Specifically, in my case, SAHM Mom Guilt. The fuel that keeps our mom-ing fire burning.
Days like today, “easy” days, are the days I find most difficult to maneuver. I try to busy myself with as much as possible because I have that looming guilt in the back of my mind about how SAHMs have it Sooooooo easy. And granted, these days are just that–easy.
I have a weekday routine with Derrick when it comes to the kids; I sleep in until Ivy needs me and when he hears that I’m awake, he comes in with piping hot coffee and hands me the remote to quietly watch the news.
Sure, Ivy may be 8 & 1/2 weeks old, but this mama is still in recovery mode; from a difficult pregnancy laiden with antepartum depression, illnesses like Hypertension, morning sickness and OMG the swelling and bloating. Then there was the scary delivery; of which I was induced at 35 weeks because my high blood pressure was damaging my liver–and finally, after nearly 3 days of laboring, I received an epidural (of which nearly killed me–I’ll have Derrick do a guest blog post on that story, as I was dying during most of it) and passed out during delivery. Then my postpartum “recovery” wasn’t so much about recovering than dealing with CPS and Case Managers about my mental illness and my capacities to care for a child (this was the first time in my entirety of motherhood, that my mothering was called into question) which threw me back into depression and agitated frustration. And then a postpartum hemorrhage—which was horrific and terrifying and traumatizing; bleeding out in a very new, very trendy restaurant downtown and having to WALK back to my SUV 4 blocks away, just waterfalling blood—and coming home, having bled all over the light tan leather of my SUV, to run through the house and jump into the shower, where I passed 6 softball-sized blood clots. I eventually succeeded to the immense amount of blood and clot loss, that I called 911 and was rushed via ambulance to the E.R.
SO yeah, even though she’s about to be 9 weeks, I am STILL recovering. But I have Mom Guilt. The guilt of keeping 5 kids happy and healthy and occupied. The guilt of keeping a pristine-as-possible home because “what else am I doing with all my time?”. The guilt of needing to walk around bare-chested so my milky breasts can be on-demand for a colicky cluster-feeding baby. The guilt of maintaining a healthy diet for a nursing baby AND my health; but secretely wanting to LIVE on Garlic Bagel Chips, Whiskey-flavored Pork Jerky, Tiramisu and coffee. The guilt of losing “the baby weight” because honestly; being over 200 pounds for having 5 kids is no excuse (by the media’s standpoint). The guilt of looking good daily because my husband works hard to provide for us and that couple thousands of dollars worth of Sephora goodies shouldn’t be collecting dust. The guilt of “doing something with my life” like being an author or a doctor, because being a mom isn’t good enough (by the media’s standpoint). And more guilt and more guilt and more guilt.
How do I fight with myself all day and then, most nights, I fall asleep (bwahahaha, she said “sleep”) to me beating myself up for not doing a good enough job?
And when you live with mental illness; you don’t just beat yourself up as a parent. You slaughter yourself and your soul and your spirit. When you’ve survived trauma; you usually seek therapy for helping to soothe, but never fully heal those wounds. And when you berate yourself for not being good enough for those who depend on you, you’re telling that little survivor in you that no matter what you do, it’ll never be enough.
And I’m not okay with that anymore. I am tired of not being good enough for myself because I didn’t get around to all the items on my to-do list.
So today I did the bare-minimum. Literally. I straightened my bedroom per daily usual. I did a couple loads of laundry, took mine, Derrick’s and the baby’s clothes to fold and put away, and left the rest for the kids to separate, fold and put away themselves. I reminded kids of their chores and responsibilities but I didn’t harp on them. I even forgot to thaw something for dinner, so I had to figure out how to use the weight defroster on my microwave to thaw steaks…of which we had with cold leftover Italian Salad.
Most of my day was spent in my bed; nursing a cluster-feeding baby and scrolling through Amazon Prime, adding items to my cart, feeling guilty, then remove the items and put them in the “Save for Later” and “Wish List” categories.
Even now I am feeling guilty because my awesome new Mommy Group out here has extended me a years’ worth of membership dues IF I plan and host multiple events and playdates throughout the year and I haven’t even had a chance to look at my calendar. And now I have guilt for lying about not having the time to look at my calendar, when clearly I did *cough* Amazon Prime vortex *cough*
It’s 8:30pm and I’ve finally gotten around to completing and publishing an actual blog BEFORE 9pm! The kids were fed, the PM chores were done, kids were bathed, teeth brushed, PJ’s on and in bed by 8pm. I got a chance to nurse Ivy and put her into her MamaRoo while Derrick ate his dinner since he got home 30 minutes late and while I am writing this up; he’s helping me by doling out the kids’ earned chore points for the day.
He even brewed me a pot of coffee!
He’s a fucking saint! To come home and be a blessing in my life after spending all day in Torrance, the traffic of the 91 (Google the horror stories of the Southern California 91 Freeway–yikes!) and then the traffic of the 10 and 60 freeways to get home.
And now I just wasted a few precious minutes snapping at my teenage daughter because she back-talked her dad after he told her to go straighten up her room and get ready for bed (it’s a school night) and she came back with the “But I’m drawing…” whine. So I shut that shit down.
So wow, it’s 8:40pm and I have all this free time…what to do, what to do…
I think Lethal Weapon is on the DVR and I’ve been experiencing some Riggs withdrawl.
Have a good night!
And try not to let that Mom Guilt destroy you too much. Your kiddos survived another day. Just as you did. You’re a fucking superhero–you kept the citizens safe today. Pat yourself on your motherfuckin’ back.