Un-Tethering

So I started freaking out a little bit over how much of this blog has become mom-centric. I do this every once in a while. When things get too 1 topic-y I have a little panic about creating a well rounded space/life/lalala etc.

Because I definitely don’t think this is just a blog problem. It is reflective of what is happening in my pregnant/mom/wife/life world.

Last weekend was really hard. It was hard because I was disappointed, because I felt like I let people down, because I had to flip a switch in a matter of minutes regarding plans that had taken us months to cement in place, because Gabe was sick and it took both Kamel and I combined to handle everything that came with that, because it was boring, and because I am just human and it sucked. It was the last opportunity we’ll have to travel as a threesome. It was going to be Gabe’s first trip on a plane in his own seat. It was a trip to visit family that wasn’t for a holiday or a major family event. It was a rare thing.

On Saturday night we watched a cartoon movie we hadn’t seen before. This weekend was big on sitting around watching Gabe-appropriate TV and getting him to drink pedialite, water, and fizzy apple juices in small amounts. After the movie was over and we had put him to sleep I sat on the couch and cried. I cried the big cries. The ones that give you hiccups. I cried into Kamel’s sweatshirt and did not stop until I was completely done.

Why are you crying? Kamel asked me.

I just am, I said.

Sometimes I am sad. I used to have sad days when I didn’t have kids, I used to have sad days when I didn’t have a husband or a boyfriend. I could stay home and watch movies and eat Twix and hide. But, as a parent I don’t have that luxury. I do not get “me” days. I do not get to just be in a bad mood and wallow and watch Grey’s Anatomy and cry into my snickers bar, then dust myself off and continue on in my generally cheery way. Even when things are hard and exhausting, even when frustrating, bad, sad things happen. I don’t get to shut myself up in my bedroom and sit with it. Little hands find the door. Little voices with, “Mama… get UP!” I don’t get to make his life confusing because I need a day.

But we all need a day. Even when we don’t get one.

So I cried. Then I took a long, long, long hot shower, which is the opposite of every other day when my showers are 5 minutes long, max and I’m racing to get dressed between picking out a shirt for Gabe, between him eating half my breakfast, between forgetting my glasses and having to run back into the house to get them, between being pregnant and feeling crummy all of the time.

In order to be my best self I need more quiet time than I get. I need more time to think, to be alone and not tethered to so many other people.

We make due with what we have until we can’t make due anymore. Until we have to re-evaluated what is and isn’t work. Until we can schedule time to go outside alone and take a walk, or see a movie, or whatever.

This is hard. So much of my day to day involves the care and management of someone else. And I really don’t want to fuck him up. It means I have to be thoughtful a lot of the time, even when I don’t want to be thoughtful, even when I just want to come home and have a beer and eat spaghettios and not talk to anyone. My 2 year old doesn’t get that.

But I need to have it anyway. I need to have more Lauren time, somehow, in the not-enough-time-space-continuum of my life. Somehow I have to carve out a section now and again that is just me and no one else.

14 thoughts on “Un-Tethering”

  1. I think this is one of the hardest things about parenthood. Finding the space for you, among the (understandable) needs of your kid.

  2. Yes you do! I don’t know the how of it but we really do need our time, somewhere in there, otherwise we lose touch with our sanity. I’ve been hiding in the shower or the bathroom at the end of very long days, myself. Can’t do a lot of long showers thanks to the drought so I just kinda hang out in there for 20 minutes going to pieces and then collecting myself.

  3. I hear hotel rooms in Minneapolis are good for a bit of alone time… 😉

    But, in all seriousness, sometimes you’re just sad. It’s not a failure or a sign of weakness or evidence that you’re not just killing it at being a grown up and an awesome mom (you are!). Gabe gets sad and overwhelmed and you do, too, and Kamel does and everyone does and it sucks so much. I hear you.

  4. Long-time reader, SECOND time commenter. I’ve been thinking about this kind of stuff recently, since I’m super pregnant with child #1. I don’t want to be that person who is I AM PREGNANT ALL THE TIME but… ya know what? I AM pregnant. ALL the time. Just like you’re a mom (and also pregnant, which sounds horrifying). ALL the time. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have time and space to just be you, but I think it’s important to let yourself just kind of “have” your identity, whatever it is at the moment.

    And, I totally get the “mourning of alternative states of being” thing. I spend a lot of time being generally mopey about the things I’m going to miss at work when I’m maternity leave, but then I also spend a lot of time gazing out my window at the nice weather and wishing I could be snuggled on the couch with a sleepy newborn, and missing the time I’ll have with this hypothetical child when I’m back at work.

    TL,DR, I think there’s a lot of pressure on people, women in particular, mothers in particular, to be all things to all people — without guilt! And I kind of want to just say EFF that — I want to be the things that I am, to the people who rely on me to be those things. And, one of the people who relies on me to be something (currently: pregnant) is ME and so that should be something worth tending to and not feeling bad about, and that’s why I hang out with other pregnant people and moms. And it totally sucks that you don’t have that right now, and I really really really hope that you get it back soon.

    Anyway. I hear you. Longest comment ever. Hang in there!

  5. I hear you…. my kids are grown up… I still sometimes, find hard to have a “me” time… you get used to take care of everyone that we forget to remind ourselves, we need to have a “me time”.

    Hang in there… it is worth it!! 🙂

  6. Yes. Oh my lord yes. When I wasn’t working, I used to take the first 30 minutes of her first nap as time to just sit and read/facebook/drink my coffee/whatever and it was awesome. Less awesome now that I’m at work. The other thing that is for me are my yoga classes. Except I haven’t been for weeks because I can’t always get her to bed in time to make it and that makes me sad because I feel so much better physically and mentally when i do go on the regular!

    PS. As always, the hard stuff written beautifully xx

  7. I need so much down/alone/quiet time to function well. It is not uncommon for my husband and I to spend most of a Sunday in separate rooms in the house doing our own relaxing. The thought of very rarely having that much needed time makes me anxious and slightly panicky and I’m worried I would resent any children preventing me from having it. So while not one of the BIG reasons, it is A reason we’ve pretty much decided not to have kids. Anyway, I totally get it, and I hope you are able to find some more time for yourself. It is so important!

    1. I think it’s a gift to have kids, but not having kids is also a giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiift. And there are so many amazing perks to NOT. Flexibility, financial freedom, being able to have NICE THINGS. Rock on, no regrets. <3

  8. I haven’t spent a lot of time around small children, but this post raises a question for me (which probably has an answer that is little different for everyone), but would it be bad/traumatic/confusing for your young child to see you sobbing, for awhile, without much reason? Could you explain that you just need to cry alone for awhile? Or, is that sort of thing really just too upsetting for a small child?

    1. It’s just that they are so black and white. There is no nuance. It is very upsetting for Gabe to see us cry. Normal, and healthy yes. But, me just crying? He touches his face and says “Sad. Sad. Mama sad.” And is very distressed to fix it. At 2, he just doesn’t need that anxiety.

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