Thursday, April 2, 2009

Doubts

It's been a tough week, here on Mom Street. Did you know that if you start performing the duties of Daddy, that no one comes along and takes over the duties of Mommy? It's true. Just because I'm taking out the trash and giving the baths and reading the bedtime stories doesn't mean that I get out of buying the groceries and cooking the food and doing the dishes and folding the laundry and scheduling the appointments and hiding Easter eggs for the class or any other of the large and small tasks that I perform around here.

I know that lots of moms have it much, much, MUCH worse than I do. Military wives, the wives of truck drivers, of professional athletes all deal with spouses who travel more than mine does. Single-moms have my enduring and utmost respect for managing to hold their families together under the strain of doing it all. But this is my blog, and my story, and this is how I'm feeling today.

Grasshopper and I are both out of our groove when JR is gone, and this time it seems harder than I remember to go it alone. JR says that I always complain this much when he travels, but I don't think so. This time I'm filled with self-doubt, and that makes everything seem worse.

I don't sleep well when I'm alone in our bed, so I've had lots of time over the past few nights to reflect on the job I'm doing as a mother, and to feel that I'm coming up short. It hasn't reached a crisis level, or anything, Grasshopper is clean, well-fed and generally happy. What is scaring me is how little patience I've had for him this week when I feel like I can't get away. He's going to be three soon, so he's a big, bouncing bundle of curiosity that just can't be sated. Usually, I love it. This week, I just want him to For the Love of Pete stop TALKING and go play in his room or the den or somewhere, anywhere that is away from me.

And so I worry that my dream, my goal, of adding another child to our family is unrealistic. That if I can't cope gracefully with ONE child on my own, what in the hell do I think I'm going to do with two? Should I take the failed adoptions that we've suffered through as a sign from the Universe to freaking Give Up Already I'm only supposed to parent one child? Should I accept that the fact that it is so hard to raise this money and go through the process of adopting again because it's not what we're meant to do?

I'm just not sure.

I know that I'm scared. I know that I'm worried that I'll let down my child, my beautiful child, if I try to take on another kid and can't perform any better than this. I know that in many ways, things would be easier if I just gave up now. The money we're saving for the adoption would go a long way towards improving our quality of life if it was spent on other things.

What I don't know is if we can be happy that way. After everything we've been through, after everything we've sacrificed, can we just give up? Will we always regret not trying one last time?

Or worse (so very much worse), will we adopt a child, another beautiful child, and come to regret that? Will I be unable to love him/her as much as I do Grasshopper? Will I let them both down because I'm lazy, or selfish, or whatever it is that's wrong with me that's making this week so hard?

I don't know if other Moms feel this way or if I'm an isolated case, but these doubts have crept insidiously into my head and I don't have then energy to push them out.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. My DH is airline pilot and sometimes I park my two year old in front of the TV just so I can have a second. He also doesn't always nap so I have made a rule that even if he doesn't nap he has to stay in his room to play, lay on the bed, whatever. I wonder how the new baby will rock our already fragile world.

Anna said...

I think all moms feel that way sometimes. I go to work just to get away (well the money is sort of important too), but it gives me time to breathe. Being alone with a kid, and unable to get away from him, even though you love him more than anyone else, is hard. Also, I only have one kid, but everyone I know who has more says you love them all equally, you can't imagine that you will, but you do. Good luck. Oh, and all kids need siblings.(IMO)

Mir said...

Normal. Normal normal normal. Seriously.

And the joy of two (or more) children is that eventually they can entertain each other. Quite honestly, when I first got divorced I thanked my lucky stars every single day that my kids had each other, even when I was feeling like I was doing everything wrong.

Today's a hard day. Tomorrow will be better. I promise.

Manic Mommy said...

You are not alone in this thinking! I think most of us worry about how we're doing in the mothering department and I'd be willing to bet most of us come up short. We remain our own worst critics.

Let me put your mind to ease on one issue: Every mother I know has worried how she could possibly love #2 as much as she loves #1. The answer in every single one of these cases is YES! We are capable of unending love for our children.

You are a good mother if for no other reason than you do worry about these things. It's the moms who feel they're doing it all correctly who get the serial killers.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

First, stop being so hard on yourself. Everything seems far worse when you're not sleeping well. I've been there where you are with the spouse who's gone more than he's home. It's exhausting. But I think you've got a lot going on your plate right now with adoption and the recent losses. You need to be kinder to yourself, you really do.

You're a good mom and you'll do just fine with another baby. Two while hard as I have learned can be doable! No you won't have time to always put away the laundry or make the gourmet meals you used to but everything's a trade off.

Just remember you're only having doubts now because its the scary new place of Two Kids you're thinking about. It won't always be so scary. I promise.

Big hugs and loads of coffee for you (chocolate too if that will help.)

Funnyrunner said...

Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah, there, lady. Much too much self-criticism here for ABSOLUTELY normal thoughts, feelings, and emotions that EVERY single Mom in the entire universe has experienced. This is why these cliches exist; the job of a mother is the MOST DIFFICULT job of any, and no one except a mother can understand. I was once so angry with doing what I perceived as so much more than my husband that I crafted a list of ALL the things for which I was responsible with the kids and the household. The list was 4 pages, single-spaced, double sided pages! He STILL didn't get it! I agree with Andrea about the sleep, too; everything is exacerbated with no sleep. Anna's right, too. Every Mom needs a break from the kid(s) whom she loves with all her heart... she needs to nurture herself first and foremost. You don't realize how true this is (it's not selfish in the slightest bit; rather, it's actually irresponsible to neglect yourself because then it leads to a tailspin that adversely affects everyone around you) until it's a bit late. Mir and Manic Mommy are right, too...you do end up loving the 2nd just as much, miraculously. Though I thought I was ruining my older son's life when we brought my 2nd son into the world, they would be utterly lost without each other. They are best friends (and worst enemies...lol).
So... listen to the wisdom of your fellow women. We all go through the same collective feelings. You are a normal woman in need of some self-nurturing. I love the words of the known poem "Desiderata": "But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

a big hug!! O !!

natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

My readers are *so* damn fabulous. This is the first time I've cried tears that weren't caused by frustration all week!

Thank you for making my day better by taking some of the burden off my shoulders.

I appreciate every single one of you who took the time to tell me that I'm not alone. It means so much.

Funnyrunner said...

You're welcome, girlfriend. We gotta stick together. momming is TOUGH.

Fawn said...

Hi there, Natasha -- I can see that I'm rather too late with the "Yes! We do all have days like this!" and the "At some point, the kids will entertain each other!" and the "SLEEP will help you be sane again!" You DO have fabulous readers. :D

Thanks for visiting me!

talani said...

Stop what your doing and go check the calendar! I think you are getting your period:)
Seriously, don't be so hard on yourself and don't worry about baby#2, Grasshopper will take care of it. That is what older siblings are for. I should know, big sister to 5 :) Okay, that was kind of a joke too. It is 2:41 AM and puke-up/diareha baby just fell asleep. The screamer crashed on his floor about a half hour ago and I am now wide awake, but not necessarily concious, much less concientious.

hayseed said...

Hi Natasha, you've just provided me with a flashback of how I used to feel when my kids were smaller, and my husband was travelling- I never dealt very well with it, and the feelings of being overwhelmed and uncertain about measuring up-so absolutely normal...My advice, if any, is to be kind and patient with yourself, take some time for yourself, and connecting with other moms-support is so important. I didn't always do those things, and I wish I had. All will be well!

Mama Goose said...

Sometimes I CANNOT.WAIT. for Monday... sigh. But it doesn't make me a bad Mama. (does it?) This parenting thing is hard, but for me, it got a little easier once #2 came along. I have a suspicion it will for you too. I hope you've washed away all those doubts today.