My whole life I’ve had a string of irrational fears and worries. There’s the fear of doctors, that required valium during regular check up visits; there’s the fear of messing up someone’s name, even though I know 100% that the person I’m speaking with is in fact, named the name I’m thinking of; I’m horrifically afraid of being somewhere mundane and alone, like the grocery store, and something apocalyptic happens when I’m away from my family (although, a grocery store would probably be a pretty good place to be…unless I’m in the movie The Mist…); I worry constantly about my children’s health (they’re fine), driving in the dark (I survive), and about the BPA in my cans of diced tomatoes (eek!).
I can’t help it. My mom is a worrier. Her mother was a worrier. I’m sure her mother was one, too. But there’s a new one that’s come along, that has started to be almost comical: I’m worried about texting or posting on social media if I have a bad day. Why? No, no, not because I want everyone to think I have the most beautiful charmed life on the planet (I do), but because I’m convinced my children will die in some bizarre accident (suffocation in their beds, fall down a flight of stairs, I get in a car wreck with them, etc), and the police will use my previous Facebook status update as evidence to try to say that I did it.
Ever since my little gal turned two, being a full-time Stay-at-Home-Mom has been much more challenging for me. When my children were newborns, infants, and babies, I was in the trenches. It was ok to be exhausted and sit in a bathrobe all day, unwashed hair and sipping on my 5th cup of coffee by 9am. I felt that it was my job to lie on the floor and read or play with the kiddos, and let the laundry go unfolded another day.
The older they get, though, the more independent they become, but I still feel I need to be as available to them as I was when they were newborns. It’s not fair for any of us, because they are currently developing separation anxiety, I feel like I’m starting to smother, I get upset when I can’t accomplish a personal project, or get any chores done. I count down the seconds to 5pm when my husband gets off work, and the days until my oldest starts Kindergarten. I snap at them before I have time to even “take a deep breath and count to 4” (as I tell them to do), and text my husband all day long whining about how I CAN’T GET ANYTHING DONE.
Some days, I start a text to my sister or a friend: I AM SO DONE TODAY. I AM A BAD MAMA AND WANT TO RUN AWAY TO PARIS AND NEVER LOOK BACK. I. AM. HAVING. A. BREAKDOWN.
Then I get that overwhelming feeling of, “Oh my gosh. My children are going to die tonight if I send this,” and delete the text.
The other night, my friend Missy and I went to get coffee, then cocktails and listen to some great local music (Bella Donna – you HAVE TO SEEK THEM OUT), and we were chatting about this fear with another group of friends we joined at the bar. I’m not sure how it came up, but I told everyone about how I cannot send a negative text about my kids and they laughed. “It’s like something from a comedy,” one gal said.
Yes, I realize this. And I realize, my children are not going to die if I complain about having a bad day. I also know there is far more evidence of me being a good mother than a “bad” one (which I am not, bad mothers let their kids eat meth, and yes, I’m judging them), so I shouldn’t waste time worrying about an occasional “lose-it” text and the police. So here I am. I’m telling you that I have had a string of bad weeks, and months, and I want you to know that despite the idealized pictures I post on Instagram or Facebook, some days we have screaming matches and cereal spills that don’t get cleaned up for hours, and I’ve resorted to the TV many more hours than not recently, and as much as I love my children, somedays, yes, I REALLY WANT TO FLEE TO PARIS. But I’d come back for them after a few hours, because I would miss their snuggles and smiles and silliness, and could not would not survive without them.
(As I’m typing this, my little boy is yelling from the bedroom “Mama! Mama come in here, I want to snuggle with you and watch TV!!!!” My little gal is taking some earbuds and yelling into one of them, “HELLO DOCTOR.” And I’m in my bathrobe sipping on my 2nd coffee since awaking. We’re all still in pjs. I do have a very charmed life which I am beyond grateful for. But sometimes it does feel nice to publicly vent. Thank you for reading!)