March 28, 2011

The Spring of My Discontent

I have three blog posts in various stages of readiness.  This is the most upbeat and that's not saying much.  I have a week off work and no money to enjoy it.  My children are at daycare because I pay for the whole week and I have to clean the house and get to a doctor's appointment.  I really did not want to repeat last year's Spring Break disappointment but this "vacation" has certainly started out the same way.

Last night I cried myself to sleep because I fervently wish my children had a better mother.   Henry needs me 100% of the time.  He's four, he's curious, he loves to talk and show me things.  He gets incredibly sad when I cannot focus completely on him.  Of course, there are plenty of times that he will do a puzzle or play trains all by himself.  But it seems that those times never coincide with the times I need to complete a task of my own.  Liam is in a class all to himself.  He is incredibly demanding and virtually impossible to please.  He's also quite affectionate when he wants to be.  How much longer will he be small enough for me to hold on my lap?   Each time we snuggle I fear it will be the last.  Liam is  intelligent, curious, loves his brother beyond reason and is the most stubborn personality I've ever encountered.

I have almost no quality time with my children.  Between working full time, commuting twelve hours each week and making sure the boys get enough time with their grandparents, there's nothing left for me.  Nothing except cooking, cleaning, cajoling and crying.  I am their waitress, their laundress and their chauffeur.  When we are home, they see me in the kitchen or laundry room, taking out the garbage or changing their sheets.  But they never see me sitting across from them basking in their presence.  Sure we do crafts.  But honestly, the whole time I'm thinking, I need to clean this up and start dinner.  Sure I read them books at night, but mostly, I hope they choose really short ones because I still have dishes, laundry and work reports to write.  And I'm tired.

This lack of time with my children saddens me.  It is something that no one warns you about when you are building a family.  Maybe things will get better when the weather warms up (it's still in the 30's and snow is forecast for Wednesday).  Winter sure doesn't want to leave these parts.  If it ever does, I'll bring the boys outside and  try my best to ignore all the desperately needed spring yard work. 


  1. I think you are being hard on yourself. I been reading your blog for a while. You sound like a great mom!!!

  2. I am totally there with you, mama. I actually hid one of my kid's fave books the other night under a blanket cuz I was too exhausted to deal with "what's that?" on the last page where there is a Daddy.

    Hang in there. For me, its seasonal. It's been getting better with the slight warming (we got snow yesterday, tho). I'm hoping with real spring comes more relief.

    You really are doing great. It's the little moments they'll remember, not hours of time.

  3. I hear you. When there are two you feel constantly pulled in two directions and it's hard not to feel like you're failing them both all the time. But the truth is you're doing an amazing job and you're a great mother and they are loved and supported. When I have nights like what you're talking about, where I could almost cry myself to sleep from being overwhelmed, I realize I need to take a step back and change something, if even for a day or two. You mentioned time with grandparents. Is there any way you could leave the boys with your grandparents one at a time so you could get some good quality one-on-one time with each of them? I know that helps me. If I get just a little time where I feel like I'm being a focused parent that is focused on fun rather than thinking about the list of chores I need to get done, I feel better. And besides, studies show that play is a great stress reliever. Hopefully they'll be time for that when the weather gets nice. Hang in there. My best friend tells me not to be so hard on myself because then they're this little "you're in survival mode."

  4. I too think you're bing hard on yourself. I have been inspired by you so many time in so many ways.

  5. I hear you. I feel the same way. I fear it is reality with life of two kids as a single mom. But like you, I hope as they get older it will get better. But then there's homework at night and DEAR GOD how are we ever supposed to fit THAT in? :)

  6. Oh, Lara. You are being so hard on yourself! Your post makes me want to cry. I don't have the words to make things all better, but I can tell you that your fears, concerns, and angst are shared by mothers of all kinds, including myself. I suffer from seasonal depression, and it's really an enemy. It prevents us from seeing our true selves and the magic of what's happening around us.
    I like Barb's suggestion. Perhaps switch Sundays for each of the boys with Grandpa, or find some middle ground. And, be selfish. Take more time with them, and less time with the grands for a while. You're the mom, you can do that, and it's OK. :)
    I've never met a mother (single or otherwise) who doesn't harbor guilt, has never cried herself to sleep over it, and who feels that 100% of her time with her kids is (good) enough.
    I know that doesn't lift your mood or dry your tears, but I want you to know that you are a great mom and friend who deserves to hear that more often than she feels it appropriate.

  7. I'm so sorry you feel like your boys need another mom. First, you are not alone. You are just like other SMCs, and maybe many, many moms that have a partner too, from the way I hear them talk sometimes. The fact that all this stuff bothers you is big time proof that you ARE an awesome mom.
    Actually, I'm really glad that you have written about these feelings, because I have them too and don't much hear how anyone else copes. And I have only ONE kid! Sometimes when I read blogs from SMCs I wonder they DO it?? My blog suffered. No postings in a while. I can't keep up!! I bet you're like me. I feel guilt about EVERYthing. There is no me time. I'm so envious when any other mother talks about ANYthing they do with their kids. Seems most moms take time out regularly for a "girls night out" or get a pedicure, or go shopping for anything other than necessary groceries or must-have's for the kids. And when is there time to get a new bra to replace this old one whose elastic lost its abilty to fight gravity so many months ago??? Anyway....enough on my issues. :)
    I like Barb's idea. Allow family or chosen friends to bond with your children and spend some time together while you do what you need to do for you (sometimes vacuum but also something for YOU. Bonding with others is good for your boys and also for those chosen family/friends.
    Have you ever sought out a SMC group in your area? At least you can co-miserate with others that undoubtedly have the same challenges and there is a good chance you will connect with someone who might offer trading off playdates so you can occasionally have a little guilt free time to breathe while your children enjoy themselves. When you can recharge your batteries, I know you will feel like you have a better handle on things and be able to enjoy your time with your boys more--even if it's only momentary until you get to the laundry, or dishes, or vacuuming.
    Bottom line: You are a GREAT mom. You are not alone in your feelings and frustrations. I wish I could give you a big hug.
    I hope writing about your feelings has helped you vent and reduce personal stress, but it's nice to know we are not alone.

  8. OK, so you are the best mom ever. Ever. And your boys couldn't possibly need/want anyone but you.

    I have no solution for the time situation. Work has me in a frenzy lately too - and I worry that I will go and pick her up from daycare and she won't want to come home. Seriously. Or she will forget who I am. There is not enough time. Just isn't.

    Hang in there. You are doing great. Your boys are brilliant.

    Is there any way to scrounge up some extra money to get someone to help you with laundry/cleaning? I did it after I had Rhian - and I was surprised that it didn't cost very much to have someone come once a week. And also surprised at what a difference it made to know that if I left something for a bit - someone would be there in a few days to pick up the slack. Just having that back up was like heaven, and got me to relax about stuff that wasn't getting done.

    Take care.

  9. I understand and can sympathize. I have a 4.5yo daughter and a 2.5yo foster-daughter. I sometimes feel like my daughter is getting the short end of the stick because of the fostering, but i also think she's learning a lot and likes having 'sisters'.

    There NEVER seems to be enough time. Or even when there is... all I want is a little bit of ME time ... and then I feel guilty because I *should* be spending that time with them... after the dishes, laundry (the never-ending-story no one told us about), cleaning, etc, etc, etc... I don't read as many books as I thought I would, even though I'd like to... for the same reason you mentioned. Can you pick a short one please? ;-) Snuggling? My daughter sometimes asks to sleep in Mommy's bed, and I let her since it's not all the time. But she does often come in before I wake up in the mornings, too.

    Try to make the time you do have special... in the ways that YOU and your kids find meaningful... have them help fold wash clothes. Let them help take the clothes to their rooms... one piece at a time. OF course I use the word help loosely... but those are times that they can be *with* you and you're teaching them and talking, too. :) Plus, little ones love *helping* Mommy!!

    I hope spring comes soon!!!

    dd - Mia
    dfd - B

  10. I think most working mothers of young kids feel this way. I am not sure it gets better anytime soon.

  11. Oh, Lara, so sorry you are feeling this way. I can totally relate to your situation even though, I have someone who does the laundry and the dishes for me. And despite all of that, I still feel guilty, that I didn't read the book, that I didn't pay more attention to their play time, that I have little energy to continue playing with my kids. That I would love to take them out to all kinds of events to foster their curiosity, and the fact that money is tight. So sorry, you are going through this. All I can say is that you are an awesome mom. Your kids adore you and will always love you, because you are such a caring mom. You do a million things with them. They will never forget those moments with you. It does not matter what it is, it is the fact that you are there. And this age it tough, they both need you and this age is a demanding one. Try giving yourself something good, dishes can wait in the big scheme of things, pamper yourself just a little. It is important. You are the engine that keeps things moving. Even it if is just laying in bed, and doing nothing for one hour. Listening to music, or reading a book you love, while the kids are with their grandparents. You will find the way, the energy! You are doing a fabulous job raising your kids.