*I wrote this post last night, after a day, if you will. Waking up this morning and looking at the blue sky it already feels a million miles away. But I still feel like this is so important to share. Because at the time I wrote it yesterday, I needed more than anything for someone to say “me too” or “been there!” or “I promise it gets better.” But I didn’t reach out, because I couldn’t handle the idea that someone might tell me to shut up and be thankful for what I do have. Which is true, you guys. I have so much. So much. But also, I am human and I have bad days, and I don’t feel it is helpful or healthy to spend my time feeling guilty that I didn’t enjoy my entire day. Women get chastised every damn day on the internet for “venting” or sharing emotions that are anything but positive. But the truth is, we all feel this way once in a while. It is the experience of being human, and I don’t think that it is helpful to deny that these experiences exist. So, if you had a day like I did yesterday, one where nothing big goes wrong, but nothing really goes right either, you are not alone. Here is what my Tuesday looked like.
By 5:30 today I was standing at my sink and crying.
My daughter is sick. She hasn’t taken a nap in three days. This means I am struggling to get my work done. This means she is crabby and over-tired and not herself. This means I am worried about her all day, practically gluing the thermometer to her ear so I can monitor her fever. This means she has no idea what independent play is, and instead needs to be glued to me whether in a tired, peaceful state or an angry, crying state. But glued. Which makes things like showering, eating, peeing, working, feeling sane, kind of impossible.
I met with a counselor for the first time since my first marriage was collapsing today. This time it is to deal with birth trauma in hopes that I will be able to emotionally withstand another birth. I came home exhausted, emotionally, after less than an hour of talking about it again. I came home knowing I needed to call my insurance to see if they will even cover counseling, wondering how we will pay for it if it doesn’t. Wondering how we can budget this during a time in our lives where we are cutting all the fun stuff out already and living in a slightly uncomfortable state of paycheck to paycheck. Wondering how I will arrange for someone to watch Gia during these appointments. Feeling like a burden asking for my mom and MIL to block out an hour each week so I can process through something I thought I would have been over years ago.
When my husband walked in the door, later than normal, (of course!), I didn’t even act happy to see him. I asked him if I could please cook dinner alone. Because my new vacation schedule is cooking for my family, apparently. I needed a break from thinking, worrying, being a human snot rag – just for twenty minutes. Just give me something else to do for twenty minutes. As I washed dishes after dinner, I thought about how my husband had a hard day too. How maybe he could have used some down time. I thought about how as soon as I was done with dishes it would be time for bedtime routine and then the day would be over and I barely spoke five sentence to him. I thought about how we need to make more time for each other, how I needed to be more “present” when he came home.
And then I thought, as I leaned over the sink with tears clouding my vision, what I really fucking need is for things to get easier.
What I really need is something easier than working two jobs from home and being the full-time caretaker of my daughter.
But instead of a promise of the finish line ahead, or knowing I get to coast for a little while down a gentle hill, instead of that I have the promise that things will get even harder. I have the promise that a second baby only makes life more challenging. I am told by moms “it doesn’t get easier, it just gets a different kind of hard.”
And I know. I know you are probably thinking “you signed up for this” or “your life isn’t even hard” or “you should be enjoying this time.” Or maybe that is just my own critical inner voice. Whoever it is, I hear you. But I’m exhausted. And really, I just want it to get fucking easier.
I’m ready for a time in my life where I can feel like I can breathe again. Ready for a time in my life where I don’t get to 9 pm and wonder if I actually took a deep breath at all in the previous 24 hours. I’m ready for a time where I don’t feel exhausted and overworked and like I’m letting people down and like cooking fucking dinner is a vacation. I hate cooking.
I’m ready for the easy stuff now. I’m ready to go back to the time in my life where I thought life was hard but I had NO FUCKING CLUE and it makes me want to scream into a pillow for 8 hours because I realize there may be a point in my life where I look back on this moment and think “you don’t EVEN know, Ashley.”
I’m ready for the reward part. Where I get to look back at all my hard work and speak with the wisdom of a woman who “knows” and when I get to tell new moms they should be “enjoying this.” Except I fucking won’t because I KNOW YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN, NEW MOM! I AM WITH YOU SISTER!
These times, these times where I have fought back tears so many times today I lost count, are at least good for building compassion. For breaking down every self-righteous idea I have that I have found the answer to “embracing the moment”.
But when I am suffocating in overwhelming-ness of how goddamn HARD things are right now, how even making a fucking lunch is exhausting with a toddler, how I cannot possibly wake up any earlier to work and still have a pulse by the age of 35, how all I really want is one night with trashy reality tv and nobody talking to me or touching me or looking at me or asking me to do something for them, with no looming early morning wake-ups, no threat of not enough money, not enough time, not enough sanity, not enough, not enough, not enough.
And if one more person insinuates that there is nothing more important to do than to “just be” with my child, I’m going to fucking lose it. If one more person says “everything can wait!” my brain is literally going to explode. I have to believe these people must not have jobs that they could be fired from our homes they could lose if their bills aren’t paid because they lost said job or appointments that have been scheduled weeks or months in advance and would take another three months to reschedule.
This being a mom, being a responsible adult, having a career thing – its amazing and terrible. Its an insane gift and also makes me feel like sometimes I may literally go insane. “Hard” doesn’t really do justice to what it is, but we are promised it is “worth it”. Tomorrow I may wake up and be so overcome with my blessings that I will want to fall to my knees and pray “thank you” over and over and over again.
But tonight, it is hard. Tonight I don’t even need easy, just easier.