Wednesday, July 09, 2008

i'm a sucky mommy

Sometimes, I look around and wonder how I have ever managed to delude myself even for a moment into thinking that I can do this. Alone. The empties in the garage. The flies in the kitchen. Shampooing the carpet. Tidying the various kid paraphernalia from the floor a multitude of times per day. Explaining why hitting isn't a form of communication that I'd like the kids to practice. Driving to playdates. Fixing the screen door. Attending doctor's appointments....All things I did before, but now, I don't think I can do all of it. I have no reprieve. Unless I ask. I am embarassed to ask. Don't want to burden anyone. Help is only temporary anyhow. I feel less guilty if I do it myself. But more burdened.
I want a break. A holiday. How? From what? I only have to come back. I can't escape what has happened. I can't avoid the inevitable responsibilities. I can't eschew the emotions.
I am a sour and foul tempered mother. I want to be alone. I want time to myself. I crave silence. I fantasize about not having to perform these small mundane tasks in an endless cycle. I feel guilty for feeling this way. It makes me want to hold the little ones close and assure them that I do love them so very much. Is there room to love two little people so thoroughly and intensely but to need and desire time away from them and the responsibilities? I feel awful even admitting it. I do. I love them so fiercely. But I am tired. And missing their daddy. And his support.


Rach said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with feeling like that - I have not had this horrible thing happen to me BUT some days I still wish I could run away. I think all mothers would admit it, deep down that sometimes they feel a bit like this, even if it’s for a fleeting moment. I find it amazing that mothers don’t admit to so many things that they are feeling – I know that we don’t want to be failures. At the new mothers group after Minnie was born (she was 4 weeks old) I was the only one that said it was tough, I was exhausted and that at times I didn’t know what to do. All the other new mum’s said it was the best thing they had ever done and they loved every second of it. After the session was over, a couple of mum’s came over and thanked me for being honest – they felt the same but had been to scared or embarrassed to say anything. Sometimes we just have to say stuff and if people think we are loopy, let them think that.

People will want to help, they are probably embarrassed to ask you! Just ask them… Bake a cake and invite them in to help fix whatever needs fixing.

If you even need to get really far away, we live in a lovely part of the world and there is always a spare bed (or 3)….xxx

the puRple gRasshoppeR said...

Dear Jackie,

YOU ARE NOT!!!! you are a fantastic mother, the very best that could've happened to those wee ones. Believe in yourself.. you have it in you. Breath through your seven senses. You NEED to ask for help even if its temporary..there are things that you can't change but there are things that you can even if it takes time and it feels that is not worth it, try to make your life easier by asking for help on the silly things and please !! Don't feel guilty for it..

Last year around November a friend of mine invited me to go to NY, What!!! r u kidding me ? I can't leave my kids I have never left them not even with a baby sitter.. and guess what I went for three days, and I learn sooo much those three days.. I came back with so much more to give .. I don't know Jackie I've never being very good with words ( I guess that is why I do illustrations and not books) but I think that even if you feel guilty you need to take some time for yourself, that won't make you a bad mommy it will make you a stronger Jackie.

I'm sorry if I had said anything that bothered you in this comment, my intention is not to be rude, it really comes from my heart.. wishing you and your wee ones the very best.


Crash Course Widow said...

Would it work to lower your standards? You'll find eventually that you can't do it all and still function even to a minimal standard (or at least that's what I found for myself, and it sounds like what a lot of other young widows I know finally had to accept).

It's really hard to ask for help, I know. And for a while, when I was still functional and numb, I didn't really need it. (But I only had 1 kid, and she was still a baby and easy at that time; 2 kids is a whole different ball of wax.) And later, when I really could have used the help, no one offered anymore. I couldn't do it all as time went on, so I unconsciously picked what was and wasn't important. Cleaning? Not important. Keeping an insanely keep-the-kid-busy-and-happy schedule? Not important. Feeding the kid? Important. Enjoying my time with her (which *didn't* mean I was a good, nonshrewy mother all the time)? Important. Doing the things that helped me to feel better, to cope even just a little bit, so I could be a better parent and person? Critical.

One thing that really helped--and it's probably one of the ONLY reasons why I've had as much sanity as I've had--is to get away from my daughter from time to time. The first 6 months after Charley died I sent her to an in-home daycare for ~4 hours two afternoons a week. When that arrangement ended, she started spending "weekends" at my parents' house every week--staying the night two nights a week. We've been doing that for two years now, and getting that down time, when I didn't have to be Mommy or social or happy or anything at all, was (and is) so very vital.

Do you have any family or close friends who could take the kids on a regular basis? Even if it's just for an afternoon one day a week? I know there's a pull, a guilt (and also an honest desire to be social and around adults) to stay at the playdate and socialize with the mommy/friend, but (from my experience) it's better to have the arrangement set where you *weren't* expected to stay, so you could go get a break. If you wanted to a particular day, great, but it wasn't expected.

Just a thought to explore. I was never a clean freak to begin with, but I've really had to embrace my inner slob/don't-give-a-hoot-if-it's-messy-and-dirty side. But that's just me. I know one widow friend who it helps to have a clean, tidy house; it helps her to give some sense of control over something.

And who knows--maybe it's just enough to admit to yourself that you can't do everything and to stop expecting so much of yourself. You'd like to be able to do everything you could and did before Jeff died, but let's face it--you can't and you won't be able to, for a very, very long time. It sucks and it's annoying as hell, but it seems to be a true fact of widowhood (or at least it has been for me, and a lot of other widows I know).

Hang in there....

Anonymous said...

Dear Jackie: I came across your link through Matt's site and my heart just breaks for you. I need to say there is nothing wrong with needing and wanting time alone. Your children will understand this and you will be a better parent having taken time to yourself. I don't know where you live but I'm pretty sure it's not close to me. If it were I would come over there myself, teenage daughters in tow, and help you out and entertain the kiddos. Everyone needs time to themselves. I didn't always take time for myself or ask when I needed it, but in retrospect I wish I had. I'm more centered after taking a bit of time for myself, even if it is just to take a bath with the door locked for a half hour. I am sure your friends or family who live close would be more than happy to help you catch a break. I wish I were there to give you a hug and be helpful in some way. You deserve a break and I hope you can get one really soon : )

Barb Chivers (Matt's sorta cousin) XO