I just need a break! Many people that actually know me, kind of understand where I am coming from because they have known me for so long. Most people have no idea. Stop telling me “you should have thought about that before you had kids”. I am sick to death of hearing this statement. When someone says this to me, what goes through my mind is “you are a failure as a mom and you have no right to have children”.
I need time to myself. Time when no one is touching me, hanging on me, demanding my time and attention. Time when I am not responsible for every last detail. Time when no one is screaming, yelling, demanding, nagging or expecting me to fix something.
Taking care of other people is mentally, emotionally and physically draining. I have been taking care of other people for as long as I can remember. My dad was a single parent of four children. Being the youngest, by 5th grade, my older siblings were gone. They were out on their own, living their own lives. There is a decade age difference between them and myself. Dad raised all of us on the firm belief that children are meant to be seen and not heard; if he wanted our opinions, he would give it to us; and the infamous “I don’t cook, clean or do laundry. That is what I had kids for.” By the age of 10, all four of us were capable of running the household just as well as most adults. In the case of my brother, he was better than most adults I have ever met in my life.
Dad was also sick. His list of medical problems was long, almost unending. He did not cook for himself, that was our job. He did not do his laundry, that was our job. He did not do dishes or scrub floors, that was our job. When the older three were gone, everything became my job. I was taught that I am the F’s: a fuck up and a failure. According to the way I was raised, I never kept the place clean enough, I never spent enough time in the kitchen, I was good for nothing, I would amount to nothing. I was a fuck up and a failure. My dad and my siblings would say, “if you want something screwed up, just ask her to do it.” They claimed it was a joke, but I never believed them. Yes, dad was sick. Yes, I had more responsibilities than my peers did. Yes, after his surgeries, I was responsible for changing the bandages and keeping the wounds clean. By the time I reached high school, dad was in a wheelchair most of the time. He could walk around a little, but it was extremely difficult and sometimes he would fall. Have you ever picked up a 350 pound man off the floor in the middle of the night? I have.
I am shaking as I write this. This is something my family would crucify me for if they knew I was writing about this. However, since my family has disowned me and I have not told anyone that I have a blog, the chances that they will find out are slim. I am still worried about what will happen if they do find out.
I spent my youth taking care of a sick parent. Then I got married young and had my first child when I was young. I have always had to take care of someone and I hate it. I lack empathy and sympathy. I have no tolerance for anyone who cannot or will not take care of themselves. Yes, I love my children. But I have my days when I am so drained, all I can do is cry. Some days my body hurts endlessly. The slightest movement causes my muscles to scream in protest, my chest to go tight and breathing becomes difficult. Some days, the slightest amount of daylight is tantamount to razor blades slicing through my eyes. I love my children, but there are times when I just need a break. Time to be alone.
I try to explain this to my husband and it ends in a fight. It is always the same responses from him.
What do you want me to do about it? Kids make noise, so deal with it. They are your children, of course they want your attention. What am I supposed to do with them? Where am I supposed to take them to give you time to yourself? What is your problem? Not everyone was raised like you. Most people had normal childhoods.
He struggles to deal with all three girls at home. Taking all three of them out in public, alone, is just not going to happen without a major meltdown. They are too much for him to handle.
Certain people in my life always ask me why I cannot be happy with what I have. They cannot fathom why being a stay at home mom depresses me. They are baffled and irritated by my desire to work and focus on a career. Hear me! Listen to my words! I take NO pride in being a mom. I get ZERO enjoyment from devoting every waking moment of my life to another person and then being called selfish for wanting time to myself. Last week I took my oldest shopping. She hit another growth spurt and needed new clothes. I enjoyed spending that time with her. Seeing her laugh, letting her show me her own personal fashion style-with mom’s approval of course. But what about me? I hate the fact that I cannot afford to buy myself new shoes. The ones I wear every day are too small and hurt my feet. But I will not say this to her or out loud where she can hear it, because I do not want her to feel bad. With her autism, she takes everything extremely personal. Putting her needs before my own is part of being a parent, but I want to be able to take care of myself as well.
My middle daughter has ADHD. She never sits still!! Just being in the same room as her wears me out. I deal the best I can, however, I feel like a failure because I cannot keep up with her. I cannot take her shopping for “us time” because she frustrates me so much that I have a panic attack in public. My youngest is a toddler. I love cuddle time. I love sitting down and reading stories, coloring, building towers. But she wants my constant, undivided attention and I just cannot do it. At least once a day, I sit on the floor in the kitchen and cry because I just need to be left alone. I need quiet. I need everyone to get off of me!
Obviously my family was right. I am the F’s. Nothing about being a stay at home mom will ever make me happy. Constantly taking care of other people will never bring me joy or fulfillment. Why is this so difficult for others to understand? How am I asking to much to have time all to myself? I want to go to the bathroom alone, without banging on the door, or a child bursting in on me, or screaming ensuing the moment I close the door. I want to take a shower before 11 pm, and be left alone. No children barging in, leaving the door wide open while announcing that they have to potty. Without my husband popping in to ask me what he should give the girls for a snack, or asking me if I mind that he goes out to visit with friends. Hello! I am in the shower, leave me alone!! And yes, there are times that I actually scream at people to get out of the bathroom and leave me alone. Of course, they all blame me for over reacting. Please just try to understand and give me my space.