Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poison Control

As if things weren't bad enough already- feeling increasingly overwhelmed, around noon, I broke-down, took a shower and went upstairs to change, leaving my eighteen month-old on the other side of the gate, downstairs. The pillows on my bed too tempting, I laid down for a few minutes to try and gather some strength to keep going. Unbeknownst to me, Seth had found a bottle of almond extract in one of my baking cupboards, broke it on the tile floor, cut several of his fingers, and drank a fraction of the contents. I arrived to find his hands covered in blood and my older kids attempting to clean-up his evidence of his escapade. All of which did nothing but help me to feel like an even bigger loser-mom. I called poison-control, knowing that he'd consumed straight alcohol. They had me give him juice and monitor him closely for signs of drunkenness (my 18mo is already a drunk- go figure). So instead of taking a nice long nap this afternoon, I held Seth to be sure he didn't asphyxiate.

Here's the truth, people. The truth is that, as I took my second shower tonight, I pondered how "normal" would be defined and what parts of the stress I feel right now are "normal?" I know that good friends of mine find parenting half as many kids very difficult, but I also know that there are plenty of moms around the globe with more charges than I, who aren't experiencing any form of trauma on challenging days such as these...But, in a nutshell, I feel done. I feel done with the what-ifs and flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants while my husband travels about the east coast every other week. There's just too much at stake here, too many variables to contend with- to depend on, when its just me here to parent the kids 24hrs. a day. When I get a full-night's sleep, I parent sufficiently, and sometimes well. When I get two hours sleep, as I did last night, I sink into a vat of despair, where everything about my normal life is painful and overwhelming and impossible. And I don't know how to solve this dilemma. I just don't want to be left to feel this way anymore. It endangers my health and well-being. It alters, forever, the way I view my ability to parent my children. It damages my self-esteem in ways unmatched by words. And I deserve more. Period.


Rachel said...

GIRL I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!! My son got open a baby-proof bottle of NYQUIL one time. He was fine. . . had a fun little chat with Poison Control. . . ugh.
You sound totally overwhelmed. I am so sorry. I'm sending you hugs.

I can remember trying to catch a few winks when my kids were really little too. It's hell on earth when they are still in diapers.

Oddly enough, I often do better when my husband is away. He's not a very helpful guy around the house. (I am trying hard to work with him about that.)

Seth seems reaaaaaaally active. Licking the toilet brush? Smashing bottles from the pantry? He's quite a handful for you. Can he go to any kind of baby-daycare for a few hours every day? He sounds like he needs things to do and you sound like you need a break really badly.

I couldn't send my son to daycare because of his Asperger's. Now that he's in a good school program I feel such intense relief every day when he gets on the bus.

Don't feel ashamed or bad about being overwhelmed and depressed. It's okay to feel like that, and I think it is actually quite common. The last decade has produced such a horrible fetishizing of motherhood that a mother hardly has a chance of living up it, let alone enjoying it as she is "supposed to." It's pure Feminine Mystique bullshit in my opinion. Any job that involves cleaning up shit every single day for as many as 2 or 3 straight years. . . would be described as horrible if a man were doing it!

So give yourself a break with the guilt. You are working hard under extremely stressful conditions!

Judy Sombar said...

Thanks for your wise and kind remarks. I'd like to hear more of your own issues and about your son with aspbergers. do you have a blog? Merry Christmas.

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Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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