Pass the Coffee

Holy crap. Being a mom is tiring. I knew it would be, especially once we threw another kid into the mix- but damn. Ugh, pass the coffee, I’m running out of umph.

I have been trying to get my shit together, thinking, maybe if I get all their clothes ready the night before, or, maybe if I buy a planner and actually use it this time, or, maybe if I wake up an hour earlier than everyone else, or, maybe if I meal plan, or, maybe if I construct a “command center” like I see on Pinterest… maybe I can be organized, be on time, be prepared…

At first when you have a baby, people bring you frozen dinners. They offer to watch the baby so you can get a nap. They give you hugs and listen to you cry when your hormones are out of control and your body is changing. They call you asking if you need anything. Sometimes there is so much help being offered that you just want to say, “Just leave me alone with my baby!” But after a while, all that ends, and I don’t really understand why, because the itty bitty baby part is the easy stuff; everything that comes later is the hard shit.

My oldest has started preschool and I divide my lunch breaks into two parts in order to pick her up and drop her off during the day. The youngest is on the verge of walking and is pulling himself up on anything and everything, almost pulling anything not bolted down down on himself if you aren’t watching like a hawk. Between teething and colds, pumping and potty training, birthday parties and bath times, the threenager temper tantrums and head lice going around at school, among so much else the world has been coming at me nonstop like tennis balls shooting out of a tennis ball launcher. And we haven’t even started with stuff like sports or music lessons yet.

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Lately I have been dreaming about calling my sister-in-law and saying, “Hey, could you watch the kids for an hour so I can go to the grocery store?” or calling my mother and asking, “Mom, would I be able to drop the kids off for a while so I can go get a cup of coffee?” Yeah, I know it is something I could do. But I don’t do it. It just feels like I can’t.

Reading other mom blogs online, I know that it is not just me. Other moms feel this way too. Why do moms have such a hard time taking time out and asking for help? Really, why do I?

Why is it so difficult to ask for help? Why does it make me feel like to do so would be like waving a white flag? Is it pride? Is it that I want to look like I have it all together? Is it that I don’t want to tarnish my image? Is it that I don’t want to admit that I am not that mom who can seemingly do it all? Is it that I would feel guilty admitting that I can’t do it all?

My sister-in-law always comments that my house is so neat and organized, while hers feels so chaotic. What she doesn’t know is that I usually stay up maniacally cleaning the night before a family function at my home so that it does look neat and chances are that at any given time there is a large pile of laundry on my bedroom floor. Before my daughter’s recent birthday party I cleaned everything but didn’t have time to sweep and scrub the kitchen and bathroom floors. I felt certain that everyone would eye them, seeing how there were spots, wayward Cheerios, or dryer lint. I was anxious the whole time we had visitors. I know that it is probably all in my head and no one probably noticed, but still I worried.

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My house is never filthy, by any means, but my mother’s home is always spotless and I always feel like I must live up to her example. I try hard to keep up with cleaning, but I swear my kids are the messiest eaters ever. For a couple days I didn’t pick up all the cereal puffs the baby threw under his high chair or the crumbs Abby brushed off the table “helping” me clean. I figured, What the hell. It can wait until tomorrow and I can spend a few extra minutes with the kids before they go to bed. Then I noticed a line of ants coming in some invisible little space in the sliding glass door in the dining room. FML. So I vacuum after supper each night again.

My husband goes out with his friends for a beer some nights after the kids go to bed. I don’t do that kind of thing, mostly because I don’t have anyone to do it with. But if I did, then I would feel guilty because Oscar would give my husband a hard time because he is very attached to me and not want to take a bottle. I would be worried that they would be upset and crying the whole time I am gone. A couple weeks ago I did enroll in a mandala painting class on a Friday evening, determined that I needed to get out and do something for me. I was disappointed that all eight people I had invited had declined and the class was canceled at the last minute. So much for that. I think if I had some sort of

More often than not, me time consists of placing the baby in the pack n’ play and the older kid in front of the TV so I can get a bath. Even then, one kid is usually crying and the other is randomly opening the shower curtain to ask for a snack or to watch a different program on Netflix.

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Remembering doctor appointments, snack days, what time the baby last had Tylenol, what is on the grocery list, and everything else swirling around in my brain feels like I am wearing a weighted vest sometimes and I don’t know how to take it off or make it lighter.

It would be nice if someone would say, “I will play with the kids for half an hour so you can take a walk or clean the bathroom,” or just call to ask, “How are you doing?” A little support goes a long way. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect anyone to do things for me. Maybe I expect too much from myself. Maybe I do too little. Perhaps I unfairly compare my situation to what I see of others’. Maybe I am too hard on myself.

This is my crazy little family, my crazy little world, and I love it… maybe the laundry won’t get done, the dishwasher won’t be unloaded, or I don’t get to take a bath because I am too busy giving the littles one. Maybe it will get easier, maybe I will get better at juggling. Maybe I’ll just drink more coffee!


2 thoughts on “Pass the Coffee

  1. Kish a says:

    I relate. But I actually have asked for help multiple times, and I rarely get a yes. People are too busy or just don’t want to babysit. So, if I’m going to ask, I have to make sure it’s super important.

    My parents only babysit when I’m giving birth. Thank goodness I at least have that. No one else would/could watch my kids for 2 days. (Which is a bit shocking, because between my husband and I, we have 9 siblings, all adults!)

    As far as girls nights, I’m very blessed. I have a great group of women I hang out with in the evenings regularly. Luckily, my husband takes his introvert breaks at home, so I often am able to leave the house for my extrovert breaks.

  2. Claudette says:

    Yes to all of this. I hate asking for help too. When I was in the trenches with younger kids I couldn’t see forward, so much timesuck in the present.

    But here’s the thing. Mine are 10 and 13 now and I do have breaks now. Or. I take them and they have to figure it out. The dynamic changes when they get older, but you won’t see it till it’s here.

    I’m telling you that it will come, I promise! In the meantime, you do what you have to do, even if stuff falls behind or doesn’t get done. 😉

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