” without the guilt and shame 🙁
LisaMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 16:34
Preach it! And loud! What if we knew we were worthy of rest and peace and a goddamn moment of silence? And got out of the Mommy wars and didn’t subscribe to the shameful SHOULDS. Breathe in. Breathe out.
HeartMommyMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 16:38
Oh Yes! I DO love you!
Here is the thing- I am a divorced/single parent. So, I actually ‘get’ time away from my child. BUT, then there is the business to run, and after 10 years of divorce, my ex-husband, STILL sends me the “You are not parenting properly” or “You are not being a very good mother, because…____________(fill in with anything).” And, then there are those that say, “You GET adult week! How Lucky are you!” and “Oh, you are just a part-time Mom.” Really!!!
So, I say ENOUGH and ENOUGH.
I feel like a glass of wine, with my son sitting near by, and that is enough.
Thank you for this great piece!
JenniferMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:04
Thanks Janelle, I know so many people who need to read this (including myself, about 10 more times). And whenever someone would say “oh, they are so cute at that age!” I’d answer “do you want him?” and no one ever took me up on it, so I think they know they are full of shit saying that.
KaraMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:06
Love you, Janelle. Thank you!
DarbyMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:20
You hit it out of the park! Shame effects most of the women I know…I turned 60 last week and have made the decision to let go of this nonsense. How old do I have to be before it is ok to just do nothing? I figured no one was going to remember me for having a clean house… I plan on going out of this world strong, having fun and with a dirty house! Keep up the writing Janelle and thank-you.
Jen greysonMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:21
You don’t even know. This was awesome. And amazing. And yes. All the yes.
HannahMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:22
Shame, guilt, repeat. Shame, guilt, repeat. If I pay attention to the kids, I am failing as a business woman. If I pay attention to my work, I am failing as a mother. If I use my cell phone at the table because it is the only damn second that my children are quiet enough with their mouths full for me to think enough to write a sentence then I am just an asshole. Why cannot we be all the things all at once? Why do I so badly want to be wonderful at it all? Where did that desire kindle? xoxoxox. Do less I guess. Want less. Sleep more. Maybe?
NatalieMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:39
Um, I’ve designated Mondays as my day ‘off,’ a while ago, because I got tired of feeling useless on top of feeling so mentallyemotionallyandphysically exhausted that I can’t even figure out what the fuck I’m supposed to be doing. No guilt Mondays. I checked Facebook all that my simultaneously expanded and open and easily devastated heart desired. Drank another espresso at 11 after a couple hours of watching child no two watch TV, play w pay doh, and magnetic blocks (it makes me feel like the kind of mom who encouraged creatvity when I let the dried masses of play doh get dry and crusty wherever he leaves them) and watched more video clips of whatever awful and inflammatory things Donald Trump has been saying and then immediately lying about having said. I fed my extremely picky three year old a mashed avocado and tortilla chips for lunch, ate microwave Mac and cheese, turned on paw patrol again, and slept a blissful couch sleep with his sweet soft little head snuggled up against mine, my arms wrapped around him. If I’m lucky the one load of laundry I washed will make into the dryer. We’ll eat leftovers for dinner and do the horrifyinly sweet and jerky dance of getting them to bed to stay up too late and start again tomorrow. Thank you. XO
Kim LohnesMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:45
Hell yes, why you said!
JulieMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:48
Are you in my brain???? LOL, I love love love what you just wrote. My kids are a little older than yours but I had a SNAP moment a few weeks ago and I just got up, got my keys and left. Didn’t say a word, didn’t tell them where I was going and I just drove to the beach and sat there. I looked at the moon and thought about how I used to skip school and go surfing when I was young and just took a breath. Didn’t feel any guilt because I thought “Oh they should be here to share it with me”..I was like fuck those little bastards this is all mine!! And then I was ok and I went back home and all was right with the world…well sort of….lol
Love your writing!!!
Sam PereiraMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:51
You’re right, sometimes it’s nice to hear it. Really nice. Thank you…
carrieMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:52
How do you always manage to post things I need to read right now? I just got done working 9 days in a row and was looking forward to dropping my kiddo off at preschool this morning then coming home to read/sleep/ binge watch old sci fi. Then I got roped into a class field trip and I felt guilty for not wanting to and was feeling shitty about needing unplanned time to just be. I’m a much more reasonable and pleasant person to be around when I’ve had a little time to recharge my own batteries.
ChelseaMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:55
You’re a mind reader, because this is exactly how I feel. Last week I rented a movie mid-day while I was supposed to be working, and doing laundry and probably dishes, too. And I felt a twinge of guilt, followed by the “fuck guilt” feeling because I want 2 hours to do something I actually want to do without being interrupted by the tiny humans (who go to daycare during the day while I work from home). Rock on, mama!!
hannahMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 17:56
THANK. YOU. SO. MUCH.
Just put my 4-year-old into bed with both of us still mad after he threw a 40 minute tantrum from being overtired (thus delaying the bedtime he so desperately needed). Currently feeling guilty about sending him to bed without adequate hugs and both of us angry, and about handing off my 2-year-old to my husband for his bedtime, even though he wanted to cuddle and play with me more. Sometimes I am just DONE. And while it’s one thing to know intellectually that there are other women out there feeling DONE with their kids, it’s another thing entirely to hear/read another mom speak it aloud so honestly and brilliantly. So yes. You are enough. I am enough. We are all enough, so let’s go have some M&Ms that we’re saving for “Yay you pooped in the potty treats!” or a glass of wine or the forgotten girl scout cookies in the back of the cabinet or WHATEVER and celebrate.
MKMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 18:11
sometimes my tired is tired, good call on the nap.
Lisa LandonMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 18:14
I have always said becoming a mother was a one-way ticket to guilt-trip hell.
I especially feel you with “And when my kids are being assholes, I think, “I probably made them this way with my yelling.” And I feel ashamed, and afraid.”
I’m lucky enough to work from home, where procrastination often rules me. I can find 100 things to do at the same time, and 85 of them have nothing to do with bookkeeping. Or writing, which I have never done for public reading before now, aside from a safe 140 characters now and then.
So my favourite guilty pleasure is a long bubble bath in the middle of the day. Sorry I’m away from my office right now … Ya, while the daughters are at school and the husband is at work busting his tail off. I’m reading in the steamy bubbles.
Now that’s shame.
MollyMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 18:17
Amazing again. You always hit me in the right spot… Thank goodness for you and your writing and your gorgeous family. XOXO
MargMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 18:28
Sitting here, feeding my 2 month old whilst the 4 year old is at kindy, with tears streaming down my face. Thank you for this post. I am enough. Please keep putting my thoughts into words.
Emily MacGregorMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 19:05
You had me at “does anyone else live this way” thank you!!!
KatMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 19:20
God, I feel this. It’s too funny, I was JUST reflecting that it’s long ass days, having young kids. I kinda can’t wait til this fall when they’re all in care and I can have more than twenty minutes to myself in a row.
DanaMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 19:26
Three words: I needed this. Two words: Thank you. OK, fine, more words – I know this, deep down, but only recently have I been able to own this. The other week I found myself snappish and pissy, miserable and annoyed, and instead of feeling like an asshole and going down the blame/shame rabbit hole, I was like, whoa – I haven’t slept in like a week due to xyz because of kids, sickness, etc. So that is why I”m losing my mind. What I need is to lower the bar and go to sleep. So I did. Glad you did too, and that you woke up and wrote this.
BethMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 19:49
Thank you so much. I needed this today. I’m seriously sitting here with tears in my eyes because I feel so burned out with this parenting thing. Thank you for the validation that I’m not alone in feeling this way sometimes. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read a book and ignore the dishes.
JessamynMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 19:59
I struggle with so many of those issues as well-it really is like you are in my head. This morning after kids and husband went on their way I just could not summon the energy or motivation to do anything productive, so I went back to bed for 2 hours and then took myself out shopping. Tomorrow I might take myself to a movie. Even though I believe in self care days (especially for mothers-easier said then done I know) I still feel guilty doing it…what is that?
Really love your writing Janelle. Thank you.
MarianelaMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 20:39
Fuck Shame!!! THanx for this…you’re awesome. And yes, my garage probably looks just like yours or worse! LOve
Karyn HerathMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 20:57
Yes. Sometimes the world can wait.
You are enough xx
JulianneMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 21:43
thank you so much for this. I’ve been asking myself all week, as I fight with the kids over screen time, as I feel guilty for wanting to get the kids in bed already because I just fucking want to watch house of cards even though I’ve only seen them for an hour and a half all day, as I wonder when I’m ever going to allow myself to start a knitting project or a book again, as I feel like I should be making more plans with my friends on the weekends, but also the kid’s friends and I want down time too it’s all so overwhelming and I just wonder why we are ALWAYS telling ourselves we should be doing something other than what we want to be doing?! And then we do it to our kids because we’ve got to prepare them, right? For this awesome life of productivity…
KerryTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 7:45
I love your post. And I love how honest everyone is being in their comments. It’s moments like this that I feel so connected to other moms. No one faking it on facebook, just honest conversation with other human beings. I crave this so so so much. And I suffer from the same thing – always thinking we should be doing something else. It’s so overwhelming and it makes me angry and withdrawn. I’m going to do my best to remember this post and these conversations so that I can be reminded that there are real people out there, willing to say real things to one another. And then when I forget that it’s pajama day at my son’s daycare, or I don’t have the money to buy cupcakes for the Halloween party, I can remember what’s real and what’s not.
KataMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 21:49
Thank You dear Janelle – and all great mothers and parents in the world.
You are a light for many – and I admire you that you despite / and upon all this …. write, and write here every week and that *it matters*.
It truly does.
Beyond the chores and duties and chores … ‘It’ is (t)here.
When I read your post and sharing this with so many (through the comments) – it is so much easier to ‘be (t)here’.
It is sometimes / manytimes hard to find inspiration, again and again, to pick oneself up, keep going; the “enough”.
In the light of something like this (your posts, the exchanges) all becomes meaningful and worthwhile. In such a moment, I feel: “It is enough”.
Love and Blessings.
Tamara RettinoMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 21:53
Thank you. I needed this so much right now.
Cassie ZupkeMonday, 14 March, 2016 at 23:59
For the last ten years I ran a non-profit for children/teens/young adults with autism, their families and educators. I’ve read a lot of research that says parent absolutely have to take breaks (whether their kids have special needs or not.) Too much stress for too long means too much cortisol in our bodies, which means damage. We can’t do our best parenting when we’re exhausted. We get cranky, short tempered, and aren’t a lot of fun to be around. You aren’t being lazy or selfish when you take a break; you’re ensuring that you’re going to be up to par when your kids need you. A house that is occasionally dirty or cheerios for dinner every once in a while should be a something to be proud of if it means we sacrificed our pride in being perfect for making sure we were more patient and loving for our kids later. Hang in there, Mommas and Daddies — it does get easier and you will get your life back someday.
Cassie ZupkeTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 0:01
PS — great article!
MaxineTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 0:32
yes….. except I call mine *guilt*
I work full time… and went back to work when baba was 3months old. You can just imagine the guilt that I felt! Hubby works nights – so he has been daddy day care until she could start kindergarden at 5months. More guilt….
And even though she goes to Kindergarden mornings only now, I continue to feel the guilt of not being *that* mom – so instead, I would do all the night feeds, work from home one day a week to focus on her, take her out of our room at 4/5am when she wanted to play so that he could sleep more and in the evenings…. I would do the grocery shopping, laundry and cook a meal (so he had something hot to eat the next day)…
And suddenly, I was exhausted… not a single minute to myself from 4/5am until 10pm… and then I was too tired to watch a movie, read a book or even take a bath (for fear of falling asleep and drowning). And then the guilt for feeling guilty because I wanted to do all of those things instead of taking care of baba, husband or the house chores.
After reading this… I am adopting your mantra *we’re enough*
(and I have just booked a day off – when baba will still attend kindergarden in the morning and I can FINALLY go to the hairdresser with my book!)
HuldaTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 1:04
Thanks a lot for posting this. I feel this way to, only in Copenhagen.
Sometimes I have taken half a day off work and slept on the sofa with the cats for 2-3 hours….but feeling so guilty I don’t even tell my hubby! Tell him I was cleaning or something….
Another thing is nighttime when the kids are asleep. Most nights I´m with my husband, watching tv or talking/having fun ;)….but some nights I just want to be alone. Without him talking to me. Without him hugging me or kissing me. Just alone, doing my things. Reading or lying and thinking about humanity…whatever, just without any disturbance.
He never seems to feel like this and I think he secretly takes it personally, when I would rather sit in silence than enjoy the few hours a day we have together. I also feel guilty about that.
I read the other day that women don´t allow themselves to relax, do things for themselves…have needs. So all we do is eat and shop to relax. That was a bit of a light bulb moment for me.
tamk3Tuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 1:31
Puhleeeze. It attacked me at 630p on Thursday that if I didn’t take some me time I was going to snap somebody’s head off in the office or send an email I had no business sending. So I took Friday off and didn’t tell my kids. They didn’t need to know. Because even though they’re 18, 16 and 14, they would’ve found a way to either stay home from school with me or I would’ve ended up at a school. I love my kids, I do. But sometimes. And so after I did bus stop runs Friday morning, I stopped for breakfast and went home. I thought I was going to sleep the day away but my body just needed not to be doing everything for everybody. And it felt awesome!!!! With all the sports that 3 kids can be in, when I get off at 430, somehow I’m still driving at 830 and I STILL have to get dinner done and help with homework. So you’re not alone. And don’t feel bad or shamed. For what? To take time for yourself that doesn’t involve the word Mom or employee??? As I said, my oldest is 18 and it’s taken years for me to understand that they’re not going to keel over if every waking minute of my time is not devoted to them. So good for you. When’s the next me day??? ????
kateTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 4:16
i recently started separation from the hubs, and have had weekends alone while the kids are gone. while there is nothing to recommend in ending a 15 year marriage, there is this. i will now fight tooth and claw to have that weekend alone remain intact. tooth.claw. and what is really sad to me, is that i could have had some more of that IN the marriage, but didn’t know to ask for it. and as he is a nutjob, he didn’t think to provide it… but still. aloneness and self-care, amidst no shame? like fucking magic.
JoanneTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 4:46
I desperately needed this today. My son will be three in a couple of months and I’ve been a stay-at-home since May. Before that, I was in school full-time and my husband stayed home. I’m certified as an elementary school-teacher in Ontario, I’m qualified to teach French, and I was basically guaranteed a job with weekends and holidays. I went to my interview, they told me I nailed it, unofficially welcomed me to the school board, and said they’d be in touch in a few weeks. 7 weeks later, I get an email saying “Thank you for your interest, but we regret to inform you that we cannot offer you a position at this time.” I was heartbroken. All of my hopes for getting my shit together and maybe paying off my $50,000 of student debt were riding on that job. I’ve been peddling resumes through my hometown for the last couple days looking for a job as a waitress and I keep thinking “I’m 25 years old, have three degrees, and am working as a fucking waitress.” So much for being the one voted most likely to succeed in high school. And as if that wasn’t enough, I found out the other day that I’m pregnant with our second child. My husband and I weren’t sure we ever wanted more children, and certainly not until I had started my career and we were in a better place financially. I’m just horribly depressed right now and even thinking about leaving my son in the evenings to work when he’s so used to having me home is making me feel tremendous guilt, as is being pregnant because I’m not always the best mom to him and how the hell am I going to continue to be a mediocre mother to him AND take care of a newborn? So thank you for your post. I’m bookmarking it so every time I feel like I need a break, I can read it and maybe shed some of the awful “bad mother” feelings.
StephTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 13:38
Hey – things may look bleak right now. Hell, they are bleak. But, it will get better. You are giving your toddler such a wonderful, loving life. And a second child will fit in pretty easy – you already know so much about being a parent. Having them close in age will make things easier as they grow up. And they’ll be great friends. And no shame in being a waitress although I can understand your frustration. Do whatever works for your family and YOU. Congratulations!
JoanneWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 8:45
Thank you so much. I realized after I posted the comment that people might think I was looking down on waitstaff which is not the case at all. My own mother was a waitress for most of my life. It just really sucks to have gone through 7 years of postsecondary schooling, be away from home 14 hours a day while taking classes, be in a ridiculous amount of debt and then to get rejected for the job that you’re absolutely qualified for without so much as an explanation. I just worry that we’re not going to be able to properly care for two kids, especially in the financial area; and I already did the thing where I’m away from my son a good chunk of the day. I hated every second. I’m walking out the door when my husband gets home, and they’re both in bed already when I get home so it’s just hard not being able to see them.
I didn’t mean to turn that into another novel, oops.
KatTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 5:07
I needed to read that. Your writing keeps me hanging in there!
Angela CTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 5:35
Perfection. Truth. Thank you!
MBTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 5:42
I needed to read these exact words this morning. I haven’t slept for much more than a two hour stretch at a time for the past 11 months when my second child was born. The past few weeks have been unbearable and I’ve had a couple panic attacks and shed a few gallons of tears. The baby just refuses to sleep, though now I can’t blame her, every tooth in her goddamned adorable head is erupting from her gums all at once. She’s also taking crap naps during the day, so there’s no break there. My almost 4 year old has decided she needs attention 100% of the time. The dogs have not adjusted to family life very well so when someone cries the youngest dog gets nervous and decides he’s got to go pee on some random item that belongs to the kids. The older dog is senile and barks at nothing, which sends me into a rage because obviously I just laid the baby down and got that other kid settled into a solo activity but apparently all the living things need my attention at all times. I have these thoughts of being done, or unable to continue. And then the immediate guilt rains down for having such thoughts. How am I not grateful every second of every day? I don’t deserve such a beautiful, healthy family. I must be broken. But then I read this, and I don’t feel so alone and weird. Thank you.
JessicaTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 6:59
LOL, we should all go to mexico together and have a group bitching session. I <3 you.
Diana B.Tuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 7:09
You did it again, sistah!
I have the same life. I have an almost-four-year-old son who thinks everything he says must be done… Well, everything he says is done anyway. Ugh! Then there’s a newborn baby lying on the bed, puking every after her breastfeed session. There’s the tower of laundry that’s now beginning to smell like dead rats (I exaggerate, hehe). And there’s work that’s screaming a fuckin’ deadline! Why do we only have 24 hours a day?! The gods must be joking. I won’t be surprised if these gods are men who were all tripping when they made a 24-hour day. I’m not sexist. Just sayin’. Haha!
You sleep a couple hours and you wake up filled with guilt. Why did I sleep that long? God, what an evil parent am I!
Sighs. But we go on and live for one more day anyway. For one more hug. For one more kiss on the cheek. And for one more sweet “I love you.”
RachelTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 7:16
This – this so much!!!!! My general motto is “I do my best every day. Sometimes my best just sucks.”
And I would say 97% of the time I am okay with that.
branjoTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 7:22
Inspiring! I read this and immediately took a nap. Thank you.
KerryTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 7:38
Thank you, oh thank god for you. I’m practically sobbing right now. I thought I was the only one who failed to be magically recharged by an evening out, or a 1 hour “me” activity. Whenever I’ve hit that wall everyone around me says things like – go get a pedicure, spend an evening with a friend, go see a movie. I used to try but the second I walked back in my door I was just as drained as before, and now with less money in my pocket. Because that’s another problem with the pedicure or night out – they cost money. I’m already so far beyond broke that spending money going out just adds to the stress. Now that my kids are a little older (5 & 8) it’s a little less acute, but the relentless needs are still there. The 8 year old is up, without fail, by 5 am. Even on Saturday, even on Sunday. SO when my coworkers are celebrating that it’s Friday, I’m groaning because my weekends are so much harder than my work week. Anyway, thanks for being a friendly voice in the void.
JoeTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 7:42
Wow! Can’t believe I’m the only guy. After four and a half years as an at home dad I can tell you that your words are wise and appreciated. The hardest, longest, most exhausting (physically and mentally) job I have ever had. Nothing but guilt and shame about am I doing enough playing, teaching, cleaning the house, laundry (I fucking hate laundry), mow the yard, etc. From the time they get up until you put them to bed, non stop.
I’ve been working now, for a little over a year, and you will never hear me bitch about my job. Well, very rarely. I still have a few friends who are stay a homes and I have nothing but the highest respect and admiration for them. I’m going to show them this article.
LisaTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 7:55
Janelle, you write what I think–thank you again and again.
I’m a single mom of a beautiful 4-year-old daughter. I commute over an hour each way to and from work Monday – Friday, she’s in daycare till September, and when we get home, sometimes I still rush her into bed while she’s asking for a book (which I swore to myself I would read TONS of while she is little), instead of spending the “quality time” that we’re told we should be looking forward to.
Some nights I just want to watch tv for 2 hours by myself–and there’s that shame. Thanks for putting it into perspective–it’s ok for me to need that alone time, that massage, that tv show, here and there. It helps me be that “best mommy” I feel I am some days.
Great job on the nap!!
MikeDTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 8:14
I was just discussing a related topic with my wife yesterday. So where is your partner in all of this? Why are men considered completely inept at all the same things you are doing? I am not inept, I meal plan, shop for groceries, pick up after my child and myself, do dishes, etc. I kill spiders, I mow lawns, I shovel snow when necessary, I make sure the vehicles are maintained, I work outside the house, I commute but have flexibility when my wife’s job demands her presence and it conflicts with our collective schedules.
I guess my point is I am 1/2 of the equation, I am the son of a feminist and brother to 2 more. This isn’t difficult, I would estimate that my wife does more of the household management/chores as I work outside the house and she works from home.
We are blessed make a good living and have hired the cleaning done by a service which makes my wife especially happy. She has hobbies and a studio to work in for that and I shouldn’t speak for her but she is pretty happy and so am I.
She does have the shame thing that you have and I try to help her drop that sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day for either of us I get all that.
I often hear the story you relate here from my female friends, sisters and co-workers and I think that there is a component missing and that is the male equation. Then I wonder how men were relegated to such an insignificant place in the family. Men need to step up for sure but we don’t teach them that from an early age. We don’t teach boys to be men because we don’t know what it means to be a man. We let them get away with being at times immature little boys grown older.
I am pro-man and pro-woman I celebrate our differences and I hold myself accountable to my wife if I am not giving 100% every day (regardless of what that 100% looks like) then I am not being a man and by the same token I know she does/feels the same.
How can we raise our young men to be great men?
I often wonder about how women are wired up/nutured to feel like they have to do it all. Ask your husband if he expects you to do all of that? If he says no, then why are you doing it? Is he helping? Or is he intentionally screwing it up feigning incompetence. Well don’t let him get away with that.
I hope this doesn’t make anyone mad, I just was struck by your rant.
And don’t even get me started on why we work 5 days and have only a 2 day weekend and have to fill it with things we can’t get done during the week.
renegademamaTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 9:25
Where is my husband in all this? He’s sitting at home watching Netflix and eating chips while yelling at his barefoot wife to bring him another beer.
OH WAIT NO that’s not right. Oh yeah, he’s waking up at 3am to drive 2-3 hours into the city to do IRONWORK all day. If he gets home in time, he picks up the kids, gets groceries, and helps make dinner. He drives kids to activities and puts all four kids to bed at night and on the weekends, he gets up with the baby at 5am so I can sleep. We all do chores, housework, etc., but there’s way more than can just be done on the weekends. My husband is loving, engaged, extremely hardworking, and present. But he is also gone a lot, working, to feed our family.
The situation I’m describing here is not necessarily an indicator of a deadbeat partner. It is often the situation of whoever – mom or dad – is the one doing the bulk of the housework/homemaking/day-to-day childcare due to circumstances (for example, I am a self-employed writer in the same town as my kids, so I have way more access and flexibility to pick them up if sick, or stay with them if needed). The feeling is that of “there is so much to do I shouldn’t DO ANYTHING BUT WORK.” But since this is a mothering blog, I tend to write about mothers to mothers, and I do that unapologetically. And there ARE issues that face women and women alone, and they come down structurally, through the media in particular. The sense of shame, of not doing enough, of not being thin or pretty or in shape enough. Example: Men get a “dad bod” and it’s apparently hot. Women “let themselves go” and end up in “mom jeans.” That’s one small example of the way women have a particular place in society that is not necessarily shared by men – and that is why I write to and about and for them, and feel it’s important to do so.
On the other hand, as a few other men have commented here and on Facebook, dads in the stay-at-home position sometimes share these feelings, of shame and guilt, etc., and of there never being “enough time.” And I will agree that as a society, we have done a number on masculinity as well, and though it isn’t my personal marital experience, I know many women who wonder why the fuck the bulk of EVERYTHING is on them. Sometimes I wonder if the Women’s Rights’ movement didn’t do much beyond creating an expectation that women now take care of JOBS and THE HOME, damn near completely, particularly since we still don’t have any fucking paid parental leave. I too am doing everything in my power to raise kids – boys and girls – who expel the notions of gendered work and just fucking CONTRIBUTE equally, and I believe future generations will more solidly embody this, and I hope the change manifests in social, political, and legal structures that make balance more possible.
MikeDTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 14:28
Glad to hear that you aren’t doing all this alone RenegadeMomma – I am with you – fuck shame – do as you please who do you have to answer to anyway other than yourself – and have a talk with that person ask them to be kind and compassionate.
LucyTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 16:38
Sometimes a husband who works hard all day is still unable to manage to fully engage at home … to the degree that makes it really 50/50. He also could definitely say “I am not inept, I meal plan, shop for groceries, pick up after my child and myself, do dishes, etc. I kill spiders, I mow lawns, I shovel snow when necessary, I make sure the vehicles are maintained, I work outside the house”… when doing that, suits him.
But so do I, when they happen not when it suits me, plus “more of the household management/chores” because he works “outside the house” and I work “from home”. He has “The feeling … of “there is so much to do I shouldn’t DO ANYTHING BUT WORK.”” And has said so. And that if I would like to trade places with him, he would be happy to let me run our business and go on buying trips and shmooze the sales, the projects, and the customers. Of course I would not like to and couldn’t do that. Is 50/50 a matter of perception? So that’s why I feel guilty and ashamed. I must expect too much to wish for a little more of a hand in the mundane day to day, right? It’s hard to know and there isn’t time to figure it out.
KaitlinTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 9:39
JK Rowling: “Everything was just very very dilapidated and always filthy which wasn’t the flat’s fault — it was normally my fault because people very often say to me, “How did you do it? How did you raise a baby and write a book?” and the answer is, I didn’t do housework for four years! I’m not Superwoman, and living in squalor that was the answer””
BeccaØTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 11:17
Yes! So much yes! I’m trying to pack for a trip to my folks, tidy a house that looks like it’s been hit by a dirty bomb made of Duplo, laundry and crumbs, the builders were in making even more mess, husband is on a business trip and my toddler napped a whole 10 mins, a nap sounds beyond lovely!
JodiTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 12:55
I ❤️ You!!! You’re my new hero!
Linda CollersonTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 13:54
Yes – fuck shame!
I even felt shame as i read becasue I relate, and my kids are not needy toddlers and very rarely wake me at 5.30 these days with spew in the bed (but occasionally!). they are 5 needy children, teens and adults, and i am fucking exhausted from 25 years of shame!
I’m a single mum, i work part time, home school the kids, and live with shame.
‘oh it must be easier now your kids are older’ – yeah, it’s easier to feel shame when they walk in the door from work and I haven’t got dinner for that night, or the house is a terrible mess. It gets easier and easier as they get older. To feel shame.
Thank you – i will keep clean sheets and naps and doing fucking nothing in my priorities xo
SkyeTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 14:57
This is the voice inside my head. Thanks for this, Janelle. I feel you.
imperfectly natural mamaTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 15:56
Ahhh, thanks Janelle, I needed to hear this today, after spending most of the night awake watching over my son who could hardly breath with a cough and breastfeeding the other one with my sore pregnant nipples. I cried this morning because they wouldn’t get dressed and the poured water puddles on the carpet.
Shelli NixTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 16:19
Thank you. Thank you for letting me see the words that have been filling my head. For precisely articulating my heart on a daily basis. And more for letting me read what you have wrote and been able to see all the comments from other mothers feeling and living the same way. No sugar coated shit, just straight. Thank you.
JustJoeTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 18:01
Thanks renegademama. I’m not a mother but raising a girl alone and dealing with all this “girl stuff” was tough. I have gotten the hang of it and am not embarrassed or grossed out by any of it. I recently came to the realization that “fuck what everyone else says” I need to do nothing sometimes. I have not left my couch for almost an entire weekend when my daughter was gone to grandmas. It was epic.
mamainbostonTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 19:43
my old therapist used to tell me to “stop ‘should-ing’ on yourself all the time.”
🙂 thanks for your wise ones too….
HeatherTuesday, 15 March, 2016 at 20:57
You already heard a million (well, 89) “thanks!” and “yes!” comments but here’s the thing: you are saying revolutionary things that many mommas think but never speak. There is power in truth, tremendous power. I REALLY appreciate your voice of truth. I recognize the lie of mommy shame but still fall into its trap because it’s often the only voice I hear. From friends. From acquaintances. From my mom. From co-workers. From older, wiser parents of grown children. And so on. I read your blog regularly bc I NEED your truths. I need them to counter the other nonsense that resides in my brain, that sends me into a spiral of “not enough”. And it is nonsense. But, loud and repeated nonsense starts to seem like truth after awhile if it’s all you are hearing. So, I repeat: thanks! Yes!
BelindaWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 2:33
7 month old twins. 3 year old. Hubby FIFO. No family. New town.
Thank you thank you.
Im so tired. So so fucking tired.
Tomorrow I’m bumbing around. Because I need to.
SaraWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 4:58
I have to tell you, my baby threw up on me last night and I was really happy because I managed to get all the vomit on me and the sheets stayed clean! ACHIEVEMENT!
Joli Selten ForbesWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 9:43
I would like to say, VERY LOUD, THAT I FUCKIN LOVE YOU!!! Thank you for this. EVERY STAY AT HOME PARENT NEEDS TO READ this, offer themselves a breath of respite… AND CHECK THE FUCK OUT sometimes… LIKE WEEKLY!!! Just saying… I don’t get ALONE DRIVES SINGING LOUD MUSIC… I DON’t GO out without kids… nearly EVER. I LOVED when you said “they pop up even when you’re avoiding the bastards” haaaa! (THAT’s WHAT I”m DOING NOW BY THE WAY… blaming myself for doing this instead of folding the laundry below me!) FUCK… I love you. One love… we’re all in this together. Thank you. xoxo
KatieWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 12:06
Wow. Just wow. This is my first time reading your blog and I think I am in love! I am a grandparent raising a (now) 2 1/2 year old. Having adopted my children when they were well out of diapers I am having the fanfuckingtastic experience of puke, multi hue baby shit and other wtf is that? moments that are gag worthy. I am a full time chef (which means the opposite of “normal” hours – whatever they are) with a husband who travels out of town on business for sometimes months at a time. The experience is similar to single young mom – only with a little more money. Still I find myself horrified at my need to sleep, and guilt ridden when I sneak off to have some ‘me’ time. And I feel like I should be old enough by now to be over those thoughts. They are pure time wasting BS!
I have no clue how anybody female, male or undecided could possibly handle more than one child AND a job AND school… and yet I see and hear of them all around. I very seriously get on my knees and bow to you all who are managing this feat requiring amazing energy, strength, and creativity. YES take a nap – as long as your home is clean enough to be healthy it is ok for it to be dirty enough to be happy (my grandmother told me that). You do not need to be perfect (in fact you cant be – so give it up.) Take ‘me’ time – get a pedicure, sit on the fucking sofa and have a glass of wine at noon. who cares! relax. And fuck the guilt/shame/other BS because you have earned every minute of whatever time you can eek out of the mothering existence. Do it!
CatWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 12:21
I love you! Everyday I tell myself it’s all my fault. My son is currently going through a medical and educational assessment, and every day is survival for us. And every night I tell myself I’m not doing enough and his behavior and disconnect is my fault. When I’m alone I cry and feel guilty for not being the Martha Stewart of mothers, but you’re right! Fuck that shit. Thank you
JulieWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 12:34
If we only knew about all the other people out there having these moments of despair/guilt/frustration/lack of motivation, the world would be a better place with less of these episodes. You help create a link between all of these people and i love that about what how you write. Just this morning, my 6 year old was being mean to me and i couldn’t stop crying after she left for school. I thought “stop being so emotional, you’re an adult” but that didn’t help. Most of the time, we shame ourselves. Like we’re not allowed to also cry and scream and roll on the floor sometimes… Thank you for your wisedom once again
SherylWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 12:37
“It takes a village to raise a child”. That means you are not supposed to do it alone. It is supposed to be a team effort, and while some of us are napping or watching youtube, others are watching and nurturing the kids. We need to take turns, and help each other. But most of us don’t have a village. We need to recreate the village.
Christy CallFriday, 9 August, 2019 at 2:01
My village now likes to stand and point fingers and judge.
The problem is the village I have, I don’t want their opinions or their help.
We need a supportive village that understands that we aren’t going to throw the child across the room for making his feelings heard, even if it sounds sassy. That’s it’s not okay to force the child to accept Grandma’s snuggles when he doesn’t want to be touched.
I’ve felt so judged by my village that no way! Nor do I want them near my child.
Now, I’m dreaming of the village we should have. I wonder how hard it would be to create.
BethWednesday, 16 March, 2016 at 13:05
As usual you have captured all of my feelings and put them into an amazing blog post! Thank you!
EThursday, 17 March, 2016 at 0:06
Fuck Yes! Let me tell you a dirty secret. I leave work on some days 2 hour early ( have a hella cool job where i am boss lady, well sort of). I leave so that I can have 2 fucking hours by myself, alone in a house doing jack shite, Sometimes napping, sometimes playin online and sometimes just thinking about how good it feels to be the fuck alone. I make up the time -dont worry stress gadgets, honest Abe types. I make up the time by working from home at Midnight or super early the next day, but alas there is nada like those 2 or so hours of My Fucking Freedom. 2 hours on Nothingness, NADA, space, air, mindlessness, no worry and no saying ‘STOP, dont, NO, Stop, NO, okay in a minute”…. Free at last, free at last, truer words….
Christy CallFriday, 9 August, 2019 at 2:03
When I had a cubicle job, I would call in sick or take vacation days and not say anything until the day of so that no one could join me. Ah those were heavenly.
I feel like I’m finding a new tribe here.
PattyThursday, 17 March, 2016 at 2:11
So much truth in this short read. I remember going through these feelings and now my daughter is going through them with her two boys. As tough as things may have been I wouldn’t change a thing! I am very blessed!❤️????
P.J.Friday, 18 March, 2016 at 9:27
Renegrade, I loved this post and it is my feelings exactly, I suffer from the guilt all the time: did I do enough, I should not have raised my voice, will the kids eat their lunch, etc. etc. etc. thing is it is not just the moms who feel this way. I am a stay at home dad, who was finishing school, (just finished double undergrad with honors, working on getting in for grad, ). I take care of all the house work, meals, laundry, homework with kids, yard, repairs, coach their sports and then feel guilty about not bringing home the bucks. Just last night I had to practically beg my wife to leave for her sisters right after work so I could have a day and a half break. She could not understand why I did not want her to wait til after dinner and drive up. I explained that if she waits I have to get the kids home from school tend to their backpacks, me see to it they get their chores done(because Sat is chore day and since they are gone “she” wants them done today)me get them to pack up, still fighting with them on chores because Friday is their off day, get them to do piano and violin practice, snack them and clean up afterwards, decide dinner and prepare it, then they leave and I will have to clean it all up, to me that does not make for a day off, esp. since even though my son will be out of town being the baseball coach I still have to go to ball practice on Sat. they are coming back Sun after church, but I still have to go to church early since I teach. So it is to hear that sometime “me time” is OK. thanx and peace out
ShawnieSaturday, 19 March, 2016 at 5:42
My best friend is a doctor. She talks about how she needs a medical code for “typical mother”. There are a ton of women who come to her and say everyone else can do this so well and so easily, why can’t I? Thanks for being honest so women can look around and see the struggle instead of the highly polished mommy images most people put forward.
NicoleMonday, 21 March, 2016 at 13:46
I mean absolutely NO disrespect by this, but…
Those of us who can’t have children due to infertility or other unknown issues feel the FUCKING SHAME, too. Women simply cannot win in this world. It’s not good enough to work hard and be kind–We also have to be mothers (by any means possible), physically flawless, and willing to cater to everyone around us at the drop of a hat. This is true of non-mothers, too, by the way (I teach in public schools, so I’ve plenty of insight into these behaviors). Again, I mean no disrespect, but as a fellow woman who is also stressed, I feel a need to speak on behalf of the childless. I’ve been trying to start a family for a very long time.
LaureMonday, 21 March, 2016 at 17:53
Reading (no, less work than that….listening to….) “Bringing Up Bebe” was a quiet revolution for me. Too bad I discovered it about 20 years too late! It turns out that French mothers and the society they live in don’t expect the impossible out of mothering. I love to recommend it to new/tired moms, so they realize that they can choose a new set of realistic expectations for themselves.
For the housework piece, I decided to view it as a love-gift to my family, a special treat…not a treat they got every day! And it evolved into a love-gift I give to myself, too. After all, I like to be greeted each day by some quantity of serenity and order. So I chose what I wanted to have serene and in order, and treated myself to it when I could. As time went by, I could treat myself to more and more of it. But if your moment of serenity and order is to stay in your pajamas and sip tea and eat in bed, enjoy the heck out of it! It is a beautiful thing!
Flylady’s ideas that “you can do anything in fifteen (or five) minutes” and that “even housework done incorrectly will bless your family (and yourself)” were helpful to me…but the most helpful thing was being aware of the source of the expectations I put upon myself…and deciding whether I wanted to buy into it or not. I was a lot better about self-awareness regarding housework expectations than about parenting expectations. Hence my enthusiasm over “Bringing Up Bebe.” It didn’t occur to me that I could be a good mother AND be that relaxed about parenting, caught in the throes of the helicopter parenting movement of the 90’s.
GMonday, 28 March, 2016 at 19:53
Love, love, love that book too! 😉
KittenWednesday, 23 March, 2016 at 13:14
I love you so hard.
MeganWednesday, 23 March, 2016 at 16:02
I fucking LOVE this! Thank you for saying out loud so many of the thoughts that are secretly oozing from my pores on the daily.
BeckWednesday, 23 March, 2016 at 20:21
I like the post and the picture! Most excellent!
JennSaturday, 26 March, 2016 at 13:52
After I had my second, I hit a period where I wasn’t coping. I’d been diagnosed with post partum depression (yes, a year after the second was born) and the meds were helping, but my husband travelled and I just needed a mommy time out.
One of the pastors at our church was talking about traveling to St. John. I said “that sounds fab!” and she said “come with”.
And I did.
My husband travels, and I get that it isn’t a vacation, but its a break from the tantrums, and the vomiting and the everything. Its been nearly 8 years since that vacation but photos still put me in a calmer place.
I highly recommend it.
JeriSunday, 27 March, 2016 at 17:48
Oh.my.gosh. You’re freakin’ in my head! All I want to do is lay around in yoga pants, binge watch Netflix and eat chocolate. And I am going to do it! No shame (except, maybe for the yoga pants.)
GMonday, 28 March, 2016 at 19:51
Please don’t stop saying and living this, there is so much pressure to go until you burn out these days. I won out over mothering guilt when my daughter was two and spent a week on holidays all by myself (overseas too!) and have managed to repeat it every year since thanks to a husband who understands how completely f’d his life would be if I lost my mind! Besides something awesome in the year to look forward to that gets you through all those low moments, I cannot express how divine it is to hear yourself think and sleep and to wander aimlessly, unencumbered. And you know what, my relationship with my daughter is better for it, we both appreciate each other more when I return. Whatever space you can manage to carve out to reconnect with yourself and recharge, I say DO IT, no judgement. No one blinks if a man was to take off with friends for a ‘boys getaway’, and I encourage my husband to also, impossible mothering standards are just hurting us all, our families included.
Rant over 😉
DorotheaTuesday, 29 March, 2016 at 16:44
Perfect for where I’m at. Three days ago, in fact, I said to a friend, “the exhausting thing about having a kid (yes, I have only one and I am exhausted) is that if something doesn’t work, you can’t just give up or walk away. It takes ‘try try again’ to a horrible new level…”
ThiFriday, 15 April, 2016 at 0:36
Oh. My. Gawd. MY. THOUGHTS. EXACTLY. Love you so damn much for getting me!!!
BillFriday, 15 April, 2016 at 10:25
Yo(I’m bringing this back), just stumbled into your site from a search for hand salve to fix my fucked up rock climbing hands. I’ve only peeked around a little bit but you’ve got a pretty cool little site here, I’ll probably be back.
Also wanted to point out that the pic of your family gathered around the doorway is hilarious. It looks like your husband is about to take a hammer and chisel to his daddy bits. Yes, that’s the real reason I left this post.
Allison WatersSaturday, 16 April, 2016 at 23:55
I used to read a long time ago, and someone shared one of your posts with me and now I’m back and binge reading. I love what you write!
MichelleFriday, 22 April, 2016 at 18:50
Ha! I have 5 kids (not counting the sell born and the miscarriages) ranging from 11 to 25. I homeschooled them, had tons of animals, in Alaska, with oftentimes zero dollars in the bank account, a husband whose work takes him away from home for weeks/months on end and often unavailable except by radio in an extreme emergency, no relatives within a thousand miles, an old house where things like the well, the sewer, the electric, break down with amazing frequency, but only when spouse is away and or kids are in high puke/shit/fever/obscure disease mode, ancient cars that do the same. No internet for some time in the early years and pretty poor in the latter because, hey, technology costs. I learnt the hard way that there is no “fuck this shit I give up” moment. Even for an hour or two, unless you count falling asleep in the middle of reading aloud chapter 6 of the current story time novel whilst nursing child #4. Four years ago I discovered I could make a living playing poker at night and I handed over the household reins to my better half. I can almost breathe again.
Christy CallFriday, 9 August, 2019 at 1:55
You made my insomnia night. I just found you tonight and have been reading your blogs. I really needed this kick in the pants. I feel heard and I feel human (well as human as I can at the moment)
Thank you so much!