I’m lucky enough to have found some communities of parents where honesty is considered a virtue, and the bullshit expectations of parenthood (or, really, motherhood, if we’re being honest) are called out. Where people are encouraged to be vulnerable and name the things that are hard. (If you want to know about these groups, I am happy to recommend them – just let me know.)
That doesn’t mean I’m immune to the flood of cultural expectations telling me how I should feel about being a mom. Those ideas are inside me from years of hearing them and seeing them and unintentionally enforcing them. The problem with bullshit cultural ideals is that we live in the midst of them – it’s impossible to fully escape them or even understand just how insidious they are.
So while I think I have some support when I say, “some days recently I wish I wasn’t a parent,” I also still feel like an awful person. When I admit to myself that I spend all of the tiny moments alone in my mind either nostalgic for a simpler past or daydreaming about a different kind of present, I still think there is something wrong with me.
I know this is a season. Or maybe I just hope it is. Eventually the equation of difficult + wonderful will be contentment or satisfaction, or something like it. I won’t always feel like I’m walking up hill, in the forest, in pouring rain, wearing flip flops . . .with no summit in sight . . .right?
There are things to look forward to on my horizon, and I am grateful for that. But they don’t feel like changes to this slog, just perhaps a few (lovely, needed) time-outs from treading water. Sometimes those time outs seem like they will be enough to sustain me. But at other times, all I see is the endlessness of difficulty that come before, between and after.
I don’t know what to do. I have a therapist. She’s nice, and sometimes she has some ideas about things that I appreciate. But I don’t feel like she is or even can get at the deeper things I need to address. But finding a therapist, especially when the only way to have one at all is through your insurance (which, is awesome but also limiting), is a whole other somewhat hopelessly defeating endeavor. It is like dating but with no promise of getting laid at the end.
And the worst thing is how guilty I feel even entertaining these thoughts, indulging in my ennui bordering on depression. Because in so many ways, things are kind of . . .ok. We, for the first time since getting together, have enough money that we don’t really need to worry on a monthly basis about what we can afford. We have some very lovely friends. My job is good and really only a reasonable amount of hard or stressful. This is all true, and it coexists alongside my very real feelings of struggle. It’s not the big things that feel hard. It is all the tiny moments wrapped up into a string of frustration and failure and fatigue.
There isn’t a lot to do except keep going. Can’t go around it. Can’t go under it. Can’t go over it.
Gotta go through it.