Monday, February 27, 2006

I'm Tired: A Mother's Vent

I'm tired.

I'm feel very grumpy and bitchy and out-of-sorts lately. I think I'm sick of my life. I've been home with the kids for nearly 5 years now, and it's taking it's toll. I'm feeling very conflicted. All in all, I have it good. I know that. We're healthy. The kids are good kids. I have a strong marriage. I have good friends. And yet... yet... I can't help but feel a bit frustrated in my role and I'm not sure what to do about it. Hence the conflict. It doesn't help that I'm pre-menstrual, I'm sure, but the feelings are there even when I'm not.

I'm tired of my kids and the endless neediness of them. Is it wrong to admit that? Lately I'm just not feeling like I'm enjoying them like I should be. I feel like I can't wait for naptime and/or bedtime so I can finally get a break from them. I find myself finding ways to simply co-exist with them vs. truly interacting in meaningful ways. I find that I want to escape - a lot.

I'm tired of driving up to Portland so frequently. Which is nothing compared to what Mr. Chick has had to do for the past 9+ months, but still - ! It's a total chore.

I'm tired of looking at houses without Mr. Chick and with the kids. It's hard to look at houses when you have two young kids in tow. Especially houses that aren't vacant. You spend more time making sure they don't break something or touch something they shouldn't than really looking at the house itself. It's made the whole house-hunt more unpleasant than it should be.

I'm tired of housework. The endless repetition and futility of it.

I'm tired of not being able to soak in the hottub my myself. If the kids are awake, they come in with me. If they're in bed, Mr. Chick comes in with me. Sometimes, I just want to be in there alone.

I'm tired of the piles of mail/paper/general crap that accumulates DAILY on my kitchen counter. I blame Mr. Chick for most of it.

I'm tired of all the clothes in the living room. WHY must the kids and Mr. Chick shed clothes in there vs. bedrooms??

I'm tired of constantly feeling like I have weight to lose. I've been running a lot more for the past 2 months and yet no real weight loss has resulted. Of course, continuing to occasionally binge on sweets and sabotage the progress doesn't help matters any.

I'm tired of feeling like my career choices are limited. I'm educated w/ good experience in both sales and marketing, and yet I don't really want to return to those fields, despite the lure of decent money, mostly because you can't really do that successfully on a part-time basis. And I'm just not wild about working the kinds of jobs you can find PT (i.e. lame retail and/or entry-level kind of public/customer service). That kind of work would barely cover the babysitter, so what's the point? I'm not ready to leave my kids for a full-time job, yet my options for PT are sub-par, so I feel stuck. I'm tired of feeling stuck.

I'm tired of endless bad hair days. My bangs are mostly grown out now but I remain unconvinced that it's a good look for me. My curls in the front aren't as nice as the ones in the back, so overall my hair isn't working. It looks good for 1/2 - 2/3 of the day and then it goes in the dumper and I end up pulling it back. And since I don't wash my hair everyday, it looks like shit waaayyy more than it looks good. I'm tired of that.

I'm tired of feeling like I have to be miserly every minute of the day. Nicholas needed new shoes (had been wearing hand-me-down shoes that finally gave out), so we went shopping for new ones. The stores we hit? Target and Payless Shoe Source. I ended up buying him a pair that cost $17.49 at Payless - the most expensive choice - and find myself feeling slightly guilty for going with that pair vs. the pair at Target for $14.99. What's wrong with me?? Payless was having a Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off sale, and even at only $12 I couldn't justify a new pair of shoes for myself. I pretty much wear the same pair of black shoes everyday. I'm tired of that, too.

Also? Since we were at the crappy mall today for the shoes I ended up treating the kids to lunch at the food court. They each got a kids meal from either Carl's Jr. or Taco Time. I went without lunch because I didn't want to pay $5. Instead I ate some leftover rice at 4pm when we got home. The big score for the day? Taking the kids to a movie at the "cheap" theater at the same mall. Because we went to the first showing of the day it only cost $.50 per person to get in. That's right: $1.50 in total for me to take the kids to Chicken Little. I'm tired of feeling cheap.

I'm tired of Mr. Chick being gone so much. Law school was one thing, but his days are just as long or longer now as they were then. He stays overnight in Portland on average of 1x/week for convenience. I'm tired of so much solo parenting. He leaves right after we all get up in the morning, and gets home right before bed, if then. I end up having to do breakfast/lunch/dinner/bedtime by myself more often than not. That takes a toll. Maybe that's why I'm sick of my kids: too much time together.

I think I want a vacation from my life. From the drudgery of it. From the sameness. I want time for me. I don't know what I want to do per se, but I'm finding that I just want to be alone. I don't want anyone hassling me for something. I want to veg in front of the tv. I don't want to pick up a room only to come back a few minutes later and see it all wrecked again. I want a reason to look nice. I want to be selfish without the guilt. I want to be flirted with. I want an adventure. I want a job I feel motivated and passionate about. Right now, I don't feel that about my "job" (aka SAHM). I don't know that I ever have, in truth. I believe strongly in staying home with the kids - at least while they're little - because I think it's for their benefit. But I don't love it. I love them, but I don't love the sacrifice staying home requires. It's worth it in the end, and I'm good at it, but it's hard. And instead of finding it personally enriching I'm lately finding it soul-sucking. I need personal enrichment.

I'm tired of changing diapers. Lauren is nowhere near ready for potty training yet.

I'm tired of all the fucking rain we're having.

I'm tired of being in limbo. Mr. Chick is still looking for work as an attorney nearly 10 months after graduating law school, although he's very close (finally!) to an offer with a good firm. I'll believe it when I see it.

I'm tired of having no vision for my life.

I'm tired. Period. I need a break from me. Any suggestions?

I wish I had some suggestions MP, but I know you are already doing everything that I would suggest. I relate to this entry so very much, only you put it into words far better than I ever could.

Kevin is gone from 5:30 am until 6 - 7 pm, 5 days a week. My kids have always always been early risers so they are usually awake around 6 ish. He frequently has week long trips, a lot of which are just thrown at us.

Its been so hard. So hard. And the sickness we have had? Well its made it 100% harder.

I can't even tell you how much I relate to this. I NEED and want a pt job but with a traveling husband and no family who could or want to help out, I don't know what I would do in the evenings when I have to work but Kevin is out of town again.

I am actually strongly considering going back to work full time, many days I think me and the kids would be happier. If I am wrong, I can always quit and I will quit but you never know until you try. PT would be my ideal but thats not an option for me.

Just wanted you to know how much I appreciated this entry. Thank you.

Hang in there babe, I know that's what I am doing. Sometimes thats all we can do.

MP You are not alone.. remember that.. SAHM burnout is more common than you think
many silent and suffering mothers.
WIth my 3 year old going for kiddie skool once a week helps and the fact that I started freelance writing for a couple extra bucks helps too. But hear your on ALL of it!

Keep the Faith.. I do it "For the love of Family.. (as I titled my blog) This phase doesn't last forever even though it feels like it does, your kids wil be grown and gone sooner than u can be ready for.
You are a complainer. You simply whine. You probably have one of the best lives out in blog land,
a husband lawyer, a rich lifestyle, a good family, your own family, no committments to work,
easily put down other's jobs.

Maybe you should return the fancy panties and get your self some shoes. You whine so much and complain. So you wear this huge diamond ring and your kids wears second hand shoes. Your disgusting.

Get a reality check richie. You stay at home mom's are such complainers.
Both working and staying at home is hard and both can bring bad days. MP has the right to vent, and you anon have the right to not read if you have such a problem with her.

Last time I checked stay at home moms AND working moms both complain. Yes, even working moms who CHOOSE to work, COMPLAIN. Mothering is hard, whether you stay home or work outside the home. Plain and simple.
I'm not sure whether to be offended or complimented. You think I have a great life? I take that as a compliment - thank you. And you're right - I DO have a great life. I admit that here, and I stated that in my post. I don't hide that I know I have it good. I'm a very fortunate person who has the advantage of OPTIONS. Granted. But does the fact that you think I have it so good take away my right to vent frustrations? Do I forfeit my right to complain every once in awhile because you think I live a charmed life? Am I not entitled to my feelings? Or maybe it's the expression of my feelings that you so object to.

Yes, I have a nice diamond from my husband. IT WAS A GIFT! He bought it YEARS before actually giving it to me, back when we were both working and didn't have kids yet. Don't begrudge me a gift from my husband. And on the topic of my husband, yes, he's a lawyer WHO DOESN'T YET HAVE A JOB AS ONE AND IS WORKING PART TIME TO SUPPORT THE FAMILY. Part time. He doesn't even get full-time hours right now. He doesn't have health insurance. He drives a beat-up car that's 16 years old with over 200k miles on it. And for 3 years prior to that he was a full-time student. Working 2 PT jobs and taking student loans. You do the math. Oh yes, we're rich all right.

And yes, my children wear hand-me-down clothes. And so do I. Part of WHY I have the options I have in my life is because we do live frugally. We made some smart choices when we were both making decent incomes that set us up for these past 4 years so I *could* stay home full time and my husband could go back to school. We are able to buy the house we're buying simply because we've owned homes in the past and you'd have to live in a vacuum not to know how well real estate has done. We've rolled over any and all appreciation from the houses we've had into the next one and ridden the bubble. You can't fault economics. We're grown-up's who believe in a concept called "Delayed Gratification". Look it up. We're sacrificing now so we won't have to later. But sometimes the sacrificing part is hard, even though it's your choice. And that's all I was venting about.

I think most people start to wish for changes in their lives. I'm no different. I'm going through a tough time at the moment and felt the need to vent a little. It's been a long road for us and I'm longing for the end of this chapter. I'm sorry if you can't identify with my emotions, but I don't write my blog for you, I write it for me. And you can only cast stones at someone else if you've never done/felt the same. You've never bitched about something to a friend or family member? You're life is just as you want it to be at all times? You never get frustrated? My hat is off to you if that's the case. It must be great being you.

And I think I probably speak for most SAHM's when I take objection over your gross generalization that we, as a group, are a bunch of complainers. It's impossible to say such a thing. I think it's normal for HUMANS to complain sometimes. Life gets hard sometimes, whether you work out of the home or stay home with children. Being one or the other doens't exempt you from going through tough times. I believe it's important for moms to support other moms, regardless of whether they're home or not. I have friends who stay home, friends who work, and friends who do both by only working PT. Know what they have in common? They're women and they have kids. Everyone deserves respect. Even me, and even you.
Oh, MP you are so right! I am currently typing this post one-handed since the other is holding my 9 month old sick baby! Am I tired of it? You bet! My husband also is never home. He leaves by 6AM and is home by 7Pm if I'm lucky. He used to be in public accounting and was never home 4 months during the year, hence why he is in the private sector now. Yah, it was supposed to make things better. Yah... SUPPOSED TO. I, too, have been dreaming of going back to work. I too LOVE my children, but I don't always love being with them. I relate to so much of your post. The cleaning that only gets messed up, having to take two kids everywhere with me, having no alone time....Thank you for saying what I've been thinking. I am also thankful for having the ability to have CHOICES, but that doesn't mean I enjoy my life 100 percent of the time! Who does??? Sometimes I find myself envying my husband and his life. I know it's hard working and driving so much, but some days I feel like my head is going to explode if I hear any more whining or the word NO being said.

You have waited, patiently I might add, for your husband's schooling to be done and it is time you guys got a break and a job was offered to him. Enough already! You deserve to be able to splurge every so often on YOURSELF, not just the kids.
Hang in there, and know that you are not alone!
Well said, MP! (Both in your blog and in your comments to "Anonymous"). I don't care if someone has everything they have ever wished or worked hard for, they are not always going to be perfectly happy. Being a working mom or a sahm or a wahm is hard. Period. It's a juggling act and sometimes we drop a ball. When I drop a ball I just hope it doesn't hit me in the head or I trip over it and break my neck.

MP, I applaud and highly respect you for making sacrifices that most of us, including me, are not strong enough to make. I have made many many sacrifices since Bill left his corporate job to start his own company. But reading your post made me realize there are still areas I could cut, like spending less on meat. We have been without insurance since last July when Bill quit his job. I can't tell you how relieved I was when I opened an envelope yesterday and saw our brand new insurance cards. Finally we have insurance again (that we are paying for completely out of our pockets because we are both self employed- it costs a fortune!!)! I work from home and telecommute to the main office (I am an independent contractor in merchant services). I schedule appointments with clients during the day when Alaina is in school. I can't tell you how much of a luxury that is! Right now is hard for you because the kids are very young. It gets sooooo much easier when they are in school! You are human and entitled and justified in your frustration. Things are falling into place that will make life so much easier for you and your family. Mr. Chick is going to get this job. You are moving in just a few weeks to a house that is bigger so you can have your space and be closer to his job. He will be home more since he won't be spending so much time on the road. You don't have to drag the kids with you looking at any more houses.

I've moved 14 times in 13 years. Yes, you read that right! And yes, many of those moves happened while Alaina was a young child. The thing that helped me survive was taking "sanity breaks". I made friends with a lady who happened to run a daycare in her home. She took care of Alaina one afternoon a week so I could have time to myself. I could run to the store, clean the house, sleep, exercise....whatever I wanted. And she got to make friends and learn things in a group setting where I knew she was safe and happy and very well taken care of. If it's possible for you to do the same, I highly recommend it. You are under alot of stress right now but you need to find time for yourself. You (and the family) will survive. I can guarantee it.

On lighter note, I was thinking since you can't buy anything for the new house, you can use the panties you don't like as wall decorations to really "personalize" the place lol!
Ignore anonymous. I hate it when people act like if you are not 100% happy all the time you are a complainer.

I, personally, think a part time job would be a good thing for you. As you said, it may only cover a sitter, but it would help you get that break. We all need it. There are more and more PT jobs out there -- maybe send out some resumes and cover letters and see if you get any bites. You won't make as much money, you won't be on a good "promotional" track, but you may find the balance very satisfying.

I can't spend 24/7 with anyone -- even my kids. Seriously, why is that expected of SAHMs? Could anyone spend 24/7 at the same job?? Like if we don't go out to work we don't deserve a break. I am both a SAHM and a WAHM and I look forward to this fall when Tess starts at a dayhome two days a week like Sam did. Sam will be in preschool those days. I will get to do what I was trained to do, and still spend the majority of the time with my kids. I feel very lucky to be able to do that!

I think it sounds like you are struggling for balance, and I sure hope you find it!

MP - I found your blog one day as I was purusing through some of the former iParenting folks and have checked in from time to time. My husband finished law school a little over a year ago. I have to say that I couldn't be more shocked by how close we continue to live to the bone with two pretty decent incomes. All of those things we put off during law school - home repairs, vacations, clothing purchases, evenings out.... have a way of catching up sooner or later. Not to mention trying to pay off the student loans as quickly as possible. We joke (haha) that everything is $500. Car needs repair - $500, flood in the basement due to a malfunctioning water heater - $500 deductible, 15 year old washing machine finally gives up - $500... Admittedly we are living with a very broad definition of what constitutes a necessity, but there is little room in the budget for anything but necessities.

Anyway, I comment to tell you that I can empathize with your frustrations - mine have some similarities. You've made your choices together, you feel good about those choices and proud of the life you've made for yourself and your family, but it doesn't make the frustrating parts less discouraging.

I think I put a lot into getting through the three years of my husbands law school and was kind of shocked to discover that wasn't the 'end.'

Good luck and keep your chin up girl.

Kate (in limbo with iParenting)
Sorry Mp you got a jerky comment when you were simply venting like we all do from time to time. Just ignore.

Vent away MP - it is YOUR blog afterall! Sorry your having a hard time right now. Things will get better. It is hard to be around little needy kids all the time. But, you and your family have a lot to look forward to and hopefully that will help you feel better (after the stress of moving is over)!!!

Hope your hubby gets the job!

Amen, MP.

I just wrote a similar entry at BGB.

PS- Anonymous: you should spend more time learning about the difference between "your and you're" before you leave lame comments.
Ignore Anonymous. :(
MP- Nanjowe said it best.
Keep the faith.
The grass always seems greener on the other side... and guess what it hardly ever is... If we seem like a bunch complainers then forgive us for being human and having feelings and wanting to be heard...
WHen I think about ALL that you have been through over the past few years.. you are allowed to vent and after all this is YOUR blog. No explanations needed.
You KNOW I know how you feel. I frequently refer to myself as a single parent because in all reality, with Ted out of town working for 2 weeks and home a few days, that is what I am.
Complain to your heart's content. Notice that we ALL know exactly where you are coming from. (OK, all but "Susie Sunshine" that has the perfect life)
Keep your chin up. You'll figure it out.
I think in general women who work and stay at home have it tough, because usually its done with the all or nothing attitude we've been told, is the only way to live. Being a good mom doesn't mean staying at home with them 24/7 it also doesn't mean working long hours and avoiding them.

Being a good mom means honesty at the issues that drive all of us women crazy, like laundry, the never ending laundry, deadlines at work, co-workers, churn in companies etc. etc.

I don't think your a whiner, because you always have a good way at looking at your life good and bad, and you ALWAYs discuss both which I think is important.

I'm one of those rare women who are 100% happy with my choice, don't get me wrong its not easy or a walk in the park, but I've never wavered.

What *our* family did do though, is have dh stay at home for 2.5 years and do the majority of care for the kids instead of going the route of daycare. It was fabulous, he saw the pressure of staying at home, and i appreciated how he made the commitment to our family and children.

I always struggle why its expected for the woman to stay at home, why not the man, I mean why not?? It might not be the case in your home, as your dh has just graduated, but consider it a few years done the road. It was a great blessing for our family.

I think if you believe having a pt job will work go for it. People always make excuses for why the can't do pt. I think it can be done, and done well. There are many jobs that are around that don't require long hours that someone with your skills could do. How bout technical writing, which you could do from home, or subbing for an admin etc.

I say take it easy, take a deep breath and review the situation when your feeling less down. I think your a good mom, everyone who puts such thought and effort into mothering is...

ps. I think there is nothing wrong with buying second hand clothes, we do and we aren't scrimping or on a budget, its just good sense.

Hey MP -

BRAVO for the honesty!! I hear you - and I had an idea as I read the ending to your post - RE: Vacation....I admit that I watch the EX show "7th Heaven" and there was this episode where the mom finally has enough of styaing home and having to do everything, so she arranges to go to a hotel for the weekend....just her, no kids. Of course, in her world, her hotel was on the beach - but still 48 hours away could be perfect....That idea has ALWAYS appealed to me.

Could you arrange a weekend like that where it is for sure Mr. Chick is in town and will be Mr. Full Time Dad for 48 hours?

I think you deserve it....

Talk soon!
ok...tat was supposed to say FOX....not EX lol

I. Need. Bed.
I could have written that post. I'm in a major rut, myself. Bored to tears. Yet I love being with the kids. Yet my husband is working all. the. time. and has little to give at the end of the day just when I'm the neediest (is that a word?) Charmed life indeed. It all passes. It's more good than bad but we're entitled to a vent every now and then. I mean, GEEZ.

Thanks for writing this.
MP, I feel your pain. I'm 41 with no college degree (11 yrs in Air Force though) on second marriage to successful guy with Master's degree that travels. I have an 18 yr old that lives with us that he will never care for but is a great daughter and a 14 yr old son that chose to go back with his dad after living with us for one yr. My husband has a son that is his favorite that lives with us. We have a 3 yr old daughter together. I have stayed at home for 5 yrs and have lost my identity. The strong woman that existed no longer does. I feel that I live through my husband and his life at work. I mention going to work but he continually tells me to just stay home until our youngest is in school. Thankfully I have taught aerobics for 20 yrs & became a personal trainer. I had given this up until recently because of stress between him & my kids. I decided not to tell him and enter my info on a website. I have picked up 2 new clients and finally have a small something for me to feel passionate about again. My oldest daughter works as a teller and goes to community college. She keeps telling me that I would make a great teller...I'm thinking more and more about trying the part time thing. My husband travels to Switzerland every 4-5 wks & other trips in between to other places. I have started taking Golf lessons & finding people to play tennis with me. I can't sit in the back seat for ever and forget my passions. Please don't do that to yourself either. Life is too precious and one day you will will remember all the things that you were passionate about but forgot for everyone else. I am waking up...please don't forget you.
I woke up this morning and wanted to write something to vent my conisistent frustrations as a working mother but I read your page and I didn't have to write anything. I feel exactly the same way...I guess just know that we are all in the same boat. If you lived anywhere near CA, I would suggest going out for drinks.
I feel your pain. I have 2 kids, (almost) 18 and 19, and a husband, and I feel **Fried** as a mother and woman. I am so sick of listening to their whiney needs. I work FT; they collectively call me 11 times a day with their snotty little problems. Both girls are basically good, but lack maturity. My H is needy too. I think as a woman, I need some time alone, would like to get away. If everyone in my house were to up and leave, I'd show em the door.
I don't consider anything MP said as whining.
I have the same life, and I'm poor.
i have 4 kids and have to live with hand me downs and sewing to keep clothes on our back.
anon is just another ugly person who cannot see what it might feel like in someone else's shoes.
money doesn't make happiness.
and to even include that in a comment on your blog was inconsiderate and rude.
i hope you get a break soon hun.
oh and the bath part is totally right. i haven't had a serious soak like that in ages.
someone always needs to use the bathroom.
hang in there and big hugs.

anonymous you are a sore lil Meany head and you need to wear someone else's shoes to understand anything.
Wow. I could have wrote this. Please tell me it gets better. I loved staying home when my kids were babies, but after 5 years I've hit a wall. The boredom, the waiting on others, the freaking neighbors expecting another last minute favor since I don't "work". I am so sick of it all. I too dream of running away for a few days.

I really need a life. I am so sick of making sure everyone else has what they want and need while I sit back and watch on the sidelines. I'm so sick of the endless chaeuffering (which I can't spell today) and picking up.

Thank you, thank you for your honesty. I thought I was the only one who felt this way! I don't have anyone to 'really' talk to...feels like all the Stepford wives live around me and love this shit day after day.

Don't apologize for your venting, I think its healthy and helps other in the same spot!
I can totally relate to everything you've written. I'm a sahm too. I've got a college degree and it sits in my nightstant drawer. My husband is an attorney and gone 2-3days a week. The laundry never EVER seems to get done and I have found myself often sitting at the table with a beer by noon! My son just started school and the stress has definitely lessoned (thank god). I'm tired. I hear you. But I'm not so much tired of my child as I am with my husband who does very little when he's home. I understand he's had a long tiresome week, but to just sit on the sofa and change channels all day? I'm at my wits end! What am I suppose to do? or rather how do I discuss or argue my case with a debating pro? Sorry, I totally got off the subject. I guess i just needed to vent about my husband.

Hi, I realize this post is a few years old, but I just wanted to say that I appreciate the honesty of your post. It semes like a lot of times, SAHMs are afraid to share what they are really thinking and feeling.
I encourage other moms to check out materials by John Rosemond because he does an excellent job of arguing the case for women - yes, even moms! - to have a life of their own.
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