I love you with all my being, but if I’m being completely honest, I don’t enjoy being stuck in this moment with you.
If you’re reading this and think I’m a horrible mother for saying that, please, just give me the benefit of the doubt.
If eight-years-ago me would have heard someone say that, I just may have thought the same thing. Clearly, I wouldn’t have known any better.
Eight years ago when I got pregnant with my first, I never would have imagined uttering these words.
I love you, but I have no more patience for you.
If you would have told me I would be filled with rage eight years later, I would have brushed it off and called your bluff. I would have assumed you’re just not doing parenthood right.
I never imagined myself sitting and watching my children in admiration and agitation, simultaneously.
I never imagined myself thinking, what did I get myself into.
But I guess that’s what three children and eight years did to me.
I guess that’s what happens to you when you have to repeat every simple instruction 10,000 times a day.
It’s probably what happens when you’re stuck at the door waiting for them to put their shoes on for what seems like an eternity.
Or when you’re in the car begging them to stop fighting with one another.
Or when you’re praying the tantrum doesn’t happen in the middle of the grocery store.
Maybe that’s what happens when motherhood just pushes you to the edge.
I’m hanging on for dear life, but I’m slowly losing my grip.
It’s an intense river of emotions that cannot seem to be contained. It has me feeling as though I’m a volcano ready to erupt at any given moment when I’m constantly repeating myself like a broken record.
But then somewhere during the chaos, I’ll catch a glimpse of my daughter’s little dimples and become instantly mesmerized at this perfect human I created.
So I find myself torn between love and irritation.
I find myself wallowing in mom guilt and telling myself I’m not cut out for this. That I’m not good enough.
This is not the life I wanted.
I think to myself, how is it possible for me to love these little humans more than words can explain, yet simultaneously become so infuriated with them for screaming so loud and making my eardrums pop?
Am I normal?
Does every mother feel this rage?
Am I a bad mom?
Should I have never had kids?
Am I’m scarring my kids for life when I lose my cool?
No, I don’t believe I am.
In the early stages of parenthood, it’s all cuddles and marvel over this perfect child of yours. Regardless of the sleepless nights, it’s as if you’re on a love-high. Drunken with attachment to this sweet being you’ve created.
But the middle stage—the stage that welcomes the rage—that’s where you get tipsy.
That’s where I feel that time has stood still. That’s where I begin to question myself based on my feelings towards my littles.
How hard can it be to tidy up your toys?
Why do you have to fight over this piece of LEGO when there are 10 more of the same one?
Do you have to get that dirty when you eat?
I ask myself questions that only make me angrier. And it’s so, so easy to get sucked into the world of pity and wallowing—it’s a dark hole that will keep taking whatever you’re giving. It will pull you in and consume you.
I love you, but you’re driving me crazy.
This middle stage I’m stuck in, where they’re not so little but not so big, it’s tearing me apart. It’s showing me a person I never thought I could be.
It’s showing me that I’m the mother I probably would have judged eight years ago.
A mother who counts down until bedtime.
But it can’t be like this forever, and I know I can’t be alone in this. I’m eagerly fighting through, trying to make it to the other side with some sanity left in me.
Trying to pass the stage of missing shoes, mismatched socks, smeared food on the countertops, and spilled milk.
These are the tiresome phases of parenthood—the ones we feel ashamed to talk about. But the real ones, and the ones we really should talk about.
It’s not all fun and games, and it’s not all picture-perfect. It’s anger and frustration you never thought you would have toward the littles who you love more than life itself. It’s real.
And it’s normal to have these feelings. It’s normal to struggle in these stages. It’s normal to feel like you’re lacking.
Because you’re human.
I know this because after all the rage I bottle up during the very long days with my children, when I put my head down at night, all I can think about are the little victories.
The little moments where my eldest hugged his little sister.
The moments when they got along for .5 seconds.
The moment when my son told me this was the best day ever after going on a play date.
Even though I may have yelled. Even though I was very impatient. Even though I may have seen it as the worst day, these innocent children have a way of shining positivity when you need it most.
So if you’re a mother who is struggling with these difficult emotions, give yourself some grace. It’s hard.
It’s so very hard.
And if you’re on the outside watching, don’t judge. It truly takes a team.
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page