What joy though?
I’m a first time single mom. I turned 23 with a 2 1/2 month old little boy. Some days I feel like I’ve become really good at this mom thing. Some days I feel like I’m struggling to stay above water. Most days I’m somewhere floating on the surface though. Yes I love my son—he has purified my perspective on life and awakened this instinct in me to be better in almost every way.
But I don’t find joy in the fact I haven’t slept a decent night’s sleep in almost half a year. HALF A YEAR. I don’t find joy in racking my brain to find new ways to entertain a teething baby. I don’t find joy in being too tired by the time he’s asleep and the fact that I haven’t properly washed my face in months.
I don’t find joy in being so sleep-deprived I could fall over at the sink washing bottles before bed because if there aren’t at least a few clean I get anxiety because that means an ever rougher night. I don’t find joy in the disconnected friendships and relationships I have because it’s too hard to make plans with me because I struggle to find a sitter. I don’t find joy in the drive home from work and wishing I didn’t have to go home just yet.
Yes the moments are precious. But I really don’t feel like being a mom is FUN. And when I see that innocent sleeping face I feel like a monster for wishing I had my old life.
What JOY is it to always live in a world of constantly feeling conflicted? Guilt, then longing to be away. Then guilt. Then longing. Repeat.
Lately I’ve been fantasizing about the days when he’s a bit older. Where he can somewhat entertain himself. Where I can give him chicken nuggets and entertain him with cartoons.
Because I am a single mom, my mother is my biggest help. She watches my son while I go to work full-time Monday – Friday. She is my biggest help, but also my biggest shamer. She told me, “I wish you would stop saying you wish you could do something for yourself. I mean, you go to work and go to the store. When I had you and your brother I never wanted to be away from you guys.”
As if our differences make me any less of a mom. As if my need for freedom make me any less of a woman.
I wish she would remember that I am still her daughter. I have needs that need to be met too. I want her to ask me if I’m doing OK. I don’t think she has checked on me mentally since I gave birth. I wish she would understand that I want my son to grow up knowing his mother is happy and mentally sound. And if that means taking a little more time away from him for myself than she did, then so be it.
I wish more than that, that people would stop hyping up motherhood to be this vacation, dreamy wonderland. I wish more people were honest and open about how not so fun it can be. How raw, demanding, lonely, frustrating, exhausting it is.