This post is hard for me to write. No shortage of words, but I don’t want to convey the wrong message. When collaborating with the lovely Ellen of Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, I said that I had to be careful not to make this totally depressing or everyone “would want to go flush their heads down the toilet.” Gosh, this life is hard enough as it is and this is so not my goal. I also don’t want to be whiny, nor am I jonesing for sympathy.
What is my goal? On the rare chance that you are feeling the same thing, I just want you to know that you aren’t alone. WE aren’t alone. With a 1 yr. old and a 3 yr. old, I AM TOTALLY DROWNING. I am sinking. I can’t keep afloat. I was hashing it out with a sweetly supportive friend the other day and I said, “I feel like there are so many pieces in the air. But instead of juggling them all, I can’t even see them. I don’t even know what they are.” For someone as Type A as myself, this is a tough pill to swallow. I may not get things done immediately, but I have generally lived life up to this point with a to-do list that has been tackled in due time.
Not the case any more. I don’t even know what is going on. This is the funny part. Someone (usually my husband b/c let’s be honest, what other interaction with the adult world do I have?) will say, “What do you think about that crazy abduction scandal in Philly?”. I stare at him blankly. It is awe-inspiring that he assumes I even remember there is a place such as Philadelphia when I never make it past the diaper-delivering-safe confines of my front porch. I am confused. Does he think I watch the news? When would I watch the news? There is exactly 1 min. and 32 seconds between Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffins. I’ve timed it.
I’ll be honest. I’m not a young-kid kind of gal. I’m not even close. I would even go so far as to say I’m not loving this stage of life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and am so grateful for them, but I am absolutely snowed by this phase of life. I think everyone has different ages and stages that push them over the edge. My tipping point came when two things happened simultaneously: my baby daughter became a toddler and my son quit napping. Might sound silly to some of you who ace this out without blinking, but for me, this has done me in.
I felt so much more normal when I read a wonderful post by Steve Weins this week. He blogs at The Actual Pastor and nailed it when he talks about being “bone-tired” as a parent of young kids. THANK YOU, STEVE.
When I heard Ellen refer to this age as the “Drowning Stage”, I felt like I could breathe for split second of time. The first second of time in a long while. What did these words “the drowning stage” mean to me? They did two very powerful things: 1) gave me permission to feel totally overwhlemed by this point of my life and know that it was normal and 2) gave me hope that this is a stage, and thus, IT CAN GET BETTER.
I am scared. This is hard and many, many days I don’t know if I will come out on top, but I am clinging. Clinging to hope. I asked Ellen, a brilliant doctor and mother to 12 yr. old and 14 yr. old girls who has made some very cool choices, to share more of her wisdom with me. She said, “Parenting babies and toddlers was one of the toughest things I have ever done. I had worked in life and death situations, but it was my baby that had me on the floor sobbing because I felt so beaten. What I wish someone had pointed out to me at the time, is that it is not a static situation. Things are changing constantly and slowly day by day the hole I felt like I was in got shallower and shallower until I felt like I was in the light again. Once my babies became more logical preschoolers, parenting just felt like it fit more comfortably.”
GOD BLESS HER. In this single quote she has normalized and given hope. This feels so good. So many days I feel swallowed, but I am going to hold out hope. I’m going to hold out hope that I can make it. That some day I will know who the news anchors are on the major news stations and know what it feels like to have a whole 15 min. to shop at Target without someone trying to launch themselves out of the cart in the body lotion aisle. It can happen. I’m believing this. Should you be in these shoes, grasp onto this hope with me. Someday we can casually chortle over afternoon tea together. In the meantime, I’ll meet you behind that mountain of poopy diapers.
Extraordinary thanks to Ellen of the Sisterhood of Sensible Moms for collaborating on this post and please keep your eyes peeled for a gorgeous heartfelt post from Kathy of Kissing the Frog, who touches on this feeling of drowning in her post here next week.
Image 1 credit: ID:30807377, copyright:mike_kiev