About three weeks ago on a Saturday I found myself in our bedroom to change my pants before running errands. I got into the bedroom and heard the quiet and looked around to find myself alone. No baby, no husband, not even a cat. I felt the sting in my eyes and the tears starting falling down my cheeks. It was a little after noon and I was already exhausted. Eva woke up at 6:30 that morning. I grabbed her from her crib and fed her while dozing in bed for another half an hour. From 7 to 9-ish I was downstairs with Eva playing with her, changing her, and just being here for her. Tim came downstairs and came into the living room to occupy Eva. I went into the kitchen and made breakfast. After breakfast I did some dishes. Swept the floor and half of Eva’s breakfast.
Going up the stairs I was thinking of everything that I needed to do. Figure out what was going to go on Eva’s sensory board. The bathroom needed to be cleaned. The kitchen floor needed to be mopped. Our laundry was so high I’m pretty sure I saw Frodo climbing it on his search for Mordor. With every step I thought of another chore, another thing to add to the list, another weight to put on my mind. I got upstairs feeling like I had just spent an hour on a stair climber machine…thing. I got into our bedroom and I think the weights on my mind collapsed and so did I. I didn’t physically collapse onto a fainting couch or anything, but if those were made for overwhelmed mothers, I totally get it now.
I wiped tears away as fast as I could. I changed and took in a few deep breathes. I checked in the mirror for that, “Does it look like me face was leaking weakness water?” look. I then pushed everything to the back of my mind and went downstairs asking, “Okay, are we ready to go?” I acted as though my vision quest was really just me going upstairs to put on “Adulting pants” AKA somewhat clean pants. I need to portray to Tim and Eva that nothing was amiss and I was totally fine and with it. I had all my ducks in a row, let’s do this. Off to errands we went. It was a lovely and productive afternoon that also resulted in Eva’s first big kid dinner to herself. An overwhelming day of emotions all together. I still had my ducks in a row attitude on full blast and needed to prove that I was good.
A couple weeks went by and then it happened again. I had this surge that I was drowning. I was sitting in the living room watching Eva play. She was self playing like a champ. I had coffee and a content daughter why did I feel this way? I totally broke down. Not silent tears this time. Eva toddled herself over to me and gave me a hug like any good service being does when their keeper is in distress. I felt horrendous that morning because I didn’t want to be a mom. I was overwhelmed, over tired, and over all of it. Worrying about how much Eva was eating at meals. When was the last time Eva had a bath? How bad has the bathroom gotten since I last cleaned it? The kitchen still needs a good mop. Is Eva learning enough? I need to go grocery shopping. I was making to do lists every day that had no hopes of getting accomplished. Everything I thought about was either, Eva, the house work, errands, cooking, or schedules. In that moment, I was over being a mom and wife. To say the mom guilt became a Kraken on my soul would be accurate. It devoured me for about ten minutes. Ten long god awful minutes. I frantically texted a bestie searching for reassurance that I wasn’t alone. Of course being one of my best besties she assured me I wasn’t and all moms have these moments.
She told me that I should start looking for myself again outside being Eva’s mom or Tim’s wife. I needed to be Amy again, sassy pants and all. I thought all day about how I would talk to Tim about it. Then it dawned on me. It’s not my job to make everyone else’s life easier. It’s not my job to make Tim being a father easier. It’s not my job to make sure Eva has every single toy she may desire that day within a finger’s reach. It’s not my job to make sure my schedule fits in with friends’ schedules. It’s not my job to make sure people’s relationship with Eva was ideal for them. It’s just not my job to mold and shape who I am to make sure everyone else has an easier time. Tim was amazing. He agreed that I have done this since he’s known me. He also agreed to take on some of the load with me and he totally has. I can sit and finish dinner while he starts dishes. I tell him what needs to be done around the house and I don’t feel like I’m imposing on him to do things anymore.
I realized that it’s my job to raise a well rounded gremlin. It’s my job to make sure Tim feels the ridiculous amount of love I have for him. It’s my job to let my friends know I still have time for them even though none of us have time for anything anymore. It’s my job to also remember myself. I can’t keep putting myself on the back burner because that’s when things get burned. I can’t burn out because I have a job to do. Asking for help or realizing how far I can bend without breaking isn’t a bad thing, in the end it’s a really good thing. Being a mom is fracking hard, but it’s also a pretty amazing job to have.