Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Losing your shit…and then finding it.

Over the last year, I have been less than a stellar mother. I have been through a lot, and put my kids through a lot as a result. Is it something that I could have changed? No. I did everything I could to be the best mom I could at the time, but losing my brother, my best friend, family issues, a new house, money worries and everything else that comes with everyday life was just more than I could handle. I lost my shit on my myself. I lost my shit on my husband. And I lost my shit on my kids. A lot. More than they ever deserved. And I couldn't help it. No matter how hard I tried.

As a whole, I can say that I often feel like a hollow shell of the person I once was. I feel exhausted, alone, ugly, etc. I look back at old pictures of myself and think, "Wow. Who was that vibrant, beautiful girl?" Because she is most certainly not the same lass that I see in the mirror now. The mirror now unveils a beaten woman with under-eye bags that sag farther than her boobs do. I often feel alone. All the way to my soul. I share this because I think maybe all mothers feel like this. At least sometimes. We all feel tired. And ugly. And alone. And lose our shit now and then.

But I am getting better. Little by little. Day by day. And I am starting to find all of my shit that I lost. And feel whole again. There will always be days when I lose it again. But for now, I am holding on to it a little tighter every day and losing it less and less often. And it will keep being a struggle. But I will keep fighting.

In general, this year has made me wonder: why are all women so hard on themselves? I think that we are all so hard on ourselves because we put too much pressure on ourselves. To never be less than perfect. To never let anything get us down. To never make any mistakes with our kids. To never be human.

As mothers, especially, we feel the need to be super human. We want to be all things to all people at all times and when we fall short, we feel like failures. We have so much to do and so little time that there is no way we can not fall short. Not only do we feel the need to be everything to everyone, but we feel we should never show our real emotions. We shouldn't let people know that we are sad, or angry, or depressed, or…real. But we are real. And we do get sad. And angry. And depressed. And that is OK. In fact, it is more than OK. It is normal.


For anyone out there feeling alone, sad, angry or ANYTHING, just know that I love you. Be kind to yourself. Because even when you feel invisible and like no one in the world cares, I do. I care. And if I could send you a kitten and have it not die in transit, I would.

69 comments:

  1. Sweetie, this is good. Really good.

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  2. I have been through the ringer. I lost a kid, lost my family, got fat, fell apart and yes, lost my shit ....being on the other side of it now? Totally worth it. Great post, you owe me a pony.

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    1. So sorry, CJ. Glad you have found your bearings again.

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    2. You deserve a field of ponies.

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  3. Thanks for the honesty. It's a relief to know that others feel the same stuff (different situations, but similar reactions/outcomes). I'd rather hear about the hard stuff then fluff of how great someeone's life is *supposedly* going, because it just makes other mom's feel worse. Sending you hugs and permission to have an extra bottle of wine!!

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    1. I don't know why we can't all be more honest with each other. The ones who act perfect are the ones that are the least in the long run.

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  4. Glad you're feeling better. I think 2012 was a crappy year for a lot of people. Maybe if I was into horoscopes I'd know why that is. Here's to a much improved 2013!

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  5. Ugh I've lost my shit a lot over the past 3 years and Im finally getting my shit back slowly but surely!! Love this post and your blog!!!

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  7. Being on the other side is a wonderful, wonderful thing...;) Here's to things getting better for a change!

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  8. Refreshing and so true. Is it wrong that I've unfriended anyone on Facebook that seems too perfect and their life is all sunshine and rainbows. Reading their posts about how they worked to save all the children of a small 3rd world country and still made it home to make a gourmet dinner for their adoring husband, had their kids lavish them with affection and had the best workout of their lives - just made me feel like I was doing something wrong. I now only have "real" friends that lose their shit every now and then. :)

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    1. No, that isn't wrong. It is smart. I have a friend who posts like that and it just makes me laugh. Because the reason people post that is insecurity, usually. Excellent job on running 3 miles in 20 minutes! Your husband is an asshole!

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  9. Why is it that we always seem so much better in hindsight? It's like we're unable to see the good in ourselves except when looking back at how awesome we USED to be and comparing it to how bad we are now.

    I think I'll spend this year trying to find more good in myself in the here and now, and being more forgiving if and when I can't.

    Thanks for a spot-on post, per usual. And Fatty made my day. :)

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    1. Great idea! We should all do more of that! Just look at what we manage to get done in a day now compared to then!

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  10. This is so good, and honest, and true. My 21-month daughter just caught me tearing up while reading it, pointed at her eye, then cuddled up next to me, put her head on my shoulder and rubbed my arm...and that's when you feel most awful for every time you've lost your shit on them.

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    1. No, that is when you should feel the best because you have done a kick-ass job at raising a child who is so smart at 21-months she senses that you need a hug! Great job, mama!

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    2. Oh, I like looking at it that way so much better! Thank you!! :)

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  11. I LOVE YOU TOO!! and this is what i meant when i commented for the first time to tell you how awesome your blog is.. moms are people too and everybody (including ourselves) seem to lose sight of that fact.. your writing helps keep that in perspective for all of us.. keep it up amiga..

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  12. You're never alone! We're all here, always.

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    1. thanks, but who is going to get drunk with me to cry over how annoying the question "why" is?

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  13. I love you for writing this. I haven't been through loss like you but I am stressed to the max with life and I probably take it out on my children. They don't deserve that.

    I lose my shit now and then as well, I feel even worse afterwards. I'm sure eventually it'll get better.

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    1. Don't get me wrong, I lost my shit before I had experienced tragic loss. Just the everyday stress of being a parent is enough to make anyone lose it! My PPD was worse with my first, before the shit hit the fan!

      And can i please change my name to yours? Every time you comment I think of how awesome it is!

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  14. Thanks for sharing... you got it exactly right. And I think sharing this kind of stuff helps keep other mothers from putting even MORE pressure on themselves. That why when a newer mom tells me "I don't know how you do it" I always tell her sometimes I don't and give examples. 'Cause while I'm thrilled that I seem to have it all together, it's more important that other moms know I lose it too. And I need to hear the same thing sometimes, so thanks :)

    And in my opinion, if you haven't quit trying and your kids and spouse know they are loved? That's winning.

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  15. This was an AWESOME post, especially after yesterdays! You're on a roll sister. Love it!

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  16. I absolutely love this! I recently posted something on my own blog about depression and I was surprised (yet not surprised) how many of my mother friends chimed in that they felt the same way.

    I especially love your thoughts on being human vs. super human. There's so much pressure to "treasure" every minute, it makes it hard to share with the world that some minutes (hours, days, weeks?) just plain suck! But the more we do, the more we realize we're definitely not alone!

    And I would like a kitten. ;)

    ~ Julia

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    1. Julia, I am always surprised how many comments I get on my "real" posts. It is great, because in the long run, I work my ass off on this blog to help other women feel better about themselves. Good to know it really is happening!

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  17. Wonderfully written. Even though I am not a mom (someday, but not now) I definitely can relate.

    These are things that I have been struggling with as well...this past year as added a long term boyfriend (wonderful, but still entirely different than everything before), anxiety and ocd issues, and a lupus diagnosis. It has left me exhausted and feeling like i am only able to do the bare minimum of what is required of me. Go to work, talk to a friend briefly, go home, be with boyfriend, sleep.

    Lately in therapy we have been discussing to have more compassion for ourselves. If you wouldn't say it to a good friend, why would you say it to yourself? Would you tell a friend they are a terrible mother when they are trying their hardest? No. So, don't tell yourself that. You are human, you are trying, you know you have shortcomings and it is FINE.

    Another thing we've been working on is that yes it does feel like we are expected to be happy and fine all the time, but that's not real and not possible. For anyone. Our deepest relationships are the ones that we have been open with all emotions with. Our bestest friends, our spouses, our boyfriends...those people who have seen us crying or pissed off or overjoyed or frustrated or weary...those are the relationships that are strongest. The ones where we have been able to be there for another person in their times of trial and joy, and them for us...those are stronger and better than the the people that you pretend to be fine and happy for.

    So, embrace all emotions. We are human and they are part of us, so experience all of them because you can. And give yourself some compassion. The same that you would give your loved ones.

    Those are the things I'm working on, and I think it isn't too far off to think that I'm not the only one.

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    1. That is great advice, Elayna. I couldn't have gotten through this past year without my therapist!

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  18. So true on so many levels. And you are absolutely right ... kittens do make everything better. Hugs!

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  19. I really appreciated the honesty of this post, especially since I feel like I've been less than a stellar mom, and I've only been one for less than a year. So glad kids are resilient and that my kiddo forgives me so quickly when I lose my cool and have a meltdown. I've made it a goal to leave the room now if I feel like I'm losing it and try not to let him see me angry or upset. Being a mother and a wife is just frigging hard sometimes, though.

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  20. I'm going to lob a cliche at you: A diamond endures tons of pressure deep inside the earth in order to be made. When it's finally pulled from the earth, pulled from the pressure, it is the most beautiful and strongest object on earth.

    You are a diamond. You're being made better and stronger right now, and in the end, you're going to be a more beautiful and WAY stronger person. And if you lose your shit along the way to becoming a (theoretical) diamond, then that just means you're human. NOBODY could endure what you have in the last year and not lost some shit in the process.

    I know that feeling of being alone. Try to remember that you have a great husband who loves you very much. Remember that you have me, even though it's through texting and email, that doesn't mean I'm not here for you when you need someone. And we need to get on Skyping each other! That sounded super dirty.... Anyway, you can always actually CALL me if you need to let loose some serious angst. A friend and I do that to each other all the time when we're about to throw a kid in front of traffic or whatever may be stressing us out, because we know the other person will just listen, not judge, and support. You and I can do that, too.

    And when we do our thing, we're going to have several days where we get to be those vibrant, beautiful girls we know we still have in us, buried somewhere under the shit of life. We will be unburdened, carefree, crazy, and HAPPY. And really, really drunk. And it will be awesome.

    In the meantime, get some of Lancome's Genifique Eye for your bags. It's the ONLY thing that has helped mine be under control. You can get it on eBay for way cheaper than in the department stores. I'll email you the link so you know you're getting the right stuff.

    Love you, friend.

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    1. Ha. You are funny, friend. Thanks for the support. And where's my link@! I need some cream! Now THAT sounded dirty.

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  21. Love this post! I felt like you were telling my story. I just starting finding my shit again too.

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  22. This couldn't be more timely. I'm having a very hard time right now. Thank you.

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  23. I think venting (by writing, calling or whatever) helps. It certainly keeps me from committing a felony when in the middle of losing my shit. I can relate to some of what you are going through, though not all. You definitely had more than the average woman's share of problems. I hope this year brings you more happy things, or at least fewer crappy ones. In the last four months, we moved to a new house with a toddler, had 10 inches of snow with a 5 day power outage, 1 tornado and 2 stomach bugs (lucky me got both) and I started shots for baby #2. Yeah, I'm quite the force to be reckoned with :o) Even if we are strangers, we still care about you. You are real, funny and very smart.

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  24. Thank you for this. I really needed to hear something like this. I'm trying to dig out of a really dark place, and it's slow going. Part PPD, part identity crisis, I don't entirely know. I'm just trying to hang on until the fog clears!

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  25. Love you back babe! Your blog brings a smile to my face everyday. As CharBaby mentioned- you are real funny and smart and you are so appreciated for providing your honesty and that daily smile to my face :)

    My grandma, who was not very religious but besides the point, would always say "THIS TOO SHALL PASS" and it will, it really will- give yourself credit for the now that you are getting through and know there sure as hell is something, maybe not something perfect, but something different in the near future...this shitty stuff will pass.

    xoxox
    Nikki

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    1. My grandmother used to say the same thing. Wise ladies, our grandmas! And they did it without antibiotics, antidepressents and on-demand tv.

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  26. You're right, we ARE too hard on ourselves as women, as mothers. We are our own harshest critics. Why is that? We need to love ourselves a little more.

    I'm glad you're coming out the other side. May your shit stay put. :)

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  27. You know the scene from Beauty and the Beast, in which Belle, full of curiosity, sneaks into the west wing of the palace and almost touches the magic rose, and the Beast loses his shit, all over the place.

    You know what I'm talking about, right?

    That's what happens when I lose it, and it usually catches everyone, including me, by surprise.
    I don't see it coming and It scares me a little.

    Being a mom is lovely 98% percent of the time, but the other 2%?
    Those days, everyone gets time out, even mommy.

    Thanks for caring, and for the online love-fest for fellow mommies, it's awesome.
    Don't send me a kitten though, I'm wicked allergic to those fuzzy little narcissistic passive-aggressive bastards.

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  28. Losing your shit during as a parent is so common during divorce that it has a scientific euphemism - it's called a "drop in parent quality". When I went through my divorce, and was regularly losing my shit, I would try to comfort myself that I was just having a momentary "drop in parenting quality". It didn't make me feel much better but at least I knew I wasn't alone in screwing up my kids. State colleges are cheaper than the ivy league, so there's a silver lining, right?

    Thanks for being brave and awesome and a rockstar among mamas!

    xoxo

    Keri

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  29. I am so glad I found this blog! For too long, i've surrounded myself with "perfect "moms who act like their world is blue birds and bunnies, ENOUGH ALREADY! My children act like shitheads( just like their Mama)& I dont always like them, and boy do I lose my shit sometimes, but we are all struggling to stay afloat. So, can we just be kind, real, and understanding of each other? Please

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    1. We can, but there will always be Gwenyths. Ha!

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  30. #2 is almost 7 weeks old. #1 was the perfect baby. #2 is a normal baby who cries. A lot. This Mama isn't getting much sleep and has to hold a fussy baby for hours on end. Heading back to work after 6 weeks was a godsend and at the same time made me feel like the biggest piece of shit on the planet. Who can't wait to run off and leave their newborn??? I am so ashamed of the way I have lost my shit time and again over the past 7 weeks-especially during those wee hours when all the world was asleep and I couldn't do anything right for this screaming baby. Thank you for this post. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU!

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    1. Oh, Kerri. I was so there. I wish I had a picture of what I looked like when my husband would get home and there I was still on the couch, holding a screaming Cool Cucumber, just like I was when he left. Fuck. That.

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  31. I missed this when you first posted it. Now I think that maybe it was because I was supposed to find it today, through links from some of your other posts I was reading. This post. This, is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you. You don't know me, but I really enjoy your blog. This post is amazing. And so are you.

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  33. This blog is great! I love your sense of humor, and the "serious" posts too. This will be TMI, but I need to get it out:

    After spending most of 2012 losing my shit on everyone, I'm finally finding it again too. My marriage fell apart, I was used and abused by a guy friend (who had been waiting to pounce on the emotional wreck that is a newly-separated wife), I almost lost my house, and spent six months feeling like I was being poisoned because amid all that stress my liver shut down. I lost some friends at work because I dragged all that crap there with me every day. Some of them became closer friends because of it. My students put up with my storytelling and tiredness. My best friend probably saved my life.

    But the worst part of last year was that I could hardly watch the kids sometimes when I was sick. And on days I felt physically okay, I was so anxious that they only got the worst of me, F-bombs and all.

    I'm so much better with my daughter now, who's 3 and with me all the time. I'm still working on recovering what I had with my son (8), because he's spent a lot of time with his paternal grandparents (my parents are too far away) through all of this, and they kind of poison him against me. But I know it will keep getting better. Baby girl is with me right now, tossing pullups all over the room and making her action figures ride around on toy tractors. And when my big dude comes home, he shoots right in for "robot-hugs."

    Anyway, I'm a blogger too but I only write about my kids on occasion. Maybe doing that more often would help pull me out of my funk and my writer's block and everything else. You've helped me think of some new topics to write on, for sure. Thanks for being an awesome example of a mom who's not afraid to be human, who doesn't only define herself by what she does for her children, and who is pretty damn cool too.

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I love hearing from you. It reinforces that writing this blog is not just a silly waste of my brain matter. If you leave a douche canoe comment, I will delete it. I am powerful like that.

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