A couple of months ago, I blogged about going from one to two in a matter of 17 months. Essentially, I said this stuff ain’t so bad. I almost said it was easy. Since that post, I’ve documented a couple of humorous anecdotes about my two little angel-babies and the hilarity that is my life.
Hear me: I lied. Those first three months of sweet coos and peaceful nights tragically ended two months ago. And those funny stories? I’m at that “laughing about this is a better alternative to setting the house aflame and running down the street naked” stage (AKA losing my freaking mind). As of October, those good days turned into tolerable days, and those tolerable days have been few and far between. This shit is hard. Yes, I said shit. But that’s where I’m at right now. Plus, I’ve heard my dad say it before and he’s an elder at church and I’m pretty sure he’s got Sainthood status in Heaven. And I might use it again at some point in the next few minutes. Consider yourself warned.
I’d like to think of myself as a fairly emotionally balanced human being. I function normally on most days. I was raised in a healthy family, my mother a kindergarten teacher. I babysat all my life. I worked as a camp counselor and a children’s ministry intern all through college. I taught school for two years. I had 6 nieces and nephews before my first. And I genuinely like kids. If that resume doesn’t scream “motherhood-approved” I don’t know what does. I was groomed for this.
I don’t say that to tout my mom-skills but to persuade you that nobody is exempt from those dark feelings of motherhood. You know what I’m talking about. Those scary thoughts that creep into your mind at 4 o’clock in the morning when your baby has been screaming for 3 hours straight while you lie on the floor weeping beside her with the knowledge that in just a few hours another child will be waking up in need of an emotionally stable caretaker to feed her breakfast and change her diaper and smile and kiss her. I’ve had those. I’ve had them when both children are screaming into either ear for no obvious or curable reason. I’ve had them in the car, as Hattie wails for 20 minutes straight before Charlee chimes in because I forgot to bring her wa-wa, my hands literally shaking on the steering wheel as I glance down and realize I’m driving 82.
My heart aches for the Air Force mom that sits in prison for the death of her little girl. I think, “How? How could any mom EVER?” But then I wonder what it would be like to be alone, husband thousands of miles away, raising two little girls very close in age. How does one get to that dark of a place? I would imagine countless days and nights of crying and screaming and whining and aloneness and anger and resentment. Nothing could ever excuse what she did. But I’ve seen glimpses of that kind of crazy. And I’m thankful for the support system I have that she clearly didn’t.
Can we be honest with each other? Can we admit that this isn’t just hard, that some days it’s completely emotionally debilitating? Some nights I pull the covers over my head when the cries come blaring through the monitor. Some nights I put a blanket down on the floor, tired of wrestling Hattie’s writhing body in my arms, and lie next to her. And we both just lie there, crying. Some days I lie in the playroom, coffee in hand, watching my eldest maneuver toys around my comatose body. Some days I am stripped of patience for anyone, including my poor husband, whom, I expect feels like he’s walking into a minefield when he walks through the back door. Parenting is hard when there’s two of you. But thank God there’s two of you.
I just need you to know, that though I write about Hattie and Charlee having bad days as though I laughed my way through it, I most certainly did not. Some days I’m surprised that my wits lasted as long as they did. And some days my wit’s end arrives sooner than expected. This mom business is not for the faint of heart.
But, oh, the reward. My life was made more complete by my daughters. I love them with a greater capacity than I ever thought possible. I am thankful for them daily and I love them like crazy. Literally. Like crazy.
Maybe we should talk about the crazy that we feel. And maybe, then, we’ll realize that we’re not so crazy at all. That we’re normal.