Thursday, February 9, 2012

one of each

Here's what I overhear verbatim while washing dishes after making chili this afternoon.

(Girl Child - age 5yrs 5mo
Boy Child - age 3yrs 11mo.)

They make me think of two different productions sharing the same actors lot. Frances and Clark use each other as placeholders, warm bodies, almost like the other isn't speaking at all. Can you tell who is who?

Do you want to buy some cake? I also have lovely muffins. What would you like?

Pretend she's flying over the town and then she turns into a monster.

Do you want a wedding cake or a beautiful birthday cake?

I used to be a princess but now I'm a mermaid who swims underwater fast. I do go to a lot of weddings.

So a wedding cake, then?

Yeah, a wedding cake.

You can sit right here at this table and eat your cake. Would you like a piece of birthday cake too?

And then the city got swept up. Sheblam!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

truth telling

Have you read this blog yet? It's just recently gone viral. I've been sent links to it a couple of times but only recently explored past those specific posts. It's got me thinking. Thinking about my purpose as a mom, as a human, and about the purpose of this here blog of my own. Because the truth telling issue (as in this post) is the point of my blog too. I believe that truth telling can be revolutionary. When I started the blog it was because, as a new mom, I felt SO MUCH PRESSURE to feel specific things ("Isn't it WONDERFUL? Don't you just LOVE being a mom?") and some of them, dammit, I wasn't feeling. Sometimes I didn't just love it, sometimes I felt exhausted and overwhelmed and trapped. And doomed. It's a sinking feeling, doom. There's no air there. And when I expressed these feelings out loud, other moms opened their eyes wide in shock that I would dare utter it, and then they nodded and shared their feelings of doom too, and their feelings of inadequacy for feeling doomed in the first place. Like something was wrong with them, with us, for not feeling what we were "supposed" to be feeling a hundred percent of the time.

I decided it needed saying, the truth. I needed to explore how to do this seemingly impossible mom thing. There was some time, early on when I had a smidge of postpartum depression, when I worried I simply did not have the stamina to do it, to be a mom. Where would I get the inner resources? But they're there; they're there. Sometimes the way is dark and foggy, and it's frightening.

But lately I feel the blog has stalled. My babies aren't babies anymore; they're little children now. And dealing with them takes different resources, ones I'm not sure I'm able to convey well here. Now, instead of exhaustion and spit up and exploding diapers, we have relationships. Relationships by their very nature are complicated. When you have relationships rather than techniques, the issues become the realm of fiction, of poetry and rhyme. Only, I'm not in the fiction writing business these days. (Though, you may or may not know, that is my degree: fiction writing. Still, I'm out of the business for now.)

So what does this blog mean to me now? What is its purpose? And - one big thing - do I still tell the truth here? Sometimes I don't. My friend Erynn calls me when I go too long between posts, because she knows that means I'm not doing so well. During those times, often my mom experiences are ones I don't want to write about. When I scream hysterically at my kids, when I completely lose my patience, when I feel like the job I'm doing is not good enough. But maybe they are exactly the ones I should be writing about. I don't know.

Like last Sunday. Mitch and I had an argument the night before and then Sunday morning he left for work. I don't know why it undid me so, but it did. I spent most of the morning trying not to cry, then thought going out in the world would help, so I loaded everyone up in the car. The kids were just being themselves, not overly loud but certainly not quiet; laughing and playing as they waited for me in their seats, but it was too much for me. As I got in the car Clark said, "MAMA! CAN YOU TURN ON THE KID MUSIC?" and I just lost control of myself. I spun around like a complete crazy person and shrieked "NO! I CANNOT! I CANNOT TURN ON THE KID MUSIC! I CANNOT!!!" then immediately got out of the car and burst into tears. But not before I saw the looks on their faces.

After such behavior on my part, there's so much self loathing. I'm a bad mom, I'm a bad human, I don't know how to function in basic social ways, how can I possibly be allowed to be in charge of other small helpless humans? I'm supposed to be teaching (modeling!) them how to behave in this world, forcryingoutloud.

So there it is. The things I'm dealing with these days. And even when I'm not publishing here, I'm still writing. Often writing and then deleting, or writing but never publishing. Or at least thinking about writing even when I instead play yet another game of Bejeweled Blitz. I've gotten it together enough that I'm not bursting into tears daily, thank goodness.

The same blog listed above has another post that I can't put my finger on right now, but in it she talks about what she calls "mommy meltdown", a dramatic bout of weeping in which you complain that you just can't take it anymoooore. In her house, she claims, it happens about once a week. I do not have mommy meltdowns. I simply feel overwhelmed and it builds in me and builds in me until it bursts out in anger, sometimes actual rage, or at least certainty (and then some form of pathetic resignation) that my life is horrible and I'm trapped in it forever. Then I remember the families I saw in huts in India last summer, which just makes me feel spoiled but no less depressed or trapped. What occurs to me now is that a mommy meltdown could be just the thing I need. If I had a weekly release of melodrama in the form of tears I could possibly avoid the rage that I generally direct at my family, poor undeserving creatures that they are. I always fear my rage does immeasurable damage to my children, but Mitch feels it does not; its damage will come in the deterioration of my relationship with the kids. And THAT thought makes me sad beyond measure.

I wonder if I can implement regular meltdowns, perhaps schedule them in. Country music may have to be involved. Oh, and here's the blog post I mention above - found it.