My work day starts before the sun rises, when my bosses awaken and call me into their office for a diaper change, followed by a breakfast that often winds up smeared on my floor, table, and couch.
My bosses are tyrants, who yell at me all day, make obsessive, outrageous demands, and slowly break down my will to live. Sometimes, divorce sounds like such a lovely arrangement — my husband and I could enjoy every other week free of the noise, stress, and chaos of raising children. At this point, I don’t even think I’d miss sex, if it meant I could get regular breaks from my unruly spawn.
These days, it’s difficult to find my original passion for child rearing. If I see you, or someone I know, at the grocery store, I’m likely to duck into the spice aisle, or hide behind the cheese display in an attempt to eschew all meaningful conversation. If I do engage you, please ignore my dead, lifeless eyes and overall “FML” demeanor. It’s just that, right now, I can’t remember why I chose to do this, to actively pursue parenthood. I can’t understand why I did this to myself, on purpose, twice.
At some points in life, we all become disconnected with our original passion. Even if you are in a work position that you love, all of us experience days when we can’t recall why we made the choice. When we feel overextended, overwhelmed, and just f*cking over IT. Then what? Well, you adjust, you make changes, or you quit.
Unfortunately, I have undertaken a task that I can’t quit. I am a parent forever and always, even on the days I wish so badly I could phone it in, or throw in the towel altogether.
I can’t exactly find new bosses, and although part of my job is to shape my bosses’ attitudes, there’s only so much logic you can use with a three-year-old. The rest is pure guesswork, winging it until you hit the next developmental phase (and praying hard that it’s easier, even though it never really is).
I’m an eternal people-pleaser, but motherhood is slowly chipping away at my resolve. This job has made be better at saying no — to my kids, and to other people — and at advocating for my own needs. While this job requires the regular sacrifice of, and loss of control over, my own time, energy, and personal space, I am steadily shedding the martyr mindset that denies me any joy, or comfort. I’m leaning more on my partner, actively seeking out friends, jogging one glorious day each week, and going to church again. I’m admitting when I need a short break before I reach my boiling point. I’m practicing self-care, and making the tiniest of adjustments to my environment, just enough to stay afloat above the growing sea of bitterness and resignation.
Parenting is fraught with choices, for your kids, for yourself.
Nothing is more important than the choice you make regarding your attitude.
My default mode is to resent these little beings that I myself made, and suffer through these next several years as an angry and disjointed person. I can’t imagine brighter days. All I see is the steepness of the hill I have yet to climb. But, more than anything, I want my kids to say they had a strong, dedicated mom. So, I pray hard, try to eat healthy, go to bed early, struggle to keep my body, mind, and spirit strong, because choosing a different attitude doesn’t come naturally. And it may not come naturally to you, either, but you have choices. WE have choices. Try like hell to make the right ones for you. I’ll see you (but you won’t see me) in the spice aisle.