I am an introvert; a lover of silence, harmony and order. My children are not quiet, never leave me alone, and they turn my house into a battlefield on a daily basis. Sometimes I don’t feel very loving towards these two small creatures who are stomping like angry elephants over the calm life I continue to—optimistically—envision.
In my early twenties, the vision of my future life included only the patter of fingers on the keyboard, not that of tiny feet. My imaginary writer’s turret didn’t come equipped with a safety gate. But when I got married it just seemed that a child was the next natural step. I don’t believe I ever questioned whether I was truly made for this new role.
When our beautiful little doll-baby came along I didn’t chatter away at her as I have witnessed with other mothers. My default mode was mute. And nursing was difficult. I felt as open as a 24-hour diner and as over-worked and under-appreciated as the waitress inside. I wanted my body, personal space, and time back. My writing—even my journal—was neglected due to exhaustion and lack of creative inspiration. Along with my milk, I felt the Real Me being devoured by this tiny child.
As she grew up, the toys and the tantrums began multiplying. My quiet, orderly world had become a place of constant noise and chaos. And although I had my breasts back to myself (albeit far below their former position), I now found myself gasping for free time while digging out from under plastic trucks and fuzzy giraffes. Especially when the second child came along, I longed for peace, for things to stay put, for a beautiful home, for my writing, and on some days, for anything other than motherhood. I felt oppressed. Resentful. Rage-ful.
And I started yelling. The Silent One was vanquished in a storm of frustration.
I can feel calm and then…bam! I’m screaming like a junkie in a police car. The anger which erupts when a grumpy, overtired 1st grader lets half-smashed food fall from her mouth both shocks and scares me. Or, when we have arranged a day of “kid fun” (i.e. adult hell) and they refuse to get dressed but then cry in frustration when we miss the parade. Or, when the tiny, but powerful fist smashes into my leg because my Mama-powers do not extend to making the hot sun go away.
The anger is a pressure in my chest which, at the worst moments of defiance, illogicality, and sibling rivalry increases to a physical pain. Sometimes when I have yelled myself to tears, I imagine running off to a cottage by the sea, just my pen and I. I never would, of course, but at times I long for nothing more than peaceful irresponsibility.
I hate The Rage. It does nothing more than give me a momentary release while polluting our home with bad energy for far longer. But I fear if I was capable of restraining the monster, it would only retreat to a deeper place, ultimately causing me greater pain. The answer is to not allow The Rage to enter at all. In an effort to be pro-active, each morning I write in my journal, “It will be a calm and loving day…”
One day I hope I can truly say it was.
Would it have been better if I’d kept all that to myself and internalized the self-belief that I am an inferior mother? Are you judging me as a bad mom?
Or are you sighing in relief that you’re not the only one?
If you enjoyed this article, read more in the Anonymous Issue of Mama Says by subscribing and every issue will be sent directly to your house. No more wandering around town looking for it!
And if you have anything to say about what you read here, don't forget to make a comment. Let's start some dialogue about motherhood!