"I'm Done": Musings on the hard days of being a Mama

One day, seventeen years ago on a Saturday morning I opened my eyes and thought "I cannot do this again." The mere thought of waking up and juggling the needs of three children absolutely side swiped me. I could not get out of bed. I said to my husband "You need to take care of the kids and take them out....I cannot cope, I cannot fathom doing everything that I do every single day one more time."  I spent the rest of the morning wrapped in a sheet, lying on the middle of the family room floor. I did not stay in bed because I actually thought I needed to at least get out of bed...and made it as far as the family room floor.

There are days that you are done. So very done. The exhaustion cannot be evaluated in any way but by the insurmountable feelings on your heart, your soul, your psyche. When you are done- bone weary exhausted- everything is so heavy. The constant "on" of mothering - wiping bums, noses and faces, responding to every single "why" and breaking up fights weighs heavy day in and day out. The hamster wheel of routine and no acknowledgement of anything you have accomplished feels like a sledge hammer to the head....pushing you further under the heap of "to do."  Being screamed at, up multiple times a night to feed, console, wipe (again), change sheets and banish monsters cannot be soothed by all the coffee in the universe. Constantly holding, carrying and  nursing a child can leave you "touched out." Spending hours preparing and cooking meals to be told "I don't like this" can feel like a total assault on your sense of self- especially if your child "eats absolutely everything" at your Mom's house. It is so hard to not take it all so personally. We can't, Mamas.....

These little humans are all consuming. They truly are. Fulfilling the needs of another human being (or two, or three!) is a huge undertaking. It can weigh heavy on your soul and there are days you will absolutely want to get off the Mama bus. Do it. When you feel this way, do it. Have your partner, your friend, your sister, your own parents or in laws take your children. Have them out of the house for a few hours. Wonders can happen here.

About one hour into lying in the family room wrapped in a sheet (because it felt safe- it felt like I could block out any stimuli) I began to realize that I could just lie there. Just lie and be quiet. And then I breathed. I breathed in. I breathed out. I relaxed my face, shoulders, back, legs and arms and sank into the floor. The dam broke open and the tears just streamed. For the next hour I cried over all that I needed to. I needed to cry about it all. Thoughts needed to be put in order, stories had to be investigated (Am I done? No, I am not done, I could never be done being their Mama....I am just tired. So tired. I just need time. Just to breathe. I need help. This is hard. I need to be heard. I need a voice that reminds me that I too have needs. Oh, that feels better. Big breath. Oh shit, this is hard. I love them. I am exhausted. This is so hard!  I can go back to this. I can.) The underlying feeling in all of these huge feelings was a voice saying "Things need to change."

My partner came home with our children later in the day and I was back in bed. He fed the kids after I cuddled and kissed and spoke with each of them. Then we talked. We talked about how much I was trying to accomplish each day, how I felt like I always had to be busy, how my "job" as their Mama was so vast....and how I needed to reduce its vastness. We worked hard, I worked hard, I sought out help from my best friend (who to this day is my go to for anything Mama based.... CH you are my people...) and we opened up our communication every single day. "How was your day?" was either answered in front of the children or it wasn't- it all depended on how it really was. Some days it was not pretty. Some days, it was an ode to joy. The more I acknowledged the hard days, my expansion for the joyful moments grew. Fully accepting all of the emotions of motherhood and not feeling any guilt around them absolutely allowed my "vastness" of being a Mama to be reduced and my capacity for joy to become expansive. We need to be real, Mamas. We are not alone. There are days we do feel done. Talk about them and all of the feelings and emotions surrounding them. Sit in these feelings and let them grow...they have so much to say to you. Have someone listen to you and bear witness to your emotions. We are here,  we will listen.


With much love,

Carol xoxo