Rock Bottom Mom

A few days ago I posted about me. You can read it here, titled Just Me.  It was not a good day.  I hadn’t cried that day but it was still a tough day.
I was once again overwhelmed with the response from my friends on Twitter.  So many moms tweeted me with hugs, prayers, and sharing that they too were feeling the way I was.  It is so nice to know you are not alone.
Not wanting to be a total party pooper here on the blog, I sent out a  request for a guest blogger that might infuse my blog with some new ideas on how to tackle ANY of the things I had whined about in that post.
Carolyn from This Talk Ain’t Cheap was the first to come to the rescue. Thank you so much Carolyn for this moving post!

Rock Bottom Mom

I love when I hear celebrities give advice about parenting and juggling work and family responsibilities. It just seems so practical. Have your Nanny watch the kids and make sure you schedule some alone time to pamper yourself with a facial, massage and manicure. Now why didn’t I think of that? Makes sense. We need to focus on “us” instead of “them”. We need to schedule date nights with our spouses. We need to delegate to our “help”. That’s what we pay them for, right?
I have three children spaced 2 years apart. Do you know what that means? That means that when my youngest was born, I had a newborn, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I had two in diapers and none of them had started school yet. Three children. At home. With me. All day. Every day. 24 hours a day. One would nap but the other two would be up. I’d finish nursing the baby and then the other two would be hungry. Having 3 kids means NOT having money. Not having money means NOT having a Nanny.
Do you know how much laundry a family of 5 accumulates? I do. Laundry has become my career. I am a laundress. I think that any job that you perform every day of the week constitutes you being an “expert” in said area. I am an expert at laundry. I am an expert at cleaning. I am an expert at diaper changing. I am an expert at child wrangling. What I am not an expert it… despite all the above… is being a Mom. Why? Because there is no such standard. Hard to believe, I know, but there is no Mom-of-the-Year Award. Sorry to burst your bubble.
I used to cry on a daily basis from exhaustion. I used to curse the day that I ever got pregnant. I hated my husband. I hated my kids. I hated the entire planet. Misery was my best friend. And nobody… nobody in my life seemed to understand.
I felt like a complete failure. I hit rock bottom.
A funny thing happens when you hit rock bottom. There is nowhere else to go but up. It’s true. Miraculously, you wake up one day and find that the kids are now getting their own cereal and you actually woke up on your own. You find that you go to the bathroom and can complete your business without banging on the bathroom door. Suddenly your last little one starts kindergarten and you can enjoy a cup of coffee alone. In your own house. Without noise.
There is hope. It’s coming. I promise. Meanwhile, here are a few things I did learn along the way to cope with the pandemonium until you get to “there”.

  1. Don’t laugh at this, but make a list. Seriously. Make a list either the night before or in the morning of the things you HAVE to accomplish. I’m not including laundry on that list (unless of course you have NO clean underwear and really need some). I’m not including cleaning and feeding and cooking. Include things that absolutely have to get done like: make a Dr.’s appointment, buy diapers, take a shower. Yes, I said shower. See #2. Do at least 2 things on the list before lunch and you will feel that at least you accomplished SOMETHING.
  2. Take a shower. OMG – don’t complain, just do it. Bring some toys into the bathroom and sit the kids down on the floor if you have to. Trust me… if you are fresh and clean every day then you will be able to handle things so much better. If you think I’m full of it, give it a try for a few days… you’ll see.
  3. Get out of the house. Alone. Now I know that you are NOT going to schlep three kids to the market or the mall – I’ve tried that enough to tell you that it just isn’t worth the effort – but even if it is 9:00 at night and you have to run to the store or go get a cup of tea or go drive around the block – you will feel better (and think better) being AWAY and ALONE.
  4. Give the kids chores. I know this sounds lame but find at least one thing your kids enjoy helping with. I asked my kids what they wanted to do to help around the house. My 8 yr old actually likes taking the garbage out. Go figure. My 11 yr old likes to cook and help in the kitchen. My 6 yr old? Well… we are still figuring out what (and if) there is anything at all she likes to do other than watch TV and play with dolls.
  5. If you clean one room, do one load of laundry, cook one meal a day, consider it a huge success and have some chocolate. Seriously, it helps.
  6. Write down the things you did right all day. Don’t laugh but it will help with your mood and show your husband that being a mother is the most important job in the world. Write down things like…
    1. Snuggled baby for an hour.
    2. Read a story book to the kids.
    3. Sat and had a snack of goldfish and laughed with the kids.
    4. Changed diapers 6 times.

You laugh now, but when you see how your day is really taken up, you won’t feel so bad about NOT cleaning the floors and NOT getting to the market. Believe me, it’s OKAY to have mac & cheese or omelets or sandwiches for dinner.
And my best piece of advice? Breathe through it. It might suck now, but it DOES get better. IT DOES. I PROMISE. THERE IS HOPE.

I am the proud mother of three beautiful daughters, ages 11, 8 and 6. An interior designer by trade, I now mostly focus on writing about my kids, my life and the struggles we all go through as parents. My passions are reading, writing, cooking, traveling, scrapbooking and drinking lots and lots of coffee.
Carolyn West
Twitter @temysmom

10 thoughts on “Rock Bottom Mom

  1. Peggy Brister says:

    My kids are all a little older now (25, 9 and 10) and I don’t get too overwhelmed with mommy and house stuff like I use to when they were littler, but I can see how a lot of the moms I follow on Twitter do still get that way. It’s hard for me to watch because I am not going through it and I know there’s nothing I can do to help. But it was an interesting blog post. =)

  2. TaderDoodles says:

    I will take time to enjoy them being small, and I will chill and try not to stress, and then I’ll get people asking me why the house is so cluttered and why don’t we do this, and why don’t I do that (sometimes it’s coming from people VERY close to me) and I realize that 1. somethings can not be put off until the are bigger and 2. lots of moms make it work.
    Just knowing that I’m not the only one that gets to feeling this way, and being reminded that there is light at the end of the tunnel is amazingly helpful!

  3. Carolyn (temysmom) says:

    One thing that we’ve recently started doing is having a family clean-up day. I find that if the entire family (Dad included) spends a few hours just cleaning up the house, it gets done and nobody feels overwhelmed. Then when it’s all done, we go out for ice cream or something fun.

  4. TaderDoodles says:

    Carolyn, I called one of those on Sunday I think it was. Turned everything off and told everyone that for 30 minutes we were cleaning up, gave the kids the option to go outside and get out of the way. Oddly, about 5 minutes into the event, hubby had to go hang out in the “office” for some “reading” if ya kwim.
    GAH… seems his tummy didn’t feel better until it was almost over and by then I was so annoyed and tired that I just gave up.
    Everything I have the family do (as part of their chores) seems to be tied into something I have to do. So they can’t do it if I haven’t done my part, and they get tired of waiting for me.

  5. Carolyn (temysmom) says:

    Oh dear. If hubby isn’t on board then nobody will be on board. Things have started working out a little better for us but that wasn’t until my youngest turned 6. Before then I was really a wreck. Does your 9 yr old help out at all? My 11 yr old is a savior sometimes.

  6. TaderDoodles says:

    He was helping, folding a few blankets and such. He says he needs specifics… but I feel like I have to do that with my kids he should be able to just LOOK and make an educated guess.
    Sometimes my 9yo is helpful, and sometimes she just makes it worse. The 6yo will have immediate tummy aches and we won’t even talk about the toddler LOL

  7. Melisa says:

    I look forward to when it gets better! Right now I only have one and the thought of #2 being here in several weeks has me terrified!!

  8. Mylinda says:

    I’ve been where you are and I’m still there. I have 5 kids, 6, 3,2,2 and 5 months old. There is days where I don’t know what to do with myself and it’s hard to wake up and keep going. It’s when I hear Mom for the hundredth time that you know what there are my life and in a few years it’s going to be better. Enjoy the little ones when they are small cause they teach you so much.

  9. aplaceforthoughts says:

    Lisa – I know you have a full plate this week but when was the last time you were able to get out of the house alone? I can’t imagine how hard it is and I just have a 20mth old and a 3wk old. You are a rockstar mom. Here is a *hug* for the hard moments in the day. You are right. Good thing for hope!

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