Beautiful Fleeting Moments of Motherhood
The weekend started out hard.
My mom and I took the boys to the library on Saturday morning. The toddler was being more combative than usual, and the baby more fussy. We had a poop incident. By the time I got him into the restroom he had poop on his shirt, pants, socks and shoes. A woman walked in, saw us stripping him down, and walked right back out.
On the drive home I tried to talk to Mom about the OCD article but the toddler kept interrupting, just to interrupt. I wanted to scream: You think this is a game and it’s not. You don’t know how badly I need this. I am trying to take care of myself so I can be a good mom to you.
I feel like a Kleenex people use and then throw away.
A writer friend tells me it will get easier when the children get older, and I believe her. I know I will eventually miss these days. But in the present moment, they feel like a constant struggle.
What did women in past generations do, when they were expected to do everything? Did they just get used to ignoring their own needs? Can anyone ever get used to that?
Unlike women in past generations, I have a strong support system. I have the option to work outside the home at a job I love. My husband does the housework and helps with the kids. My parents and in-laws babysit whenever I ask.
This support system is the only thing keeping me from hitting my children and saying horrible things. It’s perhaps the only reason that I am not an abusive mother. I recall all the horror stories I’ve been told about my grandmother over the years, and all the help she didn’t have, and I think: That could have been me.
What will my own grandchildren think when they look back on my life and all the stories they’ve been told? Will they see all the times I used mental illness as an excuse for bad behavior? All the times I squeezed myself between the scissor blades of judgment?
I know I’m too hard on myself. I know. But being hard on myself feels like the only way I’ll be good enough for them.
On Sunday my husband and I took the boys to a breakfast buffet. We ate on a deck covered in flowers. Later my husband took the toddler to the playground while I stayed behind with the baby. They played for a long time. I got myself a doughnut and cut it into squares. I dipped the greasy pastry into my coffee and let the bittersweet mixture melt on my tongue.
My heart ached at the beauty of the moment. The beautiful fleeting moment.