There is a terrible guilt that comes with being a mother. For some women, I can plainly see that this natural guilt is just that – natural. It is the healthy amount of motivation that mothers have to be better parents. Sometimes it feels a little like shame, self-deprecation, whatever we want to call it, but I understand it comes with the territory. Being a mother is a heavy responsibility to carry. Her perspective determines whether or not it is a gift or a burden.
It is in this question that I am having difficulty finding the answer to my second question: is my own guilt a healthy, natural amount, or is it a history-repeating, impending doom sort of guilt that leaves me feeling as if I’m the worst mom in the world because I can see myself messing everything up yet I continue to let myself be a terrible mother?
I think I just answered my own question.
But let’s discuss the first answer I need – are my children gifts or burdens? From day one, they have been gifts. However, I did not realize that on day one – and for many, many days after. Let’s be honest here – I was not ready to have children and be a mother until my third child was born – and people, that was barely a year ago. I did not feel emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially, educationally, in-any-sane-way-at-all-lly ready for motherhood and all the love and feels the role entails. Even today, I credit my absolutely wonderful husband with being the better parent between us, giving me the strength and support to battle myself so that I can give my heart to my children.
That’s what moms are supposed to do, and I was never able to. My heart was a splintered mess of shards suspended within my ribcage. I reached within myself and gave pieces of it to anyone who would take them, but I couldn’t give them to my children. They were never enough for them, never good enough. I wanted only the best for my babies, and I couldn’t give them who I really was – not in the condition I was in.
I say “was,” but the shitty truth is, in this moment, I don’t feel any further as a person than I was when I felt less than human that morning I wanted so badly to die. I don’t know why I feel this way – it could be literally a thousand different things. Some of them are louder than others, but right now, I have to address this mom thing. Because… because… because I feel like a bad one.
There is a missing link between me and my children – and my greatest fear is that it is the strongest link. The one that makes mothers forget their labor pains, the ones that shower pride over their hearts at each little accomplishment, the one that makes a mother yearn to kiss her child’s cheek, the one that wants to hold their little hand as long as they can. I never wanted those things. I wanted them to sit down, be quiet, and wait – wait for me to grow up so I could come back and be ready for them.
I put my babies through hell while I fought my way through it. I tend to applaud myself for this, telling myself that we survived some dark shit – and that we’re better for it now. The truth, though, is that I put them through temper tantrums they shouldn’t have had to witness, standoffs they shouldn’t have been in the line of fire in, danger they never should have been in, and while they have appeared to be incredibly resilient, in my journey through my own childhood so that I can feel free to grow up, I can see that I have put them through the same damn things my own parents allowed me to live and everything I thought I had done right…
I see now, that I have done wrong.
There are so many things I need to fix, so many changes I need to make, so many habits I need to break – and I can’t for the life of me find the fucking strength now to get a grip on myself. I have become the problem, I have become the ill one. I have become the reason things didn’t work out. I have become the failure in the program, the flaw in the plan. I am losing all of the progress I thought I had made over these last three years. In one manic episode which is going a month now… I am losing the faith I had so carefully constructed around me. My castle is crumbling and I’ll die before I allow my fairy tale to come to any ending other than happily ever after.
I don’t know why I’m so sad. Why my train won’t stop running, why I can’t sleep anymore, why it hurts to eat, why it hurts to breathe. I don’t know why I can’t keep a thought in my head. I don’t know where they’re going but they were good and now they’re gone. I don’t know where time is going but it’s slipping by faster than I can scramble for it and it’s scaring me. To be honest. Because we’re being honest here.
- I want to be clean and sober.
- I want to lose 50 pounds.
- I want to finish school to get a better job.
- I want to pay all adverse and credit accounts OFF.
- I want to buy a home.
Those are the top five things I want to address in my life. I feel like, if I can achieve those things, I will be a better person – better mom, wife, an asset anywhere I fill a role.
Today, they feel so far away. This isn’t a happy ending post. This is an honest post – and now that I’ve put out my blemishes for you all to see…