Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keep Calm and Carry On

I don't often editorialize on this blog (or any other blog for that matter), but I'm fairly sure Allison is tired of me calling her to complain. Did I say complain? I meant discuss this issue. Which is: I'm not sure I like being a mom. Now, let's quantify that statement: I don't feel like that everyday, I don't hate being a mom, and I'm far from resenting my offspring or spouse for my position.

I've been reluctant to post about this because I don't want people to think that I hate my life. Also, I'm pretty positive by nature, so I don't want people to think that I have this secret depressario alternate personality. But, I thought it might encourage some conversation and maybe if there's other moms out there who feel like this, they'll know they're not alone.

Perhaps an illustration. Every Sunday at dinner, we discuss our plans for the week. Tyler had average things he was going to do: work, bike ride, ultimate. I looked over at the calendar and wanted to cry. It was blank. Which meant that my days would be filled with Sesame Street, laundry, grocery shopping, reading some fabulous literature like Mail Harry to the Moon, our current favorite, and for extra fun, cleaning the bathrooms. I realize that these are things that all SAHMs do. The question is, why are all these other moms doing it with a smile and talking about how much they love being at home with their kids? If Motherhood is my divine destiny and the 'highest, holiest calling,' then why don't I like it more?

I think this feeling is a combination of factors that all surround our move to Tucson. I've moved before and lived far away from family, but I've never moved to a place where I didn't have at least one friend. Thus, I've never had to start from scratch at this friend-making business. I have made some friends here, but for some reason, it's been harder than I thought. This plus going from being a full-time student and mom to being full-time mom was a bit of a shocker.

Another stop of this pity train is the fact that I see so much less of Tyler nowadays. When we were both in school, I dreamed of the day when we would just be able to enjoy each other's company without one of us having to run off to lab or hole up in the library to write a paper. The realitiy is that I see Tyler way less now than I did when we were full-time students. We lived close to campus so there were many times where Tyler would pop home for lunch, or for an hour or two between classes. Now, his office is 40 minutes away by bus, so there's no popping; we take him to the bus stop at 7:30 and pick him up at 5:30. That's 10 hours of me and Lillian time. Just me and Lillian. I think often of my own mother who was left home with multiple little kids for months at a time and wonder at how she kept a positive attitude. I asked her about it once and she said, "well, I just did it, I had no other choice."

Oh yeah, and I'm 8 months pregnant, and I live with a moody 2-year old.

After talking with a few moms, the most popular solution to this motherhood-induced ennui is to get out more. Whether that means being more organized and getting together with other moms and kids more often during the week (this is something I'm notoriously bad at; I'm horrible at calling people and setting up playdates, and I have a notion that people are much busier than I am and that I'm bugging them, somehow) or going to work part time (which is not an option for me at this exact point in time).

Maybe I need a hobby. I read (a lot) and sew and bake and go for walks and do crossword puzzles and of course do mom and kid things, but something inside me feels like, "is that it? Is this my life?" Perhaps all mothers of young children feel like this, that it will never end. What did that forward mom sent around say? "I feel like my hands have disappeared into peanut butter never to be seen again."

Phew, I already feel better; this was very therapeutic. And Lillian is tickling her own feet and laughing histerically. Who can stay in a bad mood with that sort of thing going on?


krissiecook said...

I feel you, sister. Going from my very well established life in SB with family and friends and a full time job to stay-at-home mom in the admittedly crazy state of Florida has been a shocker. Like you, I have not been as good as I thought I'd be at starting a new friend base from scratch.
I will admit that I do get out lots, because it makes Stellan happier and easier to deal with, but I'm not good at the organizing either. Mostly we just walk to the park or the library or go the science center. After several months of this, I'm starting to make friends with other moms I've seen there repeatedly. So that's nice.
Another thing that's helped is that I picked up a very part time (10 hours a month) job I can do from home while Stellan is napping. It gives me some purpose.
I'd be grateful to hear from some other moms who seem to be thriving more than Amanda and I are. Anyone?

Anne & Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bridget said...

FYI, Miriam and I (and Magdalena - she always tags along) will be at the Storytime Village extravaganza tomorrow at the main library downtown. We went last year and it was lots of fun. Well, a way to kill a few hours on a Saturday, anyway. You should go.

It gets better when you have two kids. At least it did for me. Then you don't even try to get stuff done - you just know you won't and so you're happier for not trying and not failing. This is my reality. :)

Hang in there.

Bluebell said...

This is an interesting topic. I've been a mom for almost seven years now, and having another kid certainly didn't make it 'better'. Busier, perhaps, but that doesn't change anything about the laundry and diapers and cleaning except volume, and that not-using-your-brain thing is always a problem. I have found that it is important for me to be more involved and network with other moms (and sometimes, honestly, that just means doing my visiting teaching and having a good laugh/cry with another woman) but it's also important to find my own sense of purpose, within and without motherhood, which for me personally has been going to choir in Washington one night a week plus concerts and taking a class at the community college just for fun every once in a while. The happiness within motherhood part comes and goes. I relish those moments when we're rolling on the trampoline, wrestling and tickling and giggling, but the tantrums and screaming and defiance and whining and complaining seem to outnumber those golden moments. Sigh. I liked President Uchdorf's talk at RS conf (Happiness, Your Heritage). I wish there was a magic answer. I have found it to be a continual struggle, but one that has helped me really deepen my understanding of myself and what's important to me, etc. etc. Another thing I like to keep in mind is something Sister Greenwood told me years ago. She said that whenever you move, it takes a YEAR to feel really connected and established in your ward/community. I'm sure that varies from person to person and I have seen women come into a ward and just slide right in, but it has certainly been true for me. Not very encouraging, I know, but with your winning personality I'm sure you'll attract other cool people. It just takes time. Sorry to be going on and on. I'm a bit of an independent spirit but I really wish we had that community of sisters and cousins for babysitting and woe-sharing and birthdays, especially at this stage in our lives. (Sigh again...) Love you. You're an awesome mom. I've seen you in action. You're an awesome person all around, actually. Hang in there. It will get better.

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