It wasn't until Knox spit up the full contents of his last bottle down the inside of shirt that I lost it. I stood in the kitchen eating nacho-flavored tortilla chips as Edie sat on the plastic potty for the third consecutive hour yelling at me that she didn't have to go and that she wants to wear diapers forever and I began sobbing. And through the tears, all I could think of was Jim Gaffigan's stand up bit where he talks about what having kids feels like....
"Imagine you're drowning. And then imagine someone throws you a baby..."
Life feels a lot like that right now. Like I'm drowning in reflux and potty training and weaning and sleep training and sleep depravation and a postpartum identity crisis. I don't want to complain. It feels so ridiculous to complain about such privileged problems, problems I chose to submerge myself in when I CHOSE to stay at home with our children. I want to be able to say that I feel on top of the world and that being a mother is the greatest and that I feel fulfilled by the monotony. But today, I won't say that.
Because, today, I can't say that.
Today, I am going to acknowledge the feelings that nobody wants to talk about because we worry that it makes us look like an ungrateful asshole. And it may make me look like an asshole but today, I don't really give a shit.
Because today, I don't so much like being a mom.
Today I wish I didn't feel like I'm drowning. Today, I wish my life wasn't ruled by monotony. Today, I wish I had a taste of my old, carefree, childless life. Today, I wish I didn't feel like crying into my tortilla chips was my only option. Today, I wish I didn't always smell like one of their bodily functions or that my clothes weren't always stained by one of them wiping their dirty mouths. Today I wish I didn't only buy clothes that are solely functional and "play-date appropriate". Today, I want to know what it feels like to have an identity outside of my kids. Today, I resent how all-consuming it is. Today, I wish I didn't have the responsibility of keeping it together in front of the three people who are the source of why I am struggling to keep it together. Today, I wish I could go on strike and tell everyone in my house to fuck off.
Today, I wish my hair wasn't falling out and I weighed ten pounds less than I do. Today, I wish my boobs didn't look like sad, empty bags of nothing. Today, I wish my idea of a good time wasn't just a nap that isn't interrupted by a toddler jumping on my face. Today, I envy the boozy brunch crowd. Today, I envy the women who don't have chronic hemorrhoids from pushing out three children. Today, I wish I could drop everything and do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it, and that I didn't have to leave a detailed list of directions for whoever I leave in charge of who I'm running from.
Today, I'm allowing myself to resent my husband. Today, I'm allowing myself to say that it isn't fair that he doesn't have to grow, birth, or feed humans with his body or deal with postpartum hormones. Today, I'm admitting that it isn't fair that he never has to look in the mirror and struggle with not recognizing who he sees staring back at him. Today, I'm letting myself be angry that whether or not I stay at home with our kids, the bulk of the day-to-day responsibility of raising our kids will always fall on me. Today, I'm calling it bullshit that he will never have to know the depth and darkness that I experience battling postpartum hormones nor will he ever fully understand it.
Today, I wish it were me leaving the house each morning to escape the noise, the arguing, the tantrums, the ass-wiping. Today, I wish it were me who could go out of town for a week and and eat a hot meal at a hotel bar by myself while I talk to strangers. Today, I wish it were me who has the important job with an official title; the job you can't wear yoga pants to, the job that allows you to consult other adults about things other than whether or not your charges pooped today.
Today, I won't preface these feelings with the I love my kids, I really do speech. Today, I wish I didn't feel an ever-present guilt because of a fucked-up culturally engrained myth of the perfect mother. Today, I don't care that there will always be some aspect of motherhood that I could most certainly be doing better at. Today, I'm not going to acknowledge the persistent anxiety that has attached itself to my experience of motherhood like the fucking life-draining leech that anxiety is. Today, I'm going to admit that sometimes, I don't want to fucking cuddle at bedtime. Or ever, actually. Today, I'm going to admit that when my kids yell at me, it takes more self-control that I ever knew I possessed to not scream back even louder and call them an asshole.
Today, in this very moment, I'm going to admit that I'm struggling.
Today, as I type this, I'm reminding myself that it's okay to not be okay all of the time.
Today, crying into nacho-flavored tortilla chips felt better than eating nacho-flavored tortilla chips.
Today, I will not feel guilty for being human.
Today, I will validate my feelings in the name of self-care.
Today, I feel like I'm drowning.
Today, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.