Thursday, April 02, 2009

Who Am I?

Lately, this motherhood thing is really getting to me. My kids can be funny and engaging and a lot of fun to be with at times. Their comments and observations on their little world make me laugh quite often. But they're also incredibly needy, as toddlers and preschoolers are wont to be. As well, I seem to be the be all and end all of their lives for everything. Even if That Canadian Boy I Married is home, they come to me for water, for food, for hugs. I'm it and it's wearing me out. The constant "Mama, mama, mama," thing, the inability to even pee without someone banging on the door, demanding something, is making me a little nutty and feel more than a little lost.

I don't know who I am any more outside of a mother. I have interests and friends but I have no time to pursue either of them. I work every single weekend, generally from 2 - 10 p.m., which doesn't give me any time to socialize with anyone and I miss it. I'm not a social butterfly, but I need to interact with people more than just at work. Asking for too much time off, however, will get me fired, so I only do it if I have specific plans and since the time off needs to be booked three weeks in advance, I don't ask often. My friends don't generally plan things that far in advance.

I'm really feeling in a rut lately. I just work and take care of the kids; it's no fun and it doesn't seem like things are going to change any time soon. Even if I could find a full time job in this economy, I wouldn't make enough to pay for both of them to be in daycare. I've been thinking about taking classes in the fall, when both girls are in preschool, but I'm not sure I can swing the cost of it. I'm going to talk it over with TCBIM, though, because if I don't do something for myself, I'm going to lose my mind.

Because I never have time to myself during the day, I find myself staying up way too late at night, reading blogs, on Twitter, watching stuff online, catching up on the mound of books I've yet to finish (or start, in most cases) in an effort to have a little bit of space that's just mine. Needless to say, this lack of sleep isn't doing me any favours. I'm always tired. And my husband gets annoyed with me sometimes for not going to bed when he does. It's the only time I have, though, and while I've explained that to him, he doesn't quite get it. He doesn't understand the craving I have for time alone, with no one needing anything, where I can do whatever I want.

How do you do it? If you work on weekends and have small children, when do you find time for yourself? How do you recapture a little of the woman that you used to be before having children?


Velma said...

I still feel this way sometimes, but it has gotten much better since the kids reached school age. MUCH better.

I don't really have much advice, just sympathy. I look back at that period of my kids development as the time to just gut it out and power through it. And I did come out the other side, but it is a hard, hard place to be in, that treading water stage.

My advice is to go to bed with your husband at least a couple nights a week. The extra sleep and uhm, whatever, will help. Then, take those other nights to stay up late by yourself and don't feel guilty about it one iota.

I swear, it gets way easier. :)

T- said...

I don't have much advice either, other than you need to shove more of the parenting responsibility off on TCBYM so you can get a break even during the weekdays.

Unknown said...

I'm no help either, but wanted you to know that I sympathize with you. It's a hard thing to find balance in.

Heidi said...

I do exactly the same thing you do - I stay up too late and do my own thing. It takes its toll on me, which ends up taking its toll on my days with Gabe, but I really crave that personal space.

Mike said...

As a single dad for a lot of years, I agree it does get easier when the kids get older. I know, doesn't help now. Maybe you could swing a "one day" vacation. No kids, no husband, just one day for you away. Recharge the batteries as it was. Good luck....

Green-Eyed Momster said...

That girl I used to be before I had children died. The new me puts everyone ahead of herself and settles for what's left. It's not sad, really, our son is 17. He'll be old enough to leave the house next year. That'll be sad.
You have to stay strong and be the best mom you can be. If you need time for yourself, take it and don't feel guilty about it!
Motherhood is the hardest job in the world and the only payment is children who will love you and pay you with hugs and kisses.
Hang in there!
Hugs and love, T

Sarahtoo said...

Oh, man, I so feel this! I agree that it's gotten better as my kids get older, but still. My hubby & I can be in the same room, and it's all MOM all the time. I've dealt with it by giving them a relatively early bedtime (7:00 for the 3yo and 7:30 for the 6yo), just so that I get some me time. Hubby & I have a couple of nights a week that we do the togetherness thing; otherwise, we're reading--sometimes side-by-side, but often in entirely different parts of the house.

I second the mini-vacation idea--that helps me too, when I can swing it. Keep on keepin' on, my friend--this too shall pass!

MsPicketToYou said...

i don't know what i would do without the hours from 10pm to 1am. it's the only thing about me that hasn't changed since having kids. do what you gotta do.

Lorraine said...

Oh how I long for the Lorraine BC (before children)!

I can totally relate, although I work full time Mon - Fri so I do have the luxury of weekends. That said they are usually packed with washing, cleaning, shopping, cooking etc.

If I need 'me time' (and the PM-online hours aren't cutting it), I get the kids to bed and run a bath. I may or may not bring a glass of wine into the bathroom, candles, book, music and I lie there until I feel strong enough to come out!

Good luck with finding a little bit of yourself again x

Lyrehca said...

I used to wonder how I could stay up so late, much later than Mr. L, and just zone out online or play online games or whatever. Then I realized--it's the only time I really get to myself during the day. Thankfully, I can manage without a lot of sleep, but here's at least one other person up late doing her own thing across the state from you.

Beth said...

That is such a familiar feeling! I stayed home with mine from the time DD was 1 until DS started kindergarten - 6 years and then some. On the few occasions I got to go out with friends or be around other adults w/o my kids, I felt like I was verbally vomiting on them. All the stored-up talk about things other than diapers, Blue's Clues and board books came flooding out, and I wouldn't feel able to stop.

Generally, the only "away" time I got would be at 10PM at night when I would go grocery shopping after I got the kids to bed. I found many, many ways to take a couple of hours to load up a cart full of necessities. A starbucks run on the way helped, too. Not much help, but some commiseration for you....I will say that it gets a bit easier as they are a bit less needy (but then comes puberty, and we don't need to go there). ;)

I second the mom vacation idea....or taking a class, or whatever you find that suits you. Anything you can do to get that piece of YOU back is not only to your benefit, but to theirs as well.

{{hugs}} from one mama to another!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I Looooovvvveee that cartoon.

And, yeah, it does get easier although I do still struggle with this. I think that the age of your youngest child dictates a lot of this feeling though---my youngest is now 4 and so he's a little less needy now. But, since my kids don't leave for school during the week, it is hard not to feel like I'm 100% MOM and that's it. The only thing I keep saying to myself when I feel like I'm drowning is that I'm still me and this time of such never-ending neediness will not last forever.

And, now go to sleep. I'm going to shoot for 10pm this week to see if it helps at all. Let me know if it works for you.

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MsPrufrock said...

I do what you do - I stay up late just to get that "me" time, particularly at the moment with the toddler AND the husband to look after. I am a night person anyway, but it does get exhausting using that time and still having to get up early the next morning. I have no solution because I've adapted this time to nearly suit me despite the fact that it's not ideal. I just know that I couldn't do without it! Well, I could, but there would be mutilated bodies scattered round me.

Christina said...

You and me are in the same boat right now. And it feels like it's sinking, doesn't it?

My husband and I are in therapy, and last week he accused me of no longer having any interests outside of being a mom. He may be right. I gave up so much to be there for them, that I never have any time for myself anymore. Even going to nursing school is mostly for them, so I can have a more flexible work schedule and make more money to give them a better life.

Wish I had an answer, but I'm still working on this problem, too. I'm always up late, too, just because it's the one time I have to myself.

Auds at Barking Mad said...

I feel this way sometimes as well. I don't know that I do anything about it because I've become such a recluse lately. It's kind of like I'm just treading water.

I'm not sure what will happen once Megawatt gets home from college for the summer. Maybe I'll come out of my shell a bit. I don't remember what this part of life was like when the twins were 3 and Zack was a newborn. I think I was just so inundated with kids that I never gave it much thought. That's all my life was. I had no outside job and couldn't stand my former spouse, so drowning myself in little people was the only thing I had.

It does get easier. Or that's what I'm telling between the days I moan and bitch about being too old for this shit.

And yeah, when TCBYM is home...foist more of the responsibility on him and encourage your kids to involve him more too.

BTW...come up and say hi sometime. There's wine and food and adults. We can throw all the kids in the back garden with the doodle and the cats.

NS said...

Are you in my head?! I'm facing the same stuff right now. Being a mom is like having a full-time job that runs 24/7. I understand that this is my job right now (and it's a great job, of course), but when do I get time off?? I resent that my husband's work runs more or less 8 to 5, M-F, while mine JUST. NEVER. ENDS. And he seems to have plenty of time for all his interests.
Anyway, you asked for ideas, and I'm sorry to say I have none -- or none that I've really followed yet anyway. But I do plan to schedule a spa appt for myself very soon (haven't had a haircut or eyebrow wax since giving birth nearly 7 months ago). As the weather gets nicer I'm going to get out for more walks, since that always helps my mood. And I'm going to make a real effort to do little things for myself more often so the resentment doesn't build and build and build (things like buy myself some new underwear once in a while for god's sake! That can't be too much to ask. Money is of course an issue, but I think we can afford an ocassional piece of clothing if it means saving my sanity.) Also, we splurged and I got a Wii Fit for my birthday. It's supposed to be a fun, easy way for me to get some exercise/work out some stress regardless of weather, naps, etc. Now if I can just find the time to set it up...

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling!! I have 3 children 2yr, 9 months and an 8 year old with special needs. I joined a gym...I hate the gym..Lol!But I go to the ymca cc it gets me time away to listen to music and walk, or workout and sometime swim. Its a little relief from the mommy mommy mommy!!! And just like you they come to me not my husband when they need something... gezzz "he is right there"
I am starting Caleb (2yr) in daycare for 3 days a week for 4 hours. It can be alot depending on the center, but 1/2 of what it would normally cost. But it gives me one less child and him some fun and learning time with other kids!!
I do still find myself staying up late to read blogs and tweets...but, this is what we do when we have small ones and cannot even pee without them!!!
I hope it gets better for you! Cheer up! It is the hardest job out there!!! (((hug)))
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