Overall, it’s been a good week. But I detected the fumes of Mommy burnout yesterday. I’m tired. I’m tired of riding the waves of feeling suffocated and having the craziest biggest love wash over me when I see my girls’ little teeth as they giggle at something I say. Avery has already lost so many of her baby teeth and each one feels like a kick in the gut. Like all those nights we spent together walking around the living room in the glow of the TV because she was teething and only wanted to be rocked have come full circle. I felt so desperate and alone just doing whatever I could to coax her to sleep.
The first week we brought her home from the hospital I laid awake in terror picturing this giant digital clock counting down the 18 years until she leaves us. I still find myself exasperated with each little sign of my kids growing up. All of a sudden their legs are so long. Their oh-so-kissable cheek meat is disappearing. I’m so grateful that I get to watch them grow, but I have this gnawing feeling that it’s all going too fast. Like I’m one of those Russian nesting dolls and the smallest one is constantly in the middle of a crazy desperate meltdown, but the dolls in between us are chill and keep the little panic-stricken one mostly medicated, er, insulated so my outer self can function.
Sometimes little voices calling “Mom!” sound like nails on a chalkboard. Sometimes I get tired of carrying around all of the dandelions they pick for me. And I feel so guilty. I know that time is flying by and I will long to hear their tiny voices, have them fall asleep on top of me, and I’ll look at dandelions and wish someone cared enough about me to pick them for me. A friend recently sent me an article that said “we’re not meant to parent for this many hours a day,” and some days it feels so true. It’s so much pressure being the person they love and hate the most. The one they treat the best and the worst.
Years ago I attended a Junior League luncheon where Hoda Kotbe told a story about when she had just been diagnosed with cancer and didn’t want anyone to know, and someone said to her, “Don’t hog your journey. It’s not just for you.” It resonated. We all have different challenges in parenting and different degrees of tragedy we have to endure, but each of our journeys are valuable to one-another and should be shared, considered and appreciated.
Now it’s Friday night. I bathed my kids, picked up toys and dog poop in the playroom, sprayed some cleaner on the carpet, then sprayed some self tanner on my ghostly white skin. Here I sit in bed, typing around the sleeping child draped across me. The glow of Octonauts on TV and the computer screen are the only light in the room. Avery is off in her dreams and I am off in my thoughts, but we are alone together.