As I sit here surrounded by sick children and piles of dirty dishes, I'm really somewhat surprised that anyone survives being the parent of young children with their sanity intact.
Although I love to see the beautiful instagram photos from moms with children that are always clean and cheerful, I'm not sure how much of that is reality and how much is just a glimpse into the finer moments in an otherwise normal life. I know it sometimes makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong.
Before anyone starts calling me ungrateful, let me elaborate. I think this blog post sums it up much better than I can right now. But believe me, I am grateful. I love this crazy life and my loud children. I even love the military life... more often than not. So before anyone starts telling me that I asked for this, please know that I am glad that I've been blessed to live this life. But it sure doesn't make it any easier at 2 am when I'm up with a baby that is struggling to breathe or when I'm cleaning up barf instead of writing a research paper that I desperately need to finish.
This is tough. The delicate balance between hanging onto that tiny piece of me that is not Mom is a real challenge. The unrelenting guilt keeps me awake at night when I think that I should have spent more time doing xyz (fill in the blank, because I worry about it all, from reading to my toddler to snuggling my baby to listening to my tween boys talk about Minecraft). Basically, I hope that I somehow manage to raise loving, considerate, happy people despite never living up to the impossible standards that exist, either real or imagined.
I think that motherhood can be so isolating sometimes. When you have more than a few children, you don't get invited to playdates and nobody invites you over for dinner. Babysitting would cost a small fortune, if you could even find someone crazy enough to want to babysit all of your children. The military life can be isolating too. You move frequently and don't have the support of family or old friends. By the time you meet people that actually like you, it's probably time to move again. Maybe the strained relationship I have with my extended family emphasizes the lack of support, but I can tell you that it makes parenting much more challenging. There are few date nights or helpers to call on when you're sick in bed and there are no groceries in the pantry.
There are so many more things I want to say but sick kids are calling. And laundry. And homework.
Tell me I'm not alone in feel this way. What do you moms do to get through those times when you are ready to throw in the towel?