I’ve been struggling with something-but-I-don’t-know-what for a while. I’ve brushed it off as just a bit of a funk. Something we all go through when the summer ends and the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter. But it hit me today as I stood in the pouring rain and delighted in the icy pinpricks hitting my face: I am deeply, desperately sad.
Now, before you silverlinings me or tell me how lucky my life is: I know. I know. I am not working three jobs just to make ends meet. I am not raising my babies alone with no support. I am not caring for a sick child. I have an amazing family and a beautiful home and work that pays well and I live in one of the safest countries in the world. I lead a privileged life. And still, I am sad.
My sadness is a privilege. I have the luxury of being sad about something-but-I-don’t-know-what because I am not sad about something concrete or devastating. I have the luxury of sitting in my sadness because I don’t have to pick myself up and snap myself out of it in order to survive. Knowing this makes me sadder somehow. I have so much going for me. And yet: sad.
I feel like I have so much inside of me. Words I haven’t written yet. Recipes I haven’t tried. Books I haven’t read. Foods I haven’t tasted. Pictures I haven’t taken. Doodles I haven’t doodled. Conversations I haven’t started. And it’s all eaten up by the overwhelming everythingness of life with small kids. My days are full of music and laughter and more hugs than I can count, but also laundry and conflicting schedules and a lot of bodily fluids (so. many. bodily. fluids.) By the time I have fifteen minutes to myself to write or read or draw, my brain is so overstimulated and raw that I can barely manage to stare at my phone and scroll through pictures of the gorgeous cakes I don’t have the energy to bake, or the clothes I don’t have the fortitude to buy and then put on my body in a misguided attempt to look like anything but a frenzied, overtired mom.
I’ve lost the part of me that makes me me and I’ve replaced it with a teeth-gritted, shrill-voiced shell of a woman who locks her babies out of the bathroom so she can pee in peace, and then cries on the toilet while they stick their fingers under the door and cry to be let in.
I know I’m not the only person to struggle with parenthood. I know none of this is original or unique. Mid-thirties, middle class white girl feels overwhelmed by motherhood. Yawn. I know. The realization is not comforting, it just makes me more sad to know how normal it is to feel like this. I also know it won’t always feel like this. This is a season of life, this too shall pass, etc. I know. But knowing I won’t always feel sad does not make me feel less sad right now. I cannot reason away the sad. Logic has no place here in my rain cloud.
I suspect time and gratitude are the only cure. And solidarity.