Friday, February 3, 2012

Mommy Fatigue

Confession time: after five years on the job, I am growing a bit weary of full time mommy patrol. In the past I have felt like I needed to do this and was happy doing it and fulfilled. I have been surprised by the fierceness of my desire to spend all my time with my kids. Elaborate art projects and sing-song voices have never been my cup of tea. I did not see this as part of my personality or part of my future at all prior to Maggie. And yet, I have wanted so much for my girls and have been willing to put myself on the front line to make it happen for them.

However, I think I drew satisfaction from the managing of their care, not their entertainment. I liked rocking them to sleep and being responsible for their eating habits and watching them grow. Serious persuits. I don't think the craftiness or the play time or The Wheels on the Bus ever really came naturally to me. And now that the girls are getting older, as their physical needs are lessening and their imaginary play is growing more elaborate, my sense of accomplishment and feelings of being a good fit for this job are sliding away.

I'm resistant to doing laps around the house holding on to the end of a jump rope because Maggie is pretending to be a dog and I've been ordered to take her for a walk. I really don't want to spend time trying to find something for snack that resembles fish food because Kate is a baby dolphin whale today. I would rather stick two sharpened pencils in my ears than have to go to Sing-a-long Hour at the library. I'm just not cut out for playing dress up. I mean, I didn't really have much of a child-like demeanor when I was a child, and now I'm going grey.


This morning, Maggie is at preschool, and even though Kate mentioned wanting to go to the bookstore (to buy a stuffed animal fish to go with the one she already has, not books...???), I am writing at the computer while she watches Octonauts all by herself. I am not proud of this. But lately my mind wanders. There is so much fascinating stuff going on elsewhere, at least I can read about it online! Poor Kate, second-born, gets the tail end of my enthusiasm for being a stay-at-home-mom. I know I tried a lot harder with Maggie. I worried a lot more about Maggie being alone and needing my attention. Creating fun activities for toddlers seemed like a novel challenge then. I was blazing a trail. And now Kate, who may be less fearless but more social than Maggie, who may need more time at home with Mommy, has a hard time getting my attention.

Being highly analytic, I have been puzzling about what exactly is going on with me. Have I just reached an age that I don't particularly love? It happens. Some people (even women) don't get along well with babies but are wildly successful with teenagers. Some people adore cuddly newborns, despite the sleep deprivation, and then flounder with I-wanna-do-it-myself-ers. Am I simply caught at a pretty pink princess crossroads without a map for this sort of adventure?

Or perhaps I'm just in a funk. I recently went through a temporary (year-long) loss of blogging mojo (as you may have noticed), and now I'm bouncing back. Maybe I'm just battling with writer's mother's block which will work itself out eventually.

Maybe I just need to just hike up my big girl panties and reinvent the wheel. Maybe I need a new way of doing things to freshen up the day-to-day a bit. Renew my dedication to doing my best. That's certainly a more proactive approach than waiting for a revelation.


In the end, I packed up my bad attitude and took Kate to the library. We bummed around the kids' section with her stuffed fish and picked out some books and DVDs. On the way home, she declared that she would have pizza and peanut butter and jelly for lunch, so we made peanut butter pizzas - English muffins, toasted and spread with peanut butter, topped with yogurt raisins. Maggie was invited to a friend's house for a playdate after school, so it was just me and Kate again, hanging out. We watched some Ni Hao Kai-lan and read some library books. We ate a snack (just nutrigrain bars, not fish food). She helped me fold some laundry. And I listened to some long, rambling stories about cats and babies and I don't know what, but Kate was really excited about it. We laughed and cuddled on the couch and enjoyed ourselves.

I just need to remind myself to meet her half-way. With a little compromise, we can find our way through the next couple of years as she gains her independence and follows her sister off to school. And maybe I can eke out and hour for myself here and there to write and read and think. Wild Kratts is a pretty good show, actually. It won't melt her brain to watch an episode here and there while Mommy dreams about the future.


  1. I know just how you feel. There are days when, I cannot, for the life of me, sing the Alphabet song one more time, but because those two little faces look at me and say "schweeze" I find it in me to sing it. I feel the funk, there are only so many times you can bring out the play doh without wanting to throw it out the window. We will look back on these days and wonder where it went.

  2. You are right, Val. Hang in there. You are creating intelligent, curious, people with what you do. I'll be worth it. Martha

  3. Thank you. Today, I needed to know I wasn't the only one feeling this way. I've got 2 boys (ages 5 and 1). The endless barrage of noise makes me feel like I've put my brain in a food processor every day. I don't get to be myself very much, because being myself involves hobbies or interest that are simply not compatible with children under about 8 or 9 at least. Yet, if we keep trying every day, I think we'll win out eventually and be pleased with the results. We keep going because we want those wonderful people to be part of our lives, not because we inherently love cleaning the high chair 10x a day. Thank you! It's good to know I'm not the only one feeling these things.

  4. Su, THANK YOU so much for reading my blog and commenting. I'm so glad that what I wrote meant something to you, and that I also am not the only one who feels these things! It's good to get this kind of stuff off our chests occasionally and hear that other moms out there are also experiencing the same conflicted emotions. This beginning-of-the-school-year business has turned out to be pretty stressful for me, so I really appreciate your kind words on a day like this. Hang in there, sister! I will, too.


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