You wake up and look at the clock. It’s five a.m. Why is he awake already? You force yourself out of bed and stumble to your son’s room. He’s crying and reaching for you. You pick him up and sit in the rocker. You rock and you soothe, trying to lull him back to sleep. It’s not working. You start to nurse, hoping that will do the trick. Ouch! He just bit you. Again. Maybe it’s time to stop nursing, you think. He finishes eating and you place him back in his crib. As soon as you step away, the tears begin anew. You sigh as you go back to his crib to pick him up again. I guess it’s time to start my day, you groan.
You pick up the baby’s toys for the umpteenth time today. Your house constantly looks like a disaster area. As soon as you finish putting the toys away, you turn around and it’s like a tornado has torn a path through your living room. It never ends. Your son starts to cry because the dog knocked him over. You pick him up and shout, Go lay down! to your pup. Why is she always in the way?, you think.
You look up at the clock. It’s five p.m. Where is he?, you wonder. You bounce the baby on your hip – he’s been crying ALL. DAY. LONG. Your husband walks in the front door and asks how your day was. You roll your eyes and tell him it was fine. He doesn’t get it, you think. He plops himself in the recliner and turns on his favorite show. No, it’s fine. Don’t worry about helping me, you tell yourself. You finish dinner and get the baby down for the night. You sit across from your husband and talk about your days. “What happened in the living room? It’s a mess!”, he remarks. He said this innocently. He was just joking around. He doesn’t really care about the toys on the floor. You know all this and yet… WHY DON’T YOU CLEAN IT YOURSELF THEN?!, you yell as you storm out of the room. You just can’t take it anymore.
Becoming a mother makes you more in touch with your emotions. Maybe it’s the hormones, maybe it’s the exhaustion, maybe it’s something in between or some twisted combination of the two. Whatever it is, it feels like you are constantly carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and no one understands what you’re going through.
But I do. I get it. I am right there in the thick of it with you. I have never considered myself an emotional person. I’ve actually always been extremely non-confrontational. Probably to a fault. And yet, becoming a mother has only heightened my feelings of inadequacy, exhaustion, and resentfulness. And the weight of those emotions is heavy. When you are exhausted and surrounded by diapers, toys, and tears, it can start to weigh you down. It feels as if the world is chipping away at you and all that is left are your very fragile emotions. And anger. Oh, the anger. Anger feels like a constant companion of mine, my shadow, my invisible friend. Some days I feel as if I am walking around with this devil on my shoulder letting the weight of it all pin me down. I feel the anger coming in like the tide throughout the day and I cringe as it crashes down on my castle. I feel the tension in my home and hear the anger in my voice. I bristle at my husband’s touch and dread my son’s cries. But there’s nothing I can do. It’s like I’m the invisible friend, the shadow. It’s as if I’m standing outside of myself watching my anger unfold and I am helpless to stop it. It all just feels too much sometimes.
Now don’t get me wrong – becoming a mother has made me feel everything deeper than I ever did before. I love more, I laugh more, and I am incredibly grateful for the life I live. But with the good comes the bad. And it’s a constant struggle. I remind myself every day to appreciate the good, to be grateful for the life I lead, and to just breath and let it all go. But it’s a learning curve, a lesson in patience, and one that I am still trying to master. Motherhood has certainly forced me to grow and I grow more into this role everyday. And with that growth comes more emotions – confidence, love, happiness.
The good starts to outgrow the bad and hope begins to spread. It will all be okay, mamas. We all outgrow our invisible friends someday and the light always shines on our shadows.