When you are tightly wound.

July 9, 2014

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It is the unwashed dishes. The dirty kitchen sink. The four baskets of clean laundry being scattered over the crumb flavored carpet by a drunk toddler.

The kids aren’t eating enough vegetables. I’m not eating enough vegetables. I can’t remember the last time I actually scrubbed the bathroom floor. There are tiny balls of my hair in every corner of the house. I always say I’m going to organize all the papers on my desk but I never, ever do.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store for the fifth time in one week. This is either a sign of hopeless irresponsibility or early onset dementia. I never remember to buy honey.

Somehow there is something on the calendar every day for the next six weeks. Last month I bought a pack of 22 baby hair clips. There are only 7 left. It all feels very tragic.

A list of unfinished projects sits on the stack of Martha Stewart magazines I never read. I want to paint the living room but I don’t know how to paint a living room.

Every week or so someone texts me, “How is your writing going?”

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Sometimes I fantasize about falling into a drainage ditch and slipping into a mild coma for a little while.

This could be great for two reasons:

1) Easy weight loss
2) An excuse to not be writing

No one walks up to someone who has fallen into a drainage ditch and asks, “How is your writing going?”

Or maybe they do. I guess it could be good writing material.

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It happens every night. Twelve hours of parenting has passed, the kids are finally in bed, and I feel the weight of it all on my chest.

Austin will suggest we go to bed. We need more rest! But I can not go to bed. I am too tightly wound.

Anyone who has parented a human for more than five minutes has felt the coils of the day wrapping around their insides, making the chest tight and the stomach hungry for nachos. By 9pm, I have no words left. I just want to sit in the dark, watch Michael Scott, and not have to think any intelligent thoughts.

Shark tank idea: a service that comes to your house, gives you a glass of wine, ten minutes of uninhibited dancing, then rubs your back until you fall asleep. (That or someone who just shows up to play with your hair while you binge watch Orange Is The New Black).

A service specifically built to help us unwind.

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It is late, nearly 11pm, but I can’t go to bed yet. I pour a glass of water and watch Jim propose to Pam. I take deep breaths and text a friend about her newlywed life and a mama about her newborn life and my sister about the time that thing happened and it’s fine.

There is a lot of mom-shaming around these days despite our best efforts to cover it up with positive op-ed pieces on Huffington Post. Disdain for the working mothers, the home mothers, the breastfeeding or formula or unvaccinated mothers. We shame ourselves into thinking we’re the only ones who are overwhelmed, who cry in the bathroom, who sit in the grocery store parking lot as a “vacation.”

There is no moral to this story except: I see you. I see you out of the corner of my eye feeling tightly wound and it’s okay. Find 30 minutes of silence and remember two things:

1) We are lucky to have kids and most of our organs and dental floss.
2) You hid dark chocolate in the freezer. You can eat it now.

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The toddler is potty trained without really being potty trained and the house has a faint smell of urine.

The baby smells like a cheesesteak and I still haven’t unpacked from last month’s trip but it’s okay.

It is so old news and cliche and irreparably optimistic but I’m going to say it again. We are in this together. You and me and the 42-year-old mother at the library who has finally had that baby after twelve years of trying but still feels tightly wound at the end of the day.

I don’t like to make friends at the library because I’m a jumpy introvert, but this mama did not give me a choice and left me with some words I’m carrying around with me this week.

She said, “Isn’t it funny how parenting works out? It’s just so loud, even when they are asleep. You can never turn parenting off. It’s a good thing it’s what we always wanted, isn’t it?”

Press on.

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510 thoughts on “When you are tightly wound.

    1. fschlafer

      I am the older Mom who finally had her two kids. A girl (now age 6) and a boy (now age 4). Born 20 mos apart starting at the age of 40 for me, ad now at age 46, I am so tightly wound that I don’t even know who I am.

      I feel I can’t breathe some days. And some days I cry so hard (like I am now as I write this) that I can’t believe that “this” is what I wanted and worked toward and cried (funny, yes, cried) to have.

      Is it wrong that I admit openly (too much) that I don’t like this after all, and want to go back to “before?”…. Do I need to stop talking about something that everyone else is thinking?

      All I can say is that I am depressed as hell, and I don’t know how to shake it because this is a 24/7 job, and my DH travels Sun-Thur, and I’m about to lose my mind.

      Yes. Loose. My. Mind.

      Not one person ever once told me the truth about parenting. Not one.

      All that was said or asked is “When are you and DH going to have that baby?” “Oh my goodness.. parenting is the best!’ “Oh you will never understand real love until you have had a baby!”

      Well, let me say this… I love both of my kids to the moon.. and I would take a bullet for them. And yes, they are both asleep now, and I could walk up there and cuddle with them and have in instant Mommy assurance of “sweet nothings” being said by two little kids (something I NEVER got before kids even with my DH). But this is absolutely the hardest damn thing I have ever done in my life. And I feel I’m doing it all wrong, and that I am raising the next generation of crazies (I apologize in advance).

      But I know I am not alone, and I will tell you that if I did not have them I know I would have felt an emptiness that NOBODY else could have ever fulfilled so I am grateful. B/c I know THIS life is one that if I did not have, I would have never been able to have real joy, and my kids can bring that “real” joy.

      They are close together so I am struggling, and I have a Nanny so I am luckier than most, but even with a Nanny I’m telling you it’s hard but I guess that is what it is, right?

      Thank you for such honest writings. I think you are beautiful and thank you for reminding me that even the 20-somethings are struggling. Parenting is hard, and as far as worth it, well, I don’t know (ha) but it’s true.. this is what we always wanted. :) ~enjoy :)

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        My kids are in their early twenties now and just beginning their adult lives…..I am soooo glad that I have had the experience of them at every stage—and I look at pictures of them at those many ages and miss those little people so much even as I am delighted to have such a drama free,quiet life now. I was an exhausted,rather anxious parent who only seemed to fully enjoy the NOWness of my little ones in spurts. The hour at the gym with my iPod was the joy of my life some days. THERE IS NO MORE CHALLENGING JOB THAN PARENTING. I struggled with depression too and my varied parental inadequacies :-) We are challenged at every turn in ways we are mostly unprepared for. That being said, the potential for personal growth is immense. Just be sure to find support on your journey. you need to be understood and heard ( other parents..even strangers..will get it). You need time alone..exercising, shopping, reading, etc. (Going back for my masters was a BREAK!) You need something special for just you. You don’t need a perfect house or total cleanliness. Healthy food– even a blender drink of fruits or veg– WILL help lots. Your kids won’t be perfect and you won’t be the perfect parent but as long as you’re there and consistent and take care of yourself enough so that you can mostly be present for the little dears….Let go of perfection and have fun with yourself and them. you’ll miss them when they’re gone..but you’ll still have that relationship built early on. Also recommend self reflective and honest yet funny ( for your iPod) Podcasts by comedians….Mentalillness Happy Hour.. …Professor Blastoff…WTF…..Girl on Guy, etc. Cheers!

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        1. Ivonne

          Thank you so much for sharing, we push ourselves so much and we are so busy to enjoy the little things. I used to feel so selfish for doing something for myself and I completely neglected my husband because I was soo busy with birth, kids and full time job.

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      2. Jill

        Oh my, you’ve said exactly what I’ve been feeling for the last 3 years. I’m 42 and we finally brought home our baby girl 3 years ago through adoption. We’re working toward getting on the list again and I’m terrified at how much more my life will change. My husband travels as well…some days are good and others well, is it ok to think how long until bedtime at 10:30 in the morning? It’s all worth it but nothing like I imagined. I had no idea how hard it would be. Thanks for sharing your story.

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      3. M O

        Breathe. Read about peri menopause/menopause and “mature” moms. That’s when it made sense to me why the nurturing of younger kids by older moms can get “edgy” at times. I had my only kid at 40, he is a great kid, wouldn’t trade him for anything, but now at 52, I feel so much less nurturing…and it does have something to do with menopause… I am so glad he is pretty independent but cuddly still, and mellow.

        So breathe…oh, and good whiskey or tequila in little shot glasses also helps…small amounts when you start to feel the edginess coming on :)

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      4. Rochelle phillips

        Totally made me cry. It is so my life! But I love it all the same. AND I’m considering a fourth..

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        1. Rachel

          Me too! I know my friends question my sanity when I can be crying about how overwhelmed I am one day and allow them to see the trainwreck of my home, and the next tell them that I still think there is another little boy waiting to join our family. Thank you, for putting it all out there. I pray daily for contentment in the chaos and joy in my children being children, even when it’s my 6 year old telling me I’m “poopy” for not letting her have her way. FYI, I started at 30. Have a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and a 1 year old. If I have a fourth, I will be 39 or 40 when he/she is born.

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      5. Gayleth

        You sound like every mum I know, including myself-another older mum!
        Loved your writing -maybe you should be doing something with it? Find yourself-if you can find the time!

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        1. jamie

          Your last sentence is very profound. Very few people, whether they have children or not, truly know who they are. Thanks for making my thoughts pause!

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      6. Anonymous

        Wow you took the words out of my mouth! This is excactly how I feel even our kids are the same age

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      7. Bobbie

        It’s so hard and it always will be hard but know this… It does get a little easier. Mine are now 9,8 and 5 (almost 10,9 and 6) and as hard as it still is, it is not as oppressive as the toddler/baby years. My oldest 2 are just 12 months apart and it was tough. I pray for some relief and peace for you.

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        1. T

          oh bobbie, it does get a bit easier at that age but then they turn into teenagers and you will be begging for the toddler years once again. i hear it gets a bit easier once they turn 24. i am really hoping for that! i have 3 all a year apart. it is tough! i just pray they turn out okay and well rounded adults. to all the moms, keep up the good work no matter how bad you think you are doing. you are doing it and that’s what counts.

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      8. chern0byl

        Oh, right on, honey. It’s like that scene in James Bond when Daniel Craig asks the torture guy to hit him in the balls AGAIN. Humorous, and yet, so, so painful. People don’t tell the truth about parenthood because we have parent amnesia. We try to block out the bad stuff with acute denial. We LIVE for the happy moments, but sometimes they are few and far between. Just breathe. Just breeeeeeeathe. Take care of yourself and for heavens sake, find someone to talk to, even if you have to pay them to listen. You got this momma. No judging here.

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      9. Zoana

        Feeling you on this one. And, man, that stinking guilt feeling for not enjoying every moment. And then wondering what’s wrong with me for not enjoying every moment. Mine are 14 months apart….ages 1 and 3…..

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      10. Anonymous

        I’m 70 years old, and I remember those days. Thought I would never again be able to even go to the bathroom in peace. But they get a little older, and it gets a little easier and you just keep on keeping on doing what has to be done. As they get just a little older, I promise, you won’t be so overwhelmed. Mine were two years apart also, so maybe that makes it more difficult. But before you know it they are grown and have families of their own. You look back and realize that it was hard but you also realize all the joy they have brought to you and that raising them to be independent, self-supporting, productive members of society is most likely your greatest accomplishment in life. And then you have those precious grandchildren. Just do the best you can and TRY to have a little “me” time, and things will get better.

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        1. Anonymous

          Yes, I am retirement age now and look back on both hard and easy times. There is one thing that I am certain tho, Kids ARE different now. My grand kids are out of an electronic world and seem to fly through the world without much concern for anything except what THEY want immediately……..I hope they manage to conquer something satisfying for them. I’m just watching!!!!

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      11. luckymama

        Hey I really appreciate your post. My age and details are different, but in many ways I can really really relate. Keep on keeping on, and ( I do not mean this condescendingly – been there!) If you have not seen a professional or Dr about your feelings of depression, please do! It helped me immensely. Take care, brave momma :)

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      12. Anonymous

        I am single parent of 4 kids (6,8,10,11) I also started late and I to have had those thoughts of I changed my mind “I don’t want this anymore”. Yet another day has passed and I see my oldest daughter turning into a young lady and I feel accomplished and proud. I know we all have thoughts just know you are not alone. I know my kids see me struggle and hopefully they will be smart before having a family!

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      13. Emily

        Oh my goodness. Amen. It is SO hard! And it can be hard…hard…hard and it seems like the “hard” will never end, and then one of them will say or do something that melts away all that “hard” even for just a few seconds. You are so raw and honest and my heart goes out to you for your determination. Hang in there! I have a few “miracle babies” myself. One of my miracles suffers from ADHD and Autism. There are days when I wonder if God just has a cruel sense of humor. All I can think is “This cannot possibly be what I prayed so hard for all those years!” Bless you and your babies. We’re fighting the good fight. We will be blessed for our efforts. And we are not alone.

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      14. Anonymous

        You’re too old to have kids when ur kid is 20 you’ll be 60 that’s disgusting I’ll only be 40 n I’ll b able to bind with my kid

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        1. Asia

          Perhaps her age and wisdom will give her children the gift of having proper language skills, something it appears you will not be able to give your children. With your youth comes a painful lack of understanding of how this world works. Everyone is facing a different set of challenges, and perhaps age is hers, but I’m willing to bet, she has the benefit of financial and famial stability, something a younger mother rarely has. We are no one to judge another mother, when she is doing the best she can. A little bit of insight that i have gained: When women live in a supportive and understanding community, their stress and postive feelings as a parent grow exponentially. It is the judgemental attitude of other mothers that hurt and do the most damage. Just because our choices do not align, does not make one or the other wrong.

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          1. Anonymous

            Amen, I agree that it’s a personal Journey. (from a mother of two, 8 month girl & 5 yr boy at 40). I like to also add, older moms are becoming more common. Lets face it. We’re living longer too. My mother had me at 19; therefore, my childhood was well intended but a presser cooker. And lacking. Couldn’t wait to leave. The younger moms, at my sons preschool are amazed we don’t share the same struggles as they do. I’ve grown up, been exposed to the finer things/world longer and now, it’s a season to share my fruit of labor and wisdom with my offspring with more grace.

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        2. Anonymous

          How horrible of you to make that comment! God blesses us with kids in His timing. Who do you think you are being this judgemental?

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          1. Anonymous

            I agree if u hav the need 2b mean & judgmental GO DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE! Obviously u hav never suffered ANYTHING a day in your YOUNG life
            Either support ppl that NEED the support or GO AWAY u do damage

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        3. Anonymous

          Y wud u even say that if im getg u rt ? -your saying that 40 yrs olds “r disgustg” 2 hav babies ?? Is that correct?

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        4. Anonymous

          Really rude and unneeded comment. I think you meant bond anyway. I’ve seen plenty of young parents who have these same issuez.

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        5. jennab

          Hey Anonymous: who are you to say who is too old to have kids? You sound very immature to me! A mother of any age can bond with her kids. Furthermore, you missed the point about moms supporting each other! I hope you set a better example for your children.

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      15. mommommommom

        I am sitting here crying because for the first time I don’t feel alone. It seems like everyone I talk to says,”Oh it will get better.” The same thing over and over again from different people. Making me feel even worse for every failed task. I feel like I have lost myself completely. I tried to talk to my husband about it and he didn’t understand. You have given me a moment of joy knowing that others truly are as lost as I am.

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      16. Exhausted and overwhelmed

        Wow! Your comment could have been written by me. I have no advice, just sympathy because I feel the exact same way. No one wants to hear about it. My parents want me to get over it, moms groups definitely did not work out, and non mom friends mostly can’t even comprehend. In some ways things are getting better and I have a small amount of support that I am sure is saving me from tragedy but good god damn this is hard and horrible and also wonderful.

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      17. Mama Rage and Love

        FSCHLAFER–You most certainly are not alone. You are speaking my truth, too. I’ve cried buckets, but put on the happy face. I often find myself wanting to go back to before or at least not dread the seconds of my life. My kids are beautiful, happy, healthy–everything is as easy as it could possibly be, no extra challenging situations to negotiate, and yet it’s hard. So-freaking-hard. There’s never enough. I never give enough, do enough, say the right thing, nurture in just the right way. And, when I acknowledge it within myself, I feel pitiful like I’m whining, not entitled to my own feelings. No one was honest with me, either, which is why I set out to be honest. I have a friend, late 30s lives in NYC great apartment, great life. She got married and is talking about having kids. I strongly encouraged her not to. In fact, I told her she’d regret it. I’ve encouraged young moms to talk about how they don’t love it. We need a support group because when one person musters up the courage to speak some truth and everyone starts to feel safe it’s like the flood gates open and people reveal their inner truth in overwhelming volumes. It’s like “why didn’t we do this sooner???” I also agree with you that kids bring real joy. I’m a better person because of my kids, there’s no doubt about that. I see everyone in the world as some mother’s child and it softens me. I want the best for my kids, like all mothers do, but I’m not the best. I struggle, stumble, screw-it-up. I give my best, but it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. That’s the trouble.

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        1. Lucinda

          “I strongly encouraged her not to. In fact, I told her she’d regret it.” This comment makes me wonder, will you support her if she decides to have a child anyway?
          For myself, all I REALLY ever wanted to be when I grew up was Mom, but I grew up with a huge yard to play in, in a remarkably safe community, with a big network of extended family nearby. I didn’t realize that someday our family of 6 would be crammed in a little apartment, that I wouldn’t dare let my kids walk themselves to school, and that I’d worry, fret, fuss, worry, cry and stress. I didn’t realize how CONSTANT the stress of being a parent was.
          But even if I had realized, I would still have had children. They are still the fulfillment of a dream. In the moments when I feel like I can’t nurture, strengthen, and encourage them like I should, I squeeze them close and I feel a little strength return to me. They are among the best gifts I have ever received.

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      18. Pauline Horger Zazula

        I am sorry to hear how depressed you are, believe me this is not normal. Please talk to your doctor who can help you deal with this. Maybe medication is in order and or counseling. I have suffered from depression for years it is not fun, I occasionally still have severe depressive episodes. What amazes me is when I’d tell people that I have depression people respond by telling you of there experience with depression. Unfortunately it is fairly common. If I can help please let me know.
        Pauline

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      19. Stephanie O'Brien

        I admire your bravery and vulnerability in sharing this. As the daughter of a mother who experienced a lot of the same challenges, I can tell you that this kind of vulnerability is invaluable.

        Throughout my childhood, mom was a brave woman who raised my siblings and I with little emotional support from my father, and wore an ‘everything’s all right’ mask. She was always holding things together, overworking and burning out, and never really getting the support she needed. And trust me when I say this: someday, your daughter (and probably your son) will do as you DO, not as you SAY.

        So, by all means, continue to put yourself out there. Admit it when you aren’t OK. Ask for help. Be real. Be authentic. Value yourself enough to say ‘no’ to things that aren’t necessary and that drain your energy, even if not doing them means you aren’t ‘perfect’.

        The more you take care of yourself, the more your children will learn to do the same. And the more you accept and embrace your imperfections, and allow your children to see you messing up, admitting it, apologizing and moving on, the more they’ll be able to accept and take responsibility for their own mistakes instead of denying them or beating themselves up over them.

        So don’t worry about being perfect or being supermom. Accept that you can’t do everything, accept that you won’t get everything right, and understand that, by not doing everything and by not being perfect, you’re actually giving your children the foundation they need to grow up into authentic, confident, self-respecting and responsible adults.

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      20. Vicky

        My baby yoga teacher used to have us repeat (ah, baby yoga when there was only one kid and I had a grip on life), “you are the best mom for this baby”. The fact that you love your kids gives them the best start in life.

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      21. Laura

        Hugs! I think every parent has reached this point at one time or another. And you are absolutely correct when you said no one tells you how hard it really is to raise children! I swear they should come with a warning manual and a how to raise a child manual! Lol. But that is the beauty of raising a child. You see I think we all tend to forget that as a parent our children teach us just as much as we teach them. We will all make mistakes, we will all experience hard times, & we will all feel like a failure at one point or another! The beauty of it all is watching that child grow, learn, & yes even stumble. There are so many little joys and little blessings that we receive from our children! So when we start to feel down, we need to focas on the good things in life. Like hearing your children laugh. Or watching them learn something new. When you start feeling down think about that kind of stuff. Think about their smile or the little glint of light in their eyes when they laugh. Think of the wonder on their little faces when the see something that they like! That should help you. Another is to say a little pray. The power of pray is a glorious thing! I will say a prayer for you. You are a Momma! Honey you got this! :-) And you are not alone!!

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      22. LMom

        I feel like you just wrote about ME!!! Wish we could connect somehow & share experiences. You sound like you’d be good support for me :-)

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      23. killa1612

        Sounds like you are suffering from postpartum depression.
        please talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling.

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      24. Sue

        If someone had spelt it out would you have got it? so remember you chose, you are doing it, and your babies are here because you are amazing!!

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      25. Anonymous

        How you are feeling is completely understandable and ok. You did life one way for a long time. And now everything is completely different. But…remember that emptiness that you felt without your children. Remember it, not to hold on to the past, but to hang on to perspective. All mothers have those moments when we wonder how much easier life would be without the kids. But easy didn’t really appeal to you did it? You wanted the challenge. You could’ve gone on in your life and never had kids, with that sporadic thought of what could’ve been. But that wouldn’t have satisfied you would it? So here you are. Here you are with all the rest of us in this messy house chaos and you’re feeling blue. But it IS worth it. IT IS. Because you are the world to those babies. And even when you feel like you are doing a horrid job, you’re fantastic in the chaos. And you were chosen to be their mother. You, in all your flaws and all your shortcomings, were chosen very precisely to be that woman to them for as long as they live. You are the one they will always run to. You’re Mom. And truthfully toddler age is an evil kind of rough. It can make a mom think terrible thoughts. Yes parentinh is hard. It is not for the weak spirited. But you’re strong. And you can do this. And you can do it well. You already are.

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      26. Kristie

        You have to know that we all miss “before” sometimes. I miss being able to spend my money on shoes, not worry about what’s for dinner, have sex whenever and where ever we want…I love my kids but as a SAHM by the evening I want to get in the car and drive away just to NOT be mom for a bit. I can’t even sleep right anymore because my brain hears when the kids fart differently in the night like maybe OMG something must be wrong and I wake up. I feel like I yell too much and play too little. I feel like I’m doing it wrong too. I seriously think that if you DONT think you’re doing it wrong you really are doing it wrong. Lol. Hang in there. Your feelings are normal and ok. You are going to be ok.

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      27. Angela

        I love everything you said! I sometimes think it harder for older parents because you had so many “independent” years. And the same for young parents, your always struggling to succeed and make it in life and your career because you have a mouth to feed and you never had all those independent years to advance in your career. And the. You feel guilty for not having all the “time” to give your kids. It’s a vicious cycle

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      28. Brandy

        I think there is a possibility that may have been a very difficult post for you to write. I want to tell you that in my opinion, the simple thought that you are doing it wrong is a sign from one mother to another that you are probably doing it right. I hope this doesn’t come off as patronizing, but you will be in my thoughts tonight. Keep up the great work! The world can always use a few more happy, loved, crazies running around!

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      29. Chrissy

        Of course it’s hard. Parenting IS HARD. I don’t know why everyone has this expectation that it’s going to be all roses.

        Be thankful that at least you have a nanny – my mouth dropped to the floor when I read that – I can’t remember the last time I went out, in fact last week I went to the store by myself for the first time in months – literally months. Be thankful that you have a husband that is there for two days a week – some of us don’t have that luxury at all.

        I have a 7 and almost 5 year old. Every single day I question if I’m doing it right. Most of the time I know I’m not! But I can tell you right now, it doesn’t even enter my mind about “before”. I will never understand when parents say that. How incredibly selfish.

        Instead of thinking about how hard this parenting thing is, how about just living? Of course it’s hard. LIFE IS HARD. With or without kids.

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      30. em

        I totally understand how you feel. Toughest job ever. Sometimes I miss my old job/life like I’m missing a part of me, of who I am (was) and I have to consciously work hard at making this life now the best I can make it. I do take pleasure in knowing I’m not as good at being a housekeeper as I was a Social Worker because it means I don’t have to stress about always having a neat house, unless I want it to be. Then I take absolute pleasure in the love I get from my children even after I feel I’ve lost my way shouting and ranting and wanting to run away. And in between I just survive, forget some stuff, enjoy other stuff and think ‘it’s getting easier right?!’ Hahahahahahaha – yes that’s a crazy laugh. I feel your struggle and hope you have some respite today x

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      31. Joy R.

        My husband and I have many times wondered why we had kids. Why does everyone say how wonderful it is? Why don’t they say how awful it is sometimes?
        It’s OK to wish you could turn back the clock.
        It’s tough because we love them so much, but sometimes we feel we have completely lost ourselves and will never get ourselves back.
        Welcome to the heaven and hell of parenthood.
        And for those contemplating having another, do yourself a favor and just don’t do it! ;)

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      32. tris

        YoUr crazies and mine can rule the world together. :) I had a therapist who once told me that you have to try veeeeeryhard to really mess up a child. That if you are trying, they will be okay. I know your feelings of craziness, my kids are close in age too, but it gets easier! And your kids are lucky to have you and each other so go get a massage and try to smile at those babies one extra time today. You won’t regret that!!!

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      33. Jr

        I’m a dad of two. A gorgeous little girl who turns 3on Saturday and an amazingly bright little boy who is 5 soon.. Both of whom make me cry with pride and make me think/truly believe I am not good enough for them..
        I’m self employed yet drop everything for them with no question.. Go without so they can have anything they want. Read to them. Listen to them. Try to educate them not teach them my beliefs. Work long, hard days to provide for them. Cook, clean, school runs etc..
        What scares me the most is moms suffering like this and not talking to their partners. Talking. Not screaming, shouting, crying.. Just seeing us dads as an equal part to the deal.. I know not all dads do as much as they should and quote a line from parenthood. “You need a license to have a gun or a dog, but any asshole can be a father!” All I’m trying to say, badly… Is talk to your partners.. You are not alone… It takes two to make a baby and no one should have to try to do this on their own.. It’s the hardest and best thing any of us will ever do x

        Reply
    2. Felicia Leary

      Thank you for sharing. I am an “older” mom also. Two boys 9 and 6, and a farmer for a husband. Turn the big 45 tomorrow .:/ It is comforting for me to know that I am not the only one who feels the way many of you have. I love my kids with all my heart and thank the good Lord all the time for blessing me with the honor of being their Momma.:-). We need to support each other and encourage one another. God Bless all you Mommas out there! You are doing a great job!!
      Felicia

      Reply
    3. Aisling

      Wow, this is amazing, thank you so much. As a mother I often ask myself why the hell I find it so difficult to do the little things, until I realize that 847 little things per day add up. You struck a chord with me on every point, I feel like you are writing my own story… Thank you so much for finding the timw to write this, and to mother’s everywhere, keep up the good work <3

      Reply
      1. Lucinda

        “847 little things add up.” Oh duh! Thank you for that comment – I really have wondered why I can’t get seemingly little things done, but you’re right – the day is full of “little things” that amount together to an enormous task. :)

        Reply
    4. Anonymous

      I rarely laugh when writers are attempting to be funny. But I laughed here. You have a gift with written words.

      Reply
    5. Dallas Price

      From a tightly wound daddy/blogger/graphic designer: Great post, reminds me a lot of ourselves with the piles of clean clothes that you just end up rewashing because the kids trample them while looking for new clothes, pile of dishes and oh, the baby smells but, it never washes off …

      Reply
  1. Emily

    You’re the best. I can picture myself during my grocery store parking lot vacation not wanting to turn off my book on tape.

    Reply
  2. Heather

    I’m so busy driving my kids everywhere this week and I can’t fall asleep either. I am so tired but with an unsurmountable chore list I can’t sleep. We are in this together I agree but could someone get my kids up, in swimsuits, feed them, pack more food, and put them in the van at 8 this morning? ?? And can someone take my youngest? She has to be somewhere else. And can someone do laundry? I’ll be home at 7 pm . I say to myself ” all good problems.” I used to also fantasize about getting in an accident. Lol!!!!

    Let’s hang in there. I cried this morning. I did Netflix last night. I’ll commiserate with other moms this morning. I’ll get thru. And most important I decided I will not be frazzled and cranky with my kids. We will enjoy the day. ( after my 4th cup of coffee)

    Reply
      1. Heather

        Guess what! i DID have an accident. We thought I broke my foot. I had to rest and keept ice on it. It wasn’t as wonderful as I thought it would be! LOL! You know the old saying, be careful what you wish for!

        Reply
  3. Megan

    You and I? (or is it you and me?): we are twins. In this together, yes.

    P.S. Do you have community? A mom group? I, for the life of me, cannot find a community to walk through this parenting mess with. I just want some natural friendships and playdates. I want some moms I can text and they are up for hanging out on a whim and we can commiserate together and encourage each other and our kids learn to play with other kids. I’ve tried the groups- so forced. I’ve gotten at least 6 phone numbers from ladies at the library but no one ever calls me back. It sucks. We are newish to the area so I blame it on that. `So I stay at home and grumble and read blogs. Anyway, just wondering….

    Reply
    1. Liz

      Yes and amen to this entire post – I knew I wasn’t the only one doing dishes at 9 pm before binge watching back episodes of Amazing Race.

      Megan, where do you live? Let’s hang out if you’re anywhere near Minneapolis. We can drink too much coffee and talk about how much we love this blog.

      Reply
        1. Melanie

          Hi Megan, I’m on the east coast too – Pa/Nj/De area. You?
          I feel your pain. I need some blow off steam time. Sans the judgment.

          Reply
    2. Kate Post author

      Megan, thanks so much for sharing. I am sorry to hear that no one is smart enough to call you back. I do have a community now, but I didn’t always. We lived in Virginia for a bit and I didn’t have anyone there to talk to besides Austin. It was very, very lonely. Hoping that as time goes by, you can find a village of people to text and meet up and commiserate with during the daily grind. They would be lucky to have you.

      Reply
      1. lostonthemountains

        VA can be SO isolating…Lived in the sticks near WV for a while and moved to a more populated area, still pretty much the same. Thank you for writing this, I’ve been feeling this blah for a few days now and so alone in feeling like I’m the mom who’s just too overwhelmed to to anything but freeze.

        Reply
    3. lana525

      I’d totally recommend checking out a non-denominational church that’s close to you. Or look up MOPs program at a church. (Mothers of Preschoolers -but really it’s any age kid). They are awesome!!!! Keep trying. Community is sooo important :)

      Reply
    4. Jennifer Burch Gonzalez

      MOPS (Mothers Of Pre Schoolers) was such a big help to me during this time. Someone watched my precious little ones and I got to spend real time with adults, eat great food, and learn something. From there I met friends and we did playdates and coffee dates (even though I never did learn to like coffee. :) They have these at many churches and you don’t need to belong to the church to go.

      Reply
    5. Anonymous

      If you go to church, I know everyone doesn’t, but many times they have mom groups. That helped me a lot when I had little ones and a very busy, often away from home hubby. At first it seems like forced relationships but some grew into real lasting friendships!

      Reply
    6. Julie

      Google moms club. It is a big country wide community and they usually have groups everywhere. It is 20$ a year and just exactly the kind of moms you are looking for. I live in Sacramento ca.

      Reply
    7. Laurie

      My daughter and I have found a couple of really authentic Moms groups a a couple of different churches. You might check them out.

      Reply
    8. Maggie

      Megan, I’m new to my area too. I live in Denver. There are great mommy groups on meetup.com and that I have found on FB. I’m glad to know I’m really not alone! This was an amazing blog post! It really hits home and I’m going to be reading this over and over especially on the struggle days.

      Reply
      1. Denielle

        Hi! I live in Denver, too. Loved this post and am looking for like minded mommies. Any group suggestions? Seems like finding a group is adding to the wound up stressed out daze I’m in. Lol Either way, I’ll be reminding myself of this post’s message for many days to come. Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Kyla

          I was in the same boat a couple years ago when I moved to Denver. I ended up joining the Loving Denver Moms group on Meetup and found some great friends for both myself and my son. The best part for me has been meeting other women who aren’t afraid to admit they don’t have it all together – such a relief because I definitely don’t!

          Reply
    9. Blythe

      I found a great community through meetup.com. Search “playgroups” or “mom’s groups” in your geographical area. Join the group and GO TO EVENTS!! Good luck – having mama friends is absolutely invaluable.

      Reply
    10. JayJay

      dito – i am so feeling you! But you know what? i tried to hook up with some moms in this town but i can’t seem to get along with them. It’s all about: “Oh, did you see xxx on tv last night, she’s such a…” or: “did you hear about xxx doing this and that, that’s just so…” or: “i think my kids are super duper intelligent because guess what they can..” or: “i had to change diapers 3 times in 10 minutes and redress blaaaaaa” i mean, it’s ok with me, if you say stuff like that like once in a while, but all of the time?!? Is that all you can think of??

      is this me? Am i crazy for not liking to talk about stuff like that? Am i that different from everyone or did i just end up in a really weird town or am i just meeting the “wrong” ppl?? i don’t know, if it’s better being all alone or hooking up with moms such as i described.. i wish i could find someone ilike

      Reply
    11. Michelle Bott

      Check on meetup for a moms group in your area or start one up if there isn’t one. Those moms from the library might be interested in organizing with you. Also check local churches for MOPS groups. Good luck. I really hope you find one. Mine changed my life.

      Reply
    12. Mandy

      Can you find a church? I have found the best group of moms at mine. And not the “we are perfect, can you measure up” type. More the “my kid just pooped on your floor, but it was on the tile in the bathroom, and I have Clorox wipes I’m my purse, so it’s ok” type. Awesome :)

      Reply
    13. Samantha Owen

      I fee the same. Im a SAHM of a 3 and 1 yr old, i know, what was i thinking, right ? Ugh well i was thinking thisll be fun, we’ll have playdates and tea parties, we’ll play dress up and have fun fun fun, then reality kicked me straight in my ass and we have 0 playdates because I cant find moms in my area who seem anything like me, (they all seemingly have this journey figured out)we have tea parties but that consists of my 3 year old dumping the pitcher of tea in the floor while I’m vacationing in the shower and me remembering to breathe when I come out to clean it, dress up is my kids second favorite disaster, i’ve already refolded and replaced every article of clothing in the drawers twice today and it needs done again. Where are all the other moms like me ? The ones who feel like theyre going to snap and insanity has set in ? The ones who desperately feel like theyre failing at this one thing they thought theyd be great at? Am i a horrible mom and or person for finding reasons to go to the grocery store when my husband gets home just so i can have 30 minutes of quiet? Or maybe I’m a bad mom because i have honestly considered just running away from it all, i love them more than anything I’ve ever loved and i didnt even know you could love as truly and wholly until i held my oldest for the first time but holy crap I’m bad at this . Many days I feel so completely and utterly broken . My oldest has severe ADHD and I get so overwhelmed with her that some times i KNOW shes doing something she shouldn’t but ive already gotten on to her so many times that day that i feel exhausted and i just let her do it so for that 10 minutes i dont have to raise my voice or threaten her or redirect behavior. Then my husband comes home and i have to listen to him patronize me about how i shouldnt let her do this or where was i when she did such and such. Im here 24/7 we have one vehicle so i leave rarely i never have a minute to myself unless i lock myself in the bathroom which results in hollering children beating down the door. I constantly have someone hanging off of me someone demanding more from me in some way and someone telling me I’m doing it all wrong. This is the life i chose ,well kinda?!?! I NEED to know I’m not alone out here. Whew all I meant to write was i wish i had mommy friends too lol

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        You are not alone in thinking that way. Tip: Let go of refolding the clothes over and over, especially if they are play clothes! As a parent you may have two of the following: happy children, a clean house, sanity. Choose what works best for you. :)

        Reply
      2. April

        Where do you live?! You sound a lot like me! I have an ADHD kid too, so I know how you feel. I would love to have play dates with you :-)

        Reply
      3. Anon

        Believe me when I say it gets easier with every passing year. My oldest daughter is the exact opposite of me: extreme extrovert and probably has a touch of ADHD. She’s gotten so much better once she turned 4 and now at 6 she helps out a lot with her baby brother. She’s finally potty trained but still has nighttime accidents. She can actually entertain herself for a few hours during the day in her room and she goes to bed at a decent hour. Her sleep schedule was nocturnal from the time she was an infant to about 3 years old. It was awfully hard getting her on a good sleeping schedule but we struggled through it and we still struggle sometimes. I don’t enjoy staying up til 3 am every night just so I can get an hour of “me” time when the kids are sleeping but that’s the way it is. You do what you have to do in order to maintain your sanity and have happy, healthy kids.

        Reply
  4. Jenna

    ‘It’s a good thing it’s what we always wanted’ I will carry these word with me. Thank you for sharing the inspiration from the wise library mama.

    Reply
  5. Whitney

    My son just asked me, “Is that your first or second cup of coffee?” Both of my kids know that 2 cups of coffee are required before I can be expected to fully function. I do have to say that now that the kids are 10 and 5, we are having the BEST summer together since I started parenting. They are so much more independent and dare I say it, FUN. But boy, did I earn it–colic, temper tantrums, slow potty-trainers…You know how it is. However, the other morning I woke at 5:00 and cried when I thought how quickly they were growing up…parenting IS loud, always! Finally, it is only since I became a parent that I have had an enduring daydream of wining the lottery (that I don’t play) and employing a 60-year-old masseuse (who will live in a nearby house that I build just for her) whose sole job is to be available at all times for back and feet rubs. Thanks for always encouraging me with your truth telling.

    Reply
  6. Liz

    I think it gets a little better as they get older, but I STILL can’t just go to sleep in the evening like my husband can. He sleeps like a log. No care in the world. I’m lucky to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep because I just can’t turn off the Netflix, put down the book, or stop talking to friends. The only part of the day (or night I guess) where I don’t have to worry about what they’re doing/watching/eating/playing/fighting and just unwind!!

    Reply
    1. Darcy Stewart Buhlin

      Me too! My toddler is in bed around 9, husband goes to bed at 11 and is sleeping blissfully 8 seconds later, and then there’s me, forcing myself to bed at 3:30am and playing solitaire until my brain finally slows down. I have tried so many things to get to sleep earlier or easier, but nothing works! I never knew it would be this way.

      Reply
  7. Anonymous

    You cannot believe how much I needed this post right now. I just spent an hour just looking out of the window, thinking about all the things I would like and should do instead of trying to figure out why my baby is whinging. Everything seems so easy when I watch other mothers do their parenting. And then on the other hand I couldn’t be happier when she wakes up and all I see is her purity. Pure happiness, a pure mind. Purity. I love her.

    Reply
  8. Kimberly

    Sometimes I just feel so out of control. That my kids are going to burn my house down and there is nothing I can do about it. I look at my friends and siblings who are childless and I feel a little jealous. But it’s a complicated feeling because I can’t be away from my kids for even a night with out crying and freaking out a little. So. . . we just keep living.

    Reply
  9. Dara

    This times 100. I really needed to read this right now. I am running on empty balancing between the potty training and constant tantrums and the 2 month old crying to eat every two hours….

    Sigh. We are in this together. :)

    Reply
  10. Beth

    You and Library Momma are the very best. Thanks for sharing – every time I see a new post of yours, I save it for naptime and look forward to being entertained and encouraged.

    Reply
  11. Laura

    So needed this and am keeping it for a day in the future. I’m “patiently” awaiting the arrival of my first little one and the piles of washed laundry need to be put away and the house needs to stay clean but i’m so tired and hot and i don’t want people to see my crazy house when i get home from the hospital! sigh. happy to be getting through it. every night, my husband and i say to each other, another day done, another day closer to her being here. thanks.

    Reply
  12. Erin

    “It’s just so loud, even when they are asleep.”

    Yes…the perfect way to describe parenting. Thank you for this.

    Reply
  13. Tristan

    Thank you. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear that today. I swim in guilt daily for all the things that I should be getting done and can’t; for not being more grateful for getting to stay home; for not being a better mom and wife; for not appreciating better my husband who works his a** off and the 2-year-old who is so smart and well behaved; the list never ends. I’m sitting here with tears running down my face, I’m so glad it’s not just me. Thank you for putting into words exactly how I’m too embarrassed to admit I feel! Thank you.

    Reply
  14. jamie

    Once again, you hit it out of the park. Love this post. Thanks for honestly expressing what its like parenting small children )

    Reply
  15. jennifermumford

    I could have wrote this. I thought I did write this to the point where I got excited about remembering there was chocolate in the freezer, but I didn’t write it and there is no chocolate. It seems like parenting is all consuming regardless of if you have one thing on the calendar, or 100 things.

    Reply
  16. Jasna

    I’m always sorry when I finish reading your posts because I cannot get enough of your writing! You are the best!

    Reply
  17. dr perfection

    in 4-5 years your children will be in school. 5 years fly by. you will still be a very young woman. Your house will be clean and you will have time to write. You will then look back and miss these days. I am not a mother but I promise you, this will happen.

    In the meantime, I will never ask you how the writing is going.

    Reply
  18. Shannon M

    It’s either procrastination or a huge compliment…i saw your post and decided that putting away the clean laundry from this weekend, cleaning the baby bottles and straightening up our entire house would just have to wait….nope i’m not procrastinating AT ALL!
    I feel like my head is always loud, but now that i have the baby it’s extra loud. Someone is always yelling in my head about all the stuff she should be doing to be the smartest human ever (!!) instead of watching me complete mundane tasks. I really hate it when i wake up for a split second and the voices start rumbling about my to do list and things i’m anxious about. How does one shut it off!?
    Thank you for allowing me to relate to you and all the other readers. I’m sorry we all stress about being a mom, but apparently this is completely normal! Why do we ever pretend it’s not?

    Reply
  19. A

    By dark chocolate in the freezer, do you mean all the Hershey bought ahead of time for summer s’mores that somehow there just mysteriously isn’t enough of once campfire time finally rolls around?

    Reply
    1. Autumn Hoffman

      bahahah! I just polished off the s’more chocolate from the freezer RIGHT BEFORE I read this article and these comments. I ha
      I’ve gained 10 pounds since school got out three weeks ago…

      Reply
  20. luna

    I needed this today. And every day. I am that 42yo woman at the library who finally had those kids after nearly 10 years of trying. Except now I’m 44 and my kids are nearly 3 and 5 and I love them with every fiber of my relentlessly exhausted being. So fhanks for this.

    Reply
  21. Sarah

    I loved the husband saying get more rest. I get that every night when I complain about being tired, BUT that is the only peaceful uninterrupted time I have to go back downstairs and pick up after the day, put dinner away, do the dishes, fold laundry (while trying to make a dent in my backed up DVR), return work emails, etc, etc. All the while reminding myself that yes this is the life I wanted and yes these are minor problems; I’m still stressed out. Always nice to know you aren’t alone and to read someone succintly write what you feel every single day.

    Reply
    1. Rita Dirkse Dykhouse

      I am a 70 year old grandma who has been there/ done that with four kids. I will tell you that grandkids make it worth it. ;-). To Sarah, work with your husband so he knows even a little help in the evening will help you sleep better.

      Reply
  22. lesleygoody

    This was SUCH a good read!!! Thank you for sharing your very REAL thoughts.
    We recently moved to a new area, one where we know very few people. As a homeschooling mommy of five beautiful babes (ages 8, 5, 3, 3, and 1…with another on the way) I know the hopelessness of being alone. I have only my husband and a few long distant friends at this time. My kids are enjoying our new “farm life” adventure, and thankfully or I may have jumped into that lake a LONG time ago…mid winter! The most difficult is moving from a neighborhood with sidewalks and PEOPLE, to a farm with trees and birds and chickens! ;-) I am a social person, a people-person! And while this is the most peaceful place I have ever lived my skin crawls and my hair stand on end and my heart wants to beat out of my chest as I end each day, putting my babes to bed, having no TV or internet, reading a book or just staring at my husband hoping he understands the loneliness a mommy feels even when she’s never alone. A part of me wants to run to that place where no one will look, for about 5 minutes…but then the loneliness is even bigger and I miss the little minions always pulling at my pant legs ;-)
    Motherhood is a gift I cannot fully describe! It is a blessing to have such beauty and creativity surround our lives, but for the love…WHERE AM I? LOL…I lost myself in the last 9 years and that may be the reason for the loneliness. Yes, I believe that is why we ALL feel this. We were our OWN people and now we are so much more. It takes time to adjust to our new roles and the responsibilities that come with them…thank God for blogs and women who are open and willing to share their moments. Without this there may be an influx of missing mommies…all found in drainage ditches ;-)

    Reply
  23. Christie

    I enjoyed reading this so very much, mainly because it carried me back. My 3 children are all in their 40’s, I have grandchildren, I am as free of daily parenting as I want to be, and yet I can tell you…it never really ends. The days of feeling exhausted and giddy and angry and lost as I sat on the floor of my living room surrounded by a 28 month old and twin newborns are over. They have not faded. Reading this wonderful piece brought those feelings of dispare and joy right back to me, in a glorious wave of déjà vu. I am comfortable with those memories, yet I do pick and choose which ones to keep close. Applause to all the mothers writing here, and I know you’ll be fine. Really.

    Reply
  24. danielle

    hi there, first time coming across your writing. thank you for sharing. i am SO there right now. three kids here and two years of emotional craziness piled on top of each other leaves me very tightly wound. ah. thanks.

    Reply
  25. Kaly

    That blissful 15 seconds (because I walk REAL SLOOOW) after you get both kids in their car seats and walk around the car to get to your side=vacation.

    I ate a cookie in my car in the grocery store parking lot the other day. By myself. For a second I wondered if I had been struck by a car in said parking lot and I was actually in heaven.

    Reply
  26. Renee

    I can’t believe how much I related and identified with every word of this. Today is my 4th trip to the grocery store (though different stores each time, so at least I’m not getting strange looks from the same employees each time, haha). Totally need honey, more hair ties and dark chocolate–so thanks for the reminder ;-)

    Reply
  27. K. Lyn Wurth

    Hi, Kate…my daughter, who’s a young mom of three now, linked to this page on Facebook, to my attention. You write so well. I can relate, because I started writing seriously after my kids were born, still in diapers and pushing me to the edge. It’s been the mainstay of my life, grounding me through the years of madness and euphoria of parenting, and now it’s my light as I see them grown–and with grandchildren. I hope you stay with the writing, no longer how long you’re in the drainage ditch. You’re insightful and funny and, as my daugher said, incredibly on point. Write on…

    Reply
  28. Sara

    Yes, yes and YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love these posts. They make my day and remind me that we are all going through it. You are awesome!

    Reply
  29. Cait

    This is the post I needed today! You have described my day perfectly. I work part time from home, and have a baby full time at home…I am feel guilty for not quite having enough time to do anything really well. Usually it’s work, or the house that suffers most. Like right now, the baby is sleeping, and I should be working, or cleaning up, or doing something else productive. But I just. need. a .minute. Ahhhh well…. Thank you for posting!

    Reply
  30. theevenstar15

    My husband sent me this because he thought I’d like your writing style. I do! And the timing is perfect— I’m currently sitting in a 15 car drive thru like at chick fil a thinking… Perfect… Quiet… No dishes calling my name, no laundry to fold, and nothin I can do except sit here and peace out until they’re ready to take my order– large chocolate milkshake please–for me, not the baby. :)

    Reply
  31. Kait

    Thank you for these awesome words. I think that nearly everyone who reads this post will feel that, finally, someone is in the same boat that they are. The guilt can be overwhelming, and your piece allowed me to unwind for a few minutes. Following two trips to the doctor, one trip to the mall, a veggie-free lunch, and an impending drug store trip once kiddo naps are over, I have to pack for a trip to the in-laws over the weekend. Another exhausting day for this mama.

    And, due to my breastfeeding infant’s allergies to dairy, eggs, and peanuts, the dark chocolate in my freezer will remain untouched for another day.

    Reply
  32. Jae

    As I was laughing my butt off and thinking of snarky things to share, my toddler crashed google crome from atop my lap. All.Thirteen.Tabs. I’m that 42 year old in the library. I found myself today begging for a break. Or a bottle of scotch. But after praying for 15 yrs. for another baby (and a lengthy adoption), I remind myself of this one thing. When she wakes up in the morning, I am the face she rolls over and rubs with her tiny hands, gives me ‘nosies’, and says, “Mama… I made a fluffy. It stinks.” And we laugh at the very inappropriate show of affection.That’s how I start my day. I wouldn’t trade her fluffies, or her nosies, or her sweet, sweet kisses for anything in the world. She’s my Princess. And I love her.

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    OMG all you mothers should quit your belly aching and realize gee my kids are healthy. I was busy also when my kids were little, job, three kids and one of my kids happened to have a chronic illness from which she passed away from at the ripe old age of 5 just before her 6th birthday. She was a special little girl with huge brown eyes and such a sweetheart!! But life isn’t meant to be easy, so just buck up and quit complaining. Thank God my husband was also a great father!! Furthermore, I had to unhook my daughter from a IV pump every morning, as she had a central line, before I took her to daycare and later school. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and finding your daughter laying in a pool of blood because her lipids port had come unhooked and back flowed into her crib. I learned so much from such a wise young girl including not to sweat the small stuff…like life!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Thank you so much for this perspective. You are right. Each day is truly a gift. I will be thinking of your words. I’m so sorry for your terrible, terrible loss.

      Reply
    2. laurie at laurie jones home

      I’m 44 with a 2 year old son and a 16 year old daughter, I’m that gal who took forever to have another child who suffered 3 losses all at around 28 weeks due to an undiagnosed incompetent cervix, I cherish every moment with my sweet baby boy and know how lucky I am to have him but as lucky and blessed as I am some days are hard and more days than not I’m that mom in the grocery store parking lot taking a mini vacation. We all have a story and regardless life is hard for all of us and there is no shame in admitting that. We all need to stick together in this and stop comparing who had it harder and be there for each when times are hard. (Super awesome post Kate!!!!)

      Reply
  34. Hillary

    I swear I wrote this. I “wrote/lived” a very similar version of this, ironically this week. LOVE IT! I don’t find it to be complaining so much as putting your thoughts to paper or fingers to keys. I am sure you wouldn’t write your story any other way!

    Reply
  35. PJ

    Loved this and it’s all very true. So hard to turn it off at night and uncoil. Hate to scare you all, but it’s still true when your kids are 20 and 16. Parenting is still loud but it is longer distance. The touches are smaller and softer, but just as important and real. As the mom way up wrote about enjoying her little girl’s “purity”, it is for me all about the little moments. All day may be tough and a rush but take just a small moment – and enjoy it. I drove my 16 year old somewhere for the umpteenth time yesterday and, stopped at a light, I looked over at her all plugged into her iPhone. She looked up, “What?” and I said, “I just love you so much.” She said, “I love you, too” and we just smiled goofily at each other. That’s all I got now. Still wound up at night, but I live for that little stuff now.

    Reply
  36. Cassie

    All the yes. I chink my glass to yours. That alone makes my shoulders drop and my head less foggy. May you pee in peace today xx

    Reply
  37. Anonymous

    I seriously can’t thank you enough for writing this article. I am wiping tears from my eyes while reading. You have an amazing ability to not only write, but also empathize with moms out there. Again, thank you for taking the time to write this. What you do matters… All my best.

    Reply
  38. Sue Meager

    I’m a grandmother now, not a young mum, but this struck a chord. My tightly wound comes from a not fit husband and a 93-yr-old mum who has just been poorly for practically the first time in her life. Of course I still wind tight on behalf of my 40-yr-old daughter and 4-yr-old granddaughter. Any excuse for the dark chocolate ;)

    Reply
  39. momsthoughts1

    I have one in college, one about to go…which means I should be jumping with joy about the freedom ahead but I feel even more like i am walking the last mile….towards a prison alone. I am so tightly wound, when I sleep, I have nightmares. All I can say, I wish I didn’t let the pressure to have the perfect house, the perfectly clothed kids, the perfect cupcakes, the perfect everything all those years…I wish I just WAS. I wish I just was in love every moment with my kids because I honestly don’t remember if the clean house days out numbered the messy house days – I just know I have only the memories of the giggles, hugs and songs. So don’t worry about ANYTHING else but making the good memories. You won’t remember if those memories were in a messy house – you will just remember the smile on your child’s face and the relationship that endured.

    Reply
    1. Melanie

      Thank you SO much. You have no idea how much I need to be reminded of this on a constant basis. My house is a mess more than it’s not, and I get so disgusted and disappointed in myself for not keeping up with it. I’m smart enough to know that a clean house is nowhere near as important as quality time with my little girls, but it still eats at me – I can’t help it. I want to redecorate. I get inspired by different styles of decor, furniture, etc and I want it so bad. So bad! But I don’t have the time, nor the money and now that you mention it….who cares?!!!??! My girls’ messy room and my living room disaster is so temporary in the grand scheme of life. I need to learn to love the mess. Because one day I’ll have a clean beautiful home, but those bright innocent eyes, chubby cheeks and toothless grins will be a fond memory in a New York minute!

      Reply
      1. momsthoughts1

        So true – let it go – make memories…there will be more than enough time to clean up, redecorate, remodel later….you have your “babies” for 18 years. make them count. every minute.

        Reply
  40. Anonymous

    How’s your writing going?!? Amazingly well! You have a gift with words and capturing reality and emotion so beautifully. Yay you!

    Reply
  41. Karen

    This is perfect. I’m a military wife stay at home mom and my husband has been gone since Jan and will be gone until Feb. I thought at the end of last year that this would be a piece of cake because I’d have the girls to keep me busy… but I never thought about the fact that the girls would keep me BUSY. Now that summer is going on, my girls are staying up just a little later than during the school year and I find that I am staying up later as well. I couldn’t figure out why until just the other day and this post perfectly sums it up. I need to unwind for a certain amount of time and if that time starts later, it ends later too. So thank goodness my kids are sufficient enough to turn on the cartoons in the morning when I can’t haul myself out of bed when they get up. And thank goodness for the friends I have who understand and posts like this that remind me that its okay.

    Reply
  42. Molly

    Thanks for capturing my end of day perfectly. I’m not crazy. You’re not crazy. Or we are just all crazy. Hugs for you

    Reply
  43. Jenn

    I was so looking forward to reading this when I saw the link on a friend’s fb page, and it’s true I am a tightly wound mom, attempting to be a blogger but really how do you find the time in all this craziness!? So thank you for this post, much of it made me laugh. However my heart won’t let me not say anything about your choice of one word in your post, ‘midget’.
    Two years ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but now as the mom of a feisty 21 month old son who happens to have dwarfism I know that this word is extremely offensive to those in the little people community. I realize you were probably unaware, as so many people are, so all I ask is that in the future please choose to avoid the ‘m’ word.

    Reply
  44. A Morning Grouch

    Holy fucking shit you are me. Minus the stay at home mom. Except I sort of am in the sunmer because I am a teacher and sort of am the rest of the year because I am a teacher. I just told my husband the other day I wanted to go sit in the store parking lot by myself. he totally didnt get it…

    Reply
  45. Laura Maloney-Hastillo

    Holy crap, perfect timing! I just got the “only things I’ve ever wanted” to bed after an hour if yelling and whining. I sometimes get the feeling that I’m not alone in the laundry, housekeeping, dream projects, but not many other women will admit it. Thank you!

    Reply
  46. Lynnel reinson

    Lovely, spot-on post…I considered the day a success when…the house was sorta like it was in the morning, I made it through the tantrums of my extremely strong-willed and intense son, maybe even helped him grow a little, had a happy(ish) baby, and a happy(ish) 7 year old… and if those feelings weren’t validated in one fell swoop with a two-paned meme on the web…One panel is a living room-kitchen scene, I think one kid is climbing the inside of the fridge, a couple are foraging in the cupboards, and one is sitting on the floor crying while the mom sits on the sofa with a box of chocolates…the second panel is the same, with the following written across “You know how you ask what I did today? Well, today, I didn’t do it.” Life is chaotic, even when we are “doing it”. Fed kids who know they’re loved and are learning to be kind to each other? DONE :) What if we used that time at the end of the day to pat ourselves on the backs and congratulate ourselves for jobs well done–pick four things that went well–and then we dwell on those? I’ve been practicing that, and I’m much calmer…we need to remind ourselves how alright it all is– Your post is doing that for moms who’ve never, or forgotten, how to be their own friends. Well done.

    Reply
  47. surgeoninkicks

    “Sometimes you just have to wear bikini bottoms as underwear because you are behind on laundry…”http://heelskicksscalpel.com/2014/07/11/yes-i-do-have-it-all-and-how-you-can-too/

    I feel you! This whole mom shaming juggernaut just has to stop. The whole idea that you are “failing” as a mother if you miss a swim lesson is ludicrous.

    Reply
  48. ani

    You have nailed it. Every bit from despair and dementia to hilarity and the horrible irony of this adventure of parenting. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for saying the baby smells like cheesecake because it made mw laugh. A lot. Twice.

    Reply
  49. Mary Blough

    Ahhh, i remember these days! Your writing is going very well, by the way! :) Just a little tip i wish i had know decades ago, get a good Magnesium supplement and take one a half hour before bed. You will sleep well with no side effects. … yes, and “Press on” and avoid the ditches . :D

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Protzman

      thanks for the tip Mary… i know that magnesium helped when i was pregnant with restless leg and occasionally i still get that so i am probably deficient… I almost wrote defiant lol! which could have applied too at times lol! Bonnie Protzman

      Reply
  50. Lara

    My binge is Gilmore Girls. I fold laundry to the show because I’ve seen it too many times to count so I just listen. I still laugh at scenes and I don’t know if it is because it really is funny or that my brain is fried.

    Reply
  51. bissycb

    There is so much good in this. Not all days are like this, but on the days that are, or the long string of days that make it feel like all the days, reading this feels good. <3

    Reply
  52. Anne Mcquary

    I’m an old mom. 53 in August. My one child is 13. I started peri menopause when he was two. Talk about tightly wound. I don’t normally comment on blog posts anymore, even those I like. I’m a tough customer. But yours spoke to me in a way I needed. As I read, I felt the lump in my throat get bigger, and my eyes began to water and burn. Thank you for your good writing and your good heart. Keep on.

    Reply
  53. A Morning Grouch

    I just read this again because it has been reverberating in my mind the thoughts were before, but you put it into beautiful, hilarious oh-so-true words). It is absolute perfection.

    Reply
  54. Michelle

    I am a mom of a 20m daughter and 3m old son. My mind is going so much on what needs to be done in the house and in the yard and trying to figure out when and how it’s going to get done. I live out in the country kinda secluded and my husband is on a two week rotation. This week my son is going through a growth spurt and the three of us sick with cold, there is little to no sleep going on for this mom, I’m so exhausted but still plugging through it. We got groceries yesterday and yes I finally remembered to do a list (can’t remember anything for the life of me) and wouldn’t you know it my daughter deleted my list while in the store. I just stood there with a screaming baby and a toddler chucking things out of the cart. I left the store with half the stiff I needed. Maybe next week….it’ll be better

    Reply
  55. Jen

    With 2 young children at home, I can definitely relate!!! So much to do, so little time! And the time you do have, you just want to take a moment for yourself!
    I would like to take just a sec and ask you to no longer use the word “midget”. I’m sure you have no idea (I know I didn’t until a few years ago), but the word “midget” is very offensive to people with dwarfism. Being a mom to a four-year-old boy with achondroplasia dwarfism, it’s my job to help educate. Thanks!!! Keep on writing!

    Reply
  56. Anonymous

    it’s just the same for all us mummas in the uk too, if I was any kind of writer, I would have written exactly that.

    Reply
  57. audrey

    That is awesome. I feel this – all of it – and thank you for sharing that I’m not the only one.

    Reply
  58. runningwithfire

    I remember those days; you will look back some day and wonder where the years went. I raised seven kids, I don’t remember how, most of it is a blur. I thank God that my husband and I just kept taking one more day, one more step…we are in our 60’s now and I feel for young parents – nothing can really prepare you for parenting and yet we just do the best we can with the knowledge we have. Everything else has to be put on the back burner at times and all attention goes to the kids. As frustrating and tiring as it can be – the rewards come down the line and your free time and your dreams and passions. The most rewarding of all is grand-children – we get to enjoy them, spoil them, keep them with us til they get tired and crabby and then we get to send them home to their parents. I love my life! More power to you, hon.

    Reply
  59. Kerry

    I love this!!! Thank you for expressing me so exactly! And I’m the mom in the library…a new mom at 45 through the miracle of adoption. The only difference is that I had infertility for 10 years, not 12. And I feel guilty for expressing any of this for fear of hearing…perhaps unspoken but none the less thought..”but this is your dream come true..how can you complain”?

    Reply
  60. Leah Ferguson

    Exactly, this. Down to the “how’s the writing going?” Couldn’t believe it when I read it. I keep thinking, I have 3 kids under the age of six. I’m a full- time parent with a husband who’s always working. How about, “how’s the writing NOT going?” Or, “can I pour you another glass of wine?”

    Thank you so much for sharing. This was just…perfect. Perfectly captured, perfectly portrayed.

    Reply
  61. jen

    Omg! So me! Glad to know I’m not going crazy after baby #4 I felt as though im going senile. Thanks needed to smile today.

    Reply
  62. Chantelle

    And this is the reason I actually like being in the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to the moon and back, but I was in the hospital, 8 months pregnant with my second, with kidney stones and it felt somewhat like a vacation. I was in pain, but all I had to do was press a button and people would get me what I needed, ahhhhhh, lol

    Reply
  63. Sarah

    First time reader here and I’m so glad I stumbled upon this post. Let’s be best friends now because dang…this is so me! Haha. I have a three year old (just turned) and a 6 month old. Tightly wound is a perfect description.

    Reply
  64. Paul Rogers

    Perhaps I should start a single father’s blog. Right there with ya ladies. 2 girls. 6 and 2. Concentrate on what you’ve been blessed with, and not what you feel you’re missing out on being a parent. That mindset helps me calm the storm so to speak.

    Reply
  65. Julie

    I am pregnant and sick as one can be with my surprise 4th child and will have 4 kids under the age of 6. I could barely breathe with 3 kids! So I try not to think about 4 months from now when Im more tired than I’ll ever be, the house is a disaster, and there is no physical way to meet everything that is expected of me. I’m afraid if I think too much, I will lock myself in my room and never come out. So I try and take it a day at a time, one mess at a time and one temper tantrum at a time. I try not to feel guilty that I am too sick to be the mom that I want to be and that my poor 6 yr old daughter hardly knows me any other way. I dream of a time when my clothes fit, my hair isn’t falling out or growing back in from pregnancy, and eating a whole healthy meal at one time becomes the norm. I try and smile at the cute things these little angels say and do, to give my husband the love and attention he deserves but that I honestly don’t have the energy for, to ignore the messy house when I can’t get to it, and to enjoy the snuggles and hugs and holding my babies. A quote I love, ” parenting our children is not something we do when we have the time. Time is what god gave us, for our children”
    Motherhood is also what I’ve always wanted. But finding a balance is hard and I am sure as soon we figure it out, they will be gone and on college!
    Thanks for your post!

    Reply
  66. unrulyhelga

    This is beautiful and I’m sitting here crying. This is the first time I have seem anything you’ve written. My friend shared you on my Facebook page.
    You are right. You are good. Thank you.

    Reply
  67. Anonymous

    So good to know it’s not just me trying to be perfect & falling on my face. Laundry is endless…

    Reply
  68. Tracye

    I did this and when the last angel moved away there was no more noise. The silence keeps you up longer than the noise. I preached to many about how quickly it all goes. They are in diapers and then graduating, where did it all go? Then one day, my husband and I reconnected on a level of lovers again, we were enjoying each other life seemed perfect. Then we suddenly found ourselves with three more children, three of our grandsons ages 6,5, and 2. It became overbearingly noisy and the smell of urine surrounds me. My clean house is no longer clean, I do not sleep, I am in fact writing this at 4:15 A.M. I have gained weight from far to many hidden chocolate bars and from quitting smoking because it’s not good for the kids. I am struggling to find a balance. I love these boys with all of my heart and I finally adjusted enough to quit wishing for my life back and realized that this is my life….
    I read blogs like this and realize that I’m not alone in my thoughts and for that I am grateful, but you are all young and doing it for the first time. I wish there were other grand parents out here that could form a group or write a blog, lol there probably are but like me, do not have the time or energy to keep something like that going..
    Point, It did go too fast the first time and I need to realize that as I parent again… My mother used to say Cooking and cleaning can wait till tomorrow, for babies grow up we learn to our sorrow. So quite down cob webs and dust go to sleep, I am rocking my baby and babies dont keep.

    Reply
    1. Calla

      My sister cross-stitched this poem for my first born son. Now, 21 years later, this 42 year old dusted it off, washed the fabric and re-framed it for my second son. I refer to it frequently, lol. Very frequently. Because I agree that parenting is loud, but the loudest voices are the dust, the cobwebs, the dishes, the laundry…..

      Reply
  69. Faye

    I put my 5 month old daughter down and started reading this… when I’d finished the main article and most of the comments my 3 year old boy crawled into my bed and I grabbed hugs and kisses before he ran out to play again…. I nearly finished the comments when my girl woke after her nap. I’m sitting here laughing at the irony that I managed a snatched 15 mins to myself as I read this amazingly true article. Our children are wonderful… but it is wonderful to have those stolen 15 mins… Thank you.

    Reply
  70. MomCave TV (@MomCaveTV)

    Oh God Yes. Mine is “How is the acting going?” I feel the same–every. F’ing. Day. I started writing “Slummy Mummy” (a web series I produce) because my encounters with those moms at the library were so pathetic, so funny, I felt I had to record them for posterity. Or I’d cry.

    Reply
  71. Angela Pelleman

    I just felt thankful that I’m not the only mom who sat in front of CVS this week for half an hour, in the heat, with her car running for air-conditioning (wasting gas, I know!), just because it was the only time and place I could be alone with my phone!
    The Silver Lining-Angelaslittleattic.blogspot.com

    Reply
  72. cafenwick

    You’ve just described my life and thoughts… feels quite strange. Btw, reading this in the dark, next to number 2 who is probably going to wake up soon and crawl over the bed to come and sleep on my chest.

    Reply
  73. HG

    I’m that 42 year old mom who tried for years and now has 2 under 2 and feels guilty about not always being that happy, energetic mom I always thought I’d be. This speaks to me on so many different levels. Just holding out until Orange is the New Black comes out with season 3. Just happy the wine never runs out.

    Reply
  74. Tonya

    God’s answer to me this past week when I was frustrated about all my failures, undones, half beguns, should’ve s, shouldn’t haves, and so on was this: “Did you live well?” It put everything in perspective. The kissed boo boos, the cuddle that lasted longer than dinner allowed, the mountain of started things, the short pause to be thankful, the shared smile, it all counted. Yes I could confidently say that I had lived well, even if my house, garden efforts, laundry efforts, food preservation intentions, etc were failing to get done. I was living well. It is nice to step outside of the guilt we often fall into for the confidence that we really are living well. Blessings to you.

    Reply
  75. Becky Johnson

    I’m still at the baby stage with my first. But I hear you. My house is disgusting. I never have time for anything anymore. My entire life is consumed by being a mum. It’s the most wonderful yet exhausting thing I’ve ever done. X

    Reply
  76. Heidi

    Thank you. I’m tightly wound too. I wanted this life so much. All 6 of them. I am ashamed when I have days when I lose it. I hold it together for most days but then it all gets too tightly wound and I just come undone. Nothing could prepare me for the greatest pride of motherhood, yet it’s all so scary. From the joy of seeing your precious newborn, then concern for their safety as they navigate the world, the pride as they achieve their goals and the sadness as they run after their dreams as you watch from the sidelines… Slowly letting go. And if they choose to take a little detour, the fear of watching them fall to learn what they need to learn. But we got this. This is the life I hoped for. Best of luck to you and yours. ;)

    Reply
  77. Anonymous

    This is all true for men also. I am a single father of 3 and tension is my constant companion. Yes it is a good thing I wanted this.

    Reply
  78. Meliss

    I came across your blog from a monmy friend of a mommy friend who shared this on FB.

    I read this while lying in bed listening to my one year old holler at me from their crib and praying that my three year old does not wake up yet.

    I am tired. I want some coffee. I should just get up and make some, but then I will have to face all of the toys and dirty dishes. So I will lay here until my little man comes barreling in to our room to tell me his sister is awake and she needs me.

    And I need them too.

    Reply
  79. Slparke

    I absolutely love this. Totally relatable – which may possibly be sad seeing how I only have one child and she’s only five months. But, some days are tough, and even on the easier and joyful day, I can’t relax. I’m just “on” ALL the time – no matter what. I’ll never rest easy again! But, she is so worth it :)

    Reply
  80. gretchenwillis

    thank you. My friend shared this article with me. I’m honestly weeping because I have always felt this way, felt so alone like no one understood what I was thinking. I have PRAYED, medicated, meditated, everythingunderthesun to try to get my brain to slow down or just rest. As of yet, I’m still hoping that it will one day.

    Reply
  81. Anonymous

    Not alone! Today we experimented with new underware, evidence suggests a turd fell out a too loose leg gusset before we made it to the potty. I cannot find it anywhere, gave up when the baby woke.

    Reply
  82. Andrea

    This is so fabulous! You rock! I came across it during a “vacation” in my work parking lot while eating two tacos and putting together a meal plan for the week, which should have been done yesterday. Ha!

    Reply
  83. Erika Ramirez Lee (@ErikaRamirezLee)

    Hi Kate! You had me at “tightly wound”. My mother used to say that to me, “Why are you always so wound up? I think you’re a little high strung.” Meanwhile, I had a full time job with a lot of responsibility, a two-year-old and was going to grad school at night. I did daydream of blissfully being in a coma, tube fed, while my loved ones lamented having taken me for granted. Present day, still working fulling time, MBA, toddler is now a teen, and yet, it has not gotten much easier, just different issues. Like being the most hated mother on the planet from time to time (not allowed to go to concert on school night, certain friends not allowed in house due to their known drug use, etc.). All I can say is unless you’ve walked a mile in her open-toe pumps, don’t judge. We all have a story and being tightly wound is a by-product of trying to do it all in a culture that gives lip service to “family values” but does not promote work-life balance.

    Reply
  84. em-i-lis

    I couldn’t agree more; write about this when I have the time and energy. It’s all much easier said than done. Best to be open and support one another, I say!

    Reply
  85. Anonymous

    Flylady.net is a web site that helps you do chores on certain days with motivation, tips, and facebook page, all free, great for any age

    Reply
  86. Doug

    I can so relate to this though I am not a parent nor have any children, I am a caregiver. For the past several years I been taking care of aging parents, my mother recently passed, and as they get older they are very much like toddlers. Sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store just trying to catch my breath and trying to figure out what one likes to eat while the other wont eat much of anything. Going home to a mountain of laundry because dad has nothing better to do than change his clothes 3 times a day and the second one was after having an accident. The dried poop on the floor, the smell of urine because someone has issues that involves modern medicine and the trail of crumbs from the kitchen into the living room and beyond has me wanting to pull what’s left of my hair out.

    Reply
  87. Katie

    So glad to know that I am not the only one feeling this way; or the only one who takes grocery shopping “vacations”! Thank you for your transparency. I just subscribed :)

    Reply
  88. Amy Dillon

    Thank you so, so, so much for this. My sister, who’s first son is one, is struggling with working vs. staying home, and all the typical guilt issues that go with parenting. She recently asked me, “Is this, like, delayed post-partum depression, or is this just how it feels to be a parent?” Obviously, depression is a serious thing that should be dealt with. But I think many of us just have this low-level anxiety/stress/guilt/overwhelmed feeling that is best described as “tightly-wound.” Thank you for reminding me we’re not alone.

    Reply
  89. Tracy

    Love the choice to end with encouragement and gratefulness–I was anticipating the common ending to this theme which is more self pity … So thanks for turning it outward! Press on!

    Reply
  90. Bonnie Protzman

    Hello my name is Bonnie Protzman, single mother of four. the best we can do as Mom is accept what we can’t change and not feel guilty for not being perfect… Life is hard and raising children is hard. Forgive your self often and just take one step at a time!!! So much of your story is my own, right down to ” have you been writing” then the onset of guilt. Don’t go there. retrain your brain to think positive affirming thoughts and get with other women who are secure in themselves and will lift you up and not criticize you. Life happens quickly although it may not seem that it does… Live in the moment and don’t wish it away. Connect with me on FB if this resonates with you too… I could use some encouraging friends or be an encouraging friend… My personal motto: Work smarter, Play harder and Empower others to do the same!!! Sincerely, Bonnie Protzman

    Reply
  91. shaunna

    “We are in this together!” Amen sister….best thought of the day….many mothers together struggling in silence…nice to not be alone

    Reply
  92. Pingback: start where you are

  93. Anonymous

    Such a brilliant article about mums and parenting. So bloomin helpful to know we’re all in it together, and I need to start stashing chocolate in the freezer!

    Reply
  94. Emma

    It was me. I couldn’t get my fingers to work properly on my tiny tiny phone keypad.

    I love this and would like to share your article too. So helpful, real, raw and honest. Loving that I’m not the only one.

    Thank you xxx

    Reply
  95. Deb

    I knew I was tightly wound when I realized how happy and relaxed I was sitting in the DENTIST’s chair because I’d left the kids with their grandparents for a couple of hours!

    Reply
  96. Lauren

    YOU, Madame, are an amazing writer. You nailed it with this one. I don’t care if you never write anything else — you said it all. Thank you for putting into words what we do every wonderful blessed g*dd*mned day. Xoxo

    Reply
  97. Holly Tate

    I am a single mom, entrepreneur and exhausted daily. I think this is the most affirming article I’ve read about parenthood yet. It’s exactly what I needed today to remind me it’s normal to have a messy house and not be able to do it all while parenting a child and working (& in my case working on finding more work too!) I love reading about laundry that can’t get folded and ends up on the floor as a game (so you have to wash, dry or fold it again or just say who cares and throw it in the drawer. Another favorite part was the 30-minute vacations in the parking lot- yep! I take 10minute vacations on Facebook in parking lots, during lunch or whenever regularly for my sanity and connection to other adults, inspiration, a good laugh or sometimes just to have a “Calgon take me away” moment. Its not like I can take a real vacation- when I’m away from my child I’m trying to catch up on lesson plans or house cleaning or if I’m not feeling too guilty… An extra hour or two of sleep! It’s hard being around people who don’t get the messiness of being a good mom (or even if they do, it’s hard not being able to invite people to your house because it’s a disaster) but I just always remind myself it’s more important to be a good mom than a good housekeeper. “This too shall pass” and as happy as I’ll be about a clean house in the future, it will never compare to the happiness of being a mom.

    Best. Article. Ever.

    Reply
  98. Anonymous

    Motherhood has been so amazing yet so challenging at the same time. Didn’t know it would be that way, of course my little ones are only 2 weeks and just turned 2 last week. I know it will get easier but I have a few tough years ahead. Finding it lonely don’t have many friends around day by day we’ll get through it and enjoy the happy times.

    Reply
  99. Anonymous

    I just ran across this, and I am curious. Is this for Mom’s only, or do step-mom’s count too? If Moms only, then stop reading now. But for those of you who may be interested in helping, step-moms are tightly wound, too. This was so eye opening for me as we have been struggling with the decision to have a child together or just continue to focus on the one that we have 75% of the time. I have a highly stressful job that requires me to work about 50 hours per week as I am over 3 different locations service departments. I am responsible for tracking all of the labor hours and invoicing. I am also a full time student and go on campus and take online courses. My husband has projects from time to time that require unpredictable hours for short periods of time and he isn’t always available to help around the house. Here lately, I have been extremely stressed out between the dishes, the laundry, the cleaning, the dogs, essay papers, reading, quizzes, discussion questions, tests, cooking, summer camps, and maintaining a happy relationship that I feel I have neglected my grandparents and parents but I don’t know where to fit everything in. I claim him as my own son on any day of the week, and although I didn’t give birth to him, I cannot imagine a day without him. He is my sweet boy and he knows it. I put his events and daily happenings ahead of mine. I despise Spongebob; but there’s something so irresistible about him stumbling into the living room on Saturday mornings in his undies, wrapped in a blanket, and begging to watch that show that makes me say, “okay baby.” But as any woman knows, there are those girlfriends that, as said above, constantly telling me that I don’t really know love until I have my own. But, if I don’t know it, and this is fulfilling, and this makes me happy, then how will I know if I am “missing out” on anything? I see the stress and strain and frustration in those same friends with their babies and toddlers, and ask myself why I would want that? I like my sleep, and I like it even more so now that I don’t get much of it with kiddos running around, work, homework, housework, and everything else I am forgetting. I feel like I am selfish with these thoughts but I seek others opinions, and maybe with none of you knowing me, I could get some honest answers instead of what people think I want to hear…

    Reply
    1. Lilt

      You know you best! I have several friends who have made the decision to not have children. It sounds like you have the best of both worlds, you are a mama to someone and if that is fulfilling then let it be enough. There is no right answer, be true to your heart

      Reply
    2. lea

      I don’t want to ask how old you are, but I waited until I was 34 and settled. My mothers best friend waited until she settled down at 40 to have kids. I know you already have a family, but raising a newborn is different. I barely left my recliner for 3 months straight. I breast fed and they literally eat 24 hours a day for 3 months. Pumping at work wouldn’t be an option for me. I’m 4 months pregnant, and lost my beautiful baby boy 4 months ago, but after what I went through, I have a passion for counseling now. I’ll be 50 by the time I finish, but its a passion. I have to help other bereaved mothers through their “new normal”. I know now that since my son is due in December, taking classes or working in the spring is not going to be an option. If you plan on having children, its the most frustrating, frightening, beautiful, rewarding thing you will ever do, but it’s a new plan. Being a mother to a newborn is a” new normal” too. Its really incredible though.

      Reply
  100. Anonymous

    Amen. This almost 60 year old grama remembers. It’s hard. Support each other! And remember there is no sin in asking for help…and burn those Martha Magazines.

    Reply
  101. MommaDe

    Wow. You could have written this about my life. Mother of 3, 2 are ASD (Autistic). I get asked ‘how do you do it every day? ” I keep on keeping on, because unless “you” know something I don’t, there is no other choice. So, keep on keeping on. *fist bump*

    Reply
  102. estella

    It may sound ignorant, and I mean no disrespect, but I must ask – as it doesn’t seem anyone else has – what on God’s Earth is a “drunk toddler”?! It sounds alarming…

    Reply
  103. erin

    Thanks for a great post. I hope you and your readers also know it’s OK to reach out not only to other moms but to professionals and volunteer counselors. Most postnatal emotional issues are very common and very treatable with just a little of the right help. Sites like http://www.postpartum.net and postpartumprogress.com have lots of advice and ways to find help, and most OBs/midwives do too. I was kind of knocked to my knees emotionally about six weeks after my child’s birth. While it was awful and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, now that I am healing I’m actually glad that I was forced to deal with it head-on and to learn how to allow myself to focus, when necessary, only on the life- or death- things, which do not include laundry.

    Reply
  104. Kim Longbottom

    Oh Katie, just lectured my 10y/o that she was going to help me with laundry and numerous other things tonight, that she was not going to watch tv or play on her kindle until all this stuff was done.
    And What did i do when I got home? Got on facebook and started flipping through, looking at people’s posts, and well, that’s it! Did not start dinner, did not do laundry or anything else. I just heard the tv, so I came in her room and she’s watching tv and utube on her kendall, learning how to make a jelly fish on her loom- so I sit down and watch iCarley on the tv and etch her on her rainbow loom as I read your blog—you so told my story- I will sit in my car anywhere and take a vacation with my phone. I’ve been having a yard sale for the past 3 months! I will cut the grass so I can hear the humming of the lawnmover to calm myself. I love the drainage ditch coma– will try that on my next vacay. Oh BTW, I’m 54 y/o with a 10 y/o daughter whose dad hates me for something he did and I’ve been out of work since Jan..,
    I told her yesterday I will sell everything if I have to to take care of her to keep her safe with me… She has made me want to be a better person!!

    Reply
  105. Bianca Santaro

    You have written something that touches so close to home it might as well move in there. You nailed what my experience is like on many levels. I have a couple kids with autism under 8 and a toddler. Now, when I’m hiding in Vons parking lot playing pet rescue, I’ll definitely know I’m not alone.

    PS, Sometimes, we get stuff done. For example, I managed to get 9 script pages written despite my AC doing its best impression of a cow in labor, complete with the sound effects and gushing fluid. In the middle of a Socal Summer. And yet, to quote Maya, Still I Rise.

    Reply
  106. barbara

    This is the most real, funny, heartwarming, fantastic thing I have read in a long time. There are 246 comments. I did not read them all. Am assuming several people said same, but I wanted to add my vote. Thanks for writing this. If I’m not in a mild coma in a ditch somewhere, I’ll check out your blog again sometime after my 4-yo has passed out. And if I’m lucky, have retrieved some dark chocolate from the freezer. Why did I not think of that? Genius.

    Reply
  107. june paul

    sounds like a lot of belly aching to me. Yes, it’s hard & you don’t know how you’ll ever make I, but you will. I had 5 kids I had a set of twins, my little girl was 5 & a half. No Huggies no automatic washers & driers no running water except when I ran out to get it. But it was the best years of my life, hated for them to start school & dreaded the end of xmas vacation & summervacations.

    Reply
    1. laurie at laurie jones home

      Did you walk to school in the snow with no shoes 10 miles each way too? And seriously what’s wrong with a little belly aching every once in awhile? If we can’t share with other moms than we’re seriously in trouble.

      Reply
  108. Anonymous

    It took me ten years and a lot.of heartache to have my youngest set of kids. I say youngest set because the older ones are 16 & 21. The difference between then and now… now I am a stay at home mom by choice. Then I was a single mom working all the time. This time around is different. It is harder. The kids rooms are a disaster and for every one mess I clean up they make another. I want to goto the bathroom and just cry but I cant… they find me and know how to pick the bathroom lock (they are 2, 4 & 6)… I love them unconditionally, but damned if some days I dont want to run away and dream about leaving the house without diapers and car seats or if I can find a babysitter at all. Then I feel guilty. Where is the chocolate in the freezer? I cant find it.

    Reply
  109. stot

    49 year old stay at home dad of a 2 and 8 year old boys. I’m reading this as I try to unwind from a day at cub scout camp with hundreds of 6 to 9 year olds stuck in a metal building due to thunder storms. I really did not want the 3 fingers of rum I poured myself 10 minutes ago, but after my 3rd swig, I’m realizing how it might be saving my life (or at least my night). My wife is sound asleep from her hectic day at work. I hate to sleep now, for fear of the night passing too quickly. Call it a reboot or what ever. Tomorrow is grocery day. :0/

    Reply
  110. Lilt

    Such raw writing, thank you for the honesty. One quote I loved hearing from someone was we can’t compare our insides to other peoples outsides. I think as humans that is what we are best at. I like to think moms that seem to have it together are just as exhausted as you and me.
    I feel like I am going to fall on my face at seven ,then by nine hit a brick wall. I run a daycare to stay home my kids and6 kids daily puts me through the wringer, my dh comes home and and wants to hang out, work out and I just want to curl up into a ball and sleeep…

    Reply
  111. ktyount

    Although I empathize I dont care……writer is trying to cater to scorned women to boost her perspective… speaking as a father….we create or tolerate ALL our own problems, and solutions.. as a once single dad I endured all kinds of shit..only thing that works is to start taking responsibility and stop making excuses. It’s not a woman thing a parent thing, an adult thing.

    Reply
  112. Kisa Johnson

    Wow… yes! as a mother of five, YES YES YES!~!~!

    I don’t think dads get it the way women get this. I mean, they might, but I don’t know. You know?

    I get to the point where I am just so tightly wound after making sure 5 people survive the day, each other, and everything else in the world… and ever guy I’ve ever known falls asleep in a snap of my fingers when they’re tired.

    But I’m wound, so so tight, but I’m tired… so so tired.
    Any random sound in the house and we snap awake to attention, wondering who that was, what happened, are we needed? Can we fall back asleep?!

    Reply
    1. Kim L.

      Dads do NOT get it at all!! Lol I’m awake now due to a random sound. We will all think of each other while drinking our 4th cup of Java in the morning. Hoping you can rest

      Reply
  113. Keeli

    This is an amazing article. I never slow down and read anything entirely…ever. This is a first. Huge compliment to you along with a huge thanks from me!

    Reply
  114. Kim L.

    I love this…. I’m a single mom of 3 boys and it IS hard. People ask me ” how do you do it?” Well, I don’t have a choice but to push through. I work hard and rely heavily on my mom- thank God for her!!!! We, as mommas, need to stick together and support each other and be TRUE to ourselves and to one another. I love that all these women are saying what we are all thinking…. This momma thing is hard as hell. I say thank you to you!!!! Coming from one tired momma.

    Reply
  115. Kate Post author

    Hello everyone! Thanks so much for commenting, reading, and sharing this post. I can’t respond to all the comments, but know I have read each one.

    I did want to let you know that my site was slow today due to traffic and after contacting my host’s support for help, they accidentally deleted three years of comments (kill me). Was able to restore most of them but if you made a comment between 1am(EST) and 11:30am this morning — it is gone (but know that I read it and thank you). Currently making some administrative changes to support this site.

    In response to the suggestions to join MOPS, church, and find friends to make parenting “easier”–that is great advice! Fortunately I do have a great community surrounding me, but I didn’t always have it and know its value. It takes a village to raise a human. This I know for sure.

    No matter what, parenting is hard and sometimes it is nice to say it out loud and join in on a collective sigh of relief that we are not alone.

    Thanks again for reading. I will be back to blogging in the next few weeks.

    Reply
  116. The Laundry Lady

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for this! No one seems to understand why I don’t just go to bed early. I want to, but my brain won’t shut off. Then I just lay there and can’t sleep. I’m working on just going to bed early to read something fun, at least then I can ease into sleep. On the rare occasion I dare to take a nap, I’m usually awakened by a small child and feel worse than when I went to sleep, plus cranky and irritable at being interrupted. So I don’t nap either. I think I understand why so many women of previous generations (and this one too if we’re honest) were so dependent on drugs and alcohol.

    Reply
  117. Stephanie

    A friend just put this on FB and it made me feel much better! I love the part about all of the insane expectations put on moms and the resulting judgment — so true. My husband and I took our 8 month old twins to a preemie doctor appointment this morning. We thought they were doing great (and they are, for their “adjusted age” of 6 months), but the doctor told us she was concerned about their social development. She said, “Make sure each of you gives one baby your full, undivided attention for at least an hour every evening when you are both at home — in separate rooms. Always talk to your babies, no matter what you are doing. Don’t just let one sit there while the other plays — keep them both engaged at all times.” WHAT?!

    I left the doctor’s office thinking I was doing something wrong as a mother. Are my babies not developing well socially because I’m not talking to them enough or keeping them both engaged “at all times”? Are Jason and I bad parents because we like to spend time with both babies together as a family in the evenings rather than giving each one some undivided attention in separate rooms (that just seems ludicrous to me)? It reminded me of the weeks I spent in the NICU being told constantly by the hospital lactation consultants that I had to pump breast milk every 2 hours, 24 hours/day or else my newborns would sprout additional heads (something like that). Ugh.

    Reply
  118. marezeedoats

    I’m 43, never married, no kids. Even I can relate to this. Being tightly wound is part of the human condition, and even if potty training, messy homes and bedtimes aren’t involved, corporate deadlines, lesson plans, insurance nightmares and the loneliness of singleness are. God is creative, and we all get the same lessons regardless of situation. Hang in.

    Reply
  119. Jennifer Lefforge

    Amen. So glad everyone I know posted this on their FB wall so that I could find this. You are hilarious! Such an encouragement. And I would go read more of your stuff but now I think we need honey (and I didn’t even think we needed it before). Greatness.

    Reply
  120. Jacquelyn

    You brought me to tears with your painful accuracy and I laugh along side the logic. Thank you so much. I see you too. We are in this together.

    Reply
  121. Lindsey Taber

    Story of my life. My husband always wants me to go to bed when he does at 9 and I tell him I’ve had tiny people cling to me all day and I have too much commotion going on in my head to go to sleep. So then I stay up till nearly midnight watching trash tv till I drift to sleep and/or one of my children starts crying. Thus conintiuing state of zombie mom state when the kids wake up at 6.

    Reply
  122. Anonymous

    I am a single momma of 6 amazing kids surviving the aftermath of abandonment and betrayal of epic proportions. I now work 50+ hours a week and feel wound tight, persistently mom-guilty, and a little psychologically unbalanced most of the time. This was such a needed post. Thank you for being honest. Life is hard. It’s always a gift to know you aren’t alone.

    Reply
  123. Pingback: Bats, and when you are tightly wound | The cutie files

  124. ingodslove

    HI! my bff sent me the link to this…yup…me too.
    I started running, like: sprinting running a couple of times a day: during walks with the kids or well, running to put the grocery cart away after everyone is buckled in the store parking lot. I (humiliatingly) grin every time I start to run because it feels so good. Its helping me feel like a human being again. All I can figure is it is the endorphins or something. Its getting easier now that my youngest is 3 to squeeze in a regular workout but on days when I can’t this sprinting thing seems to really help me.

    I watch K-dramas or T-dramas for my junk TV fix sometimes. It doesn’t really help me function any better, but it is good fun and at the time, it feels good to laugh.

    Reply
  125. Melissa Caughel

    Thank you. THANK YOU for seeing me today. You really did. All of it. All of my struggling. The pee and the nachos and the urge to stay up way past an appropriate bedtime. You saw me today in the middle…yes, straight up middle, of a shitstorm of whining and crying that I couldn’t make stop! I was deep breathing myself away from screaming ,”shut up!” so I picked up my phone to scroll along FB for a second. The title of your link caught my eye. As soon as I started reading I was nodding …”yep!.” “Ha!” “Mhmmm”…and then I suddenly started bawling. I was identifying with you. And then when you said you see ME? I was sobbing right alongside the whining 10 month on the floor and the two year old on the couch.
    You might be the only one who does see me these days.
    Thank you. So much.

    Reply
  126. Anne

    I have 4 kids. From 16 to 4. I have been ‘tightly wound’ for 16 years. There are days when I feel like the 24 hours are 240. There are others that are so beautiful they are only 1. We are all in it together. You wrote this very eloquently. I have done it all…single mom, divorced mom, part of a couple mom, working, not working, student…it is all hard. Harder when another mom ‘disses’ me, easier when another mom says gosh I know. Our ultimate goal is happy healthy children so remember to be patient with each other. And yes….I tell my children…two decisions in my life I have never ever questioned…following God and having them. No matter what at the end of the day…both can ALWAYS make me smile.

    Reply
  127. Emily

    So… I just ignored my sink full of dishes and sat down with my boxed wine and seventh-day-unwashed hair after putting the kids to bed and found myself here via a friend of a friend sharing this post on facebook. I… I could have written this word for word, balls of hair in corners and zombied in the parking lot and EVERYTHING. Except the writing part; nobody asks me how my writing’s going because I’ve never gotten around to starting that blog I’ve always been meaning to because… Netflix. Other than that (oh and the floss. I still haven’t started my five year old flossing yet [oops], so you better believe momma’s teeth aren’t getting flossed EITHER), I’m pretty sure I *have* written this at one point, back when I had kids this little (3 and 5 now), but the journal that holds it (only filled a tenth of the way by my words and nine tenths with crayon scribbles and ripped pages) is sitting in a cardboard moving box somewhere in a house that has never really known organization in any form.

    Just.. thank you. I needed to know I’m not alone in my almost-bursting. Maybe now I won’t burst just yet.

    Reply
  128. Leslie Maddox

    You just wrote my life. Only when I was put on bed rest a few months ago because of exhaustion while pregnant with baby #3, I cried because I couldn’t take care of my kids. Oh, the conflicted mind of a mother.

    Reply
  129. Anonymous

    In more ways than you can count, it is hard. The kind of hard that isn’t tangible until you’re the one who is unplugging the sink, making dinner, running the washer and shaming yourself for not being a better example to your daughter by being thin– simultaneously. But if for moment, you look at yourself like a neighbor might, as a warrior princess capable of everything from yard work to taxes all the while working to instill values in the creatures you introduced to the world… well, maybe you, or we, can benefit from a perspective that is powerful because it speaks to the courage and unrelenting determination that it takes to be a Mom. I hope you feel that. I wish that for all of us.

    Reply
  130. nowwhatstheplan

    This scares me because I already have everything – balls of hair, dirty kitchen sink, unfinished projects, unread magazines, blog posts to write, and must add the unwaxed legs – and I don’t even have kids yet. I wish I can attend some sort of How To Be An Adult 101. Then maybe I can make the leap to having the little ones.

    Reply
  131. Jade

    Wow. I have been there. As a parent of two 16 year old boys, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But much of the time, that light is obscured by the stress of watching them make mistakes (and worrying about the mistakes that I do not even know about!)…. I sometimes think I suffer from PTSD from the early years of intense sleep deprivation, the unrelenting need to be there for twin babies/toddlers/kids regardless of my own needs, and the lack of time to just be in my own head, quietly and peacefully. I feel so conflicted about the fact that they will be leaving home in just 2 years….

    Reply
  132. Emily

    You don’t know me so my literary opinion will matter little to you, but you are a wonderful writer!
    Thank you.

    Reply
  133. Shauna

    Mothers that don’t vaccinate their children, SHOULD be ashamed. They are toying with their children’s, and other people’s, very lives, based upon absolutely unfounded claims.

    Reply
  134. Angela Meyer Sydnes

    This is WONDERFUL! I did have the gift of going to a friends http://rebeccaegbert.com the other night she had wine, cooked me dinner and we had a 10 minute dance party!!! As a mother it is SO nice to get away let a friend cook for you, fill you with wine and let you Dance of the Tightness of motherhood. Sometimes you just need someone to Hold Space for you! #themotherlove

    Reply
  135. Pingback: This Is Me Sometimes… | That's All She Wrote

  136. sue at nobaddays

    Found this, and you, via Huff Post today, and so grateful. I am a 46 year old mom with an 8 yo and a 3 yo. And I don’t write or read anymore either. It takes me 45 minutes to fall asleep. My husband falls asleep in two. Adding your blog to my feed. Thank you.

    Reply
  137. Lindsy McLaughlin

    I’m currently reading hope for the weary mom and it covers a lot if what you said above. I have a 14 yo dd and a 3.5 yo dd and I often feel the way you spoke of above. Check out my blog if you have a few minutes thismomspath.blogspot.com

    Reply
  138. tasha

    It’s just me and I have 5, this made me tear up. I love every minute wouldn’t trade them or my life with them for anything but a break here and there is greatly needed. I love this, would love to see more!

    Reply
  139. Jerrica

    This really resonated with me, a first-time mother of an eight-month-old (and very behind on my graduate work), tonight. Thank you.

    Reply
  140. Brenda Rumohr

    Reading these stories reminds me of when I was raising my five children! Unfortunately, I never ” left” things until the next day so never totally enjoyed my children. If I could do things differently, I would spend more time playing, jumping in puddles while it’s still raining, creating crafts or experiment with new cooking ideas with them. They are small for such a short time in our span of life. The days may be long but you’ll be waving goodbye as they drive off for college in the blink of an eye! Cherish those moments! Some day all you will have are memories!
    Oh, by the way, being wound up never goes away! The worrying never does either! The bigger your family gets, son/daughter in-laws, grandchildren, the more you pray!
    You are doing a great job! Pat yourself on the back! It’s the most important job you will ever do!

    Reply
  141. Anonymous

    omg I feel sooooooo sorry 4u/for some strange reason, very early in the game I wrote a story about being a mother and it was a great story, very true to life, and well when I reread it I didn’t have the kids! Nope decided to pass – just like that/some how I knew it would be exactly what I wrote and funny it’s exactly what you wrote!! I did midwife my BF’s 10lb/ natural birth/30 hour labor son and that kind of cemented the deal. I take my hat off 1000’s x’s to mom’s and to single parents: I would seriously kiss the ground -

    Reply
  142. Anonymous

    Wow it is so good to feel normal. I cry because I need a break and am going crazy; then I cry because I don’t want them to grow up. ??!!!! Thank you mommies!

    Reply
  143. Anonymous

    So perfectly said. There’s never a sleep switch for parenting.my mom must’ve ate so many sweets once her girls were finally asleep too. Thank you for posting.

    Reply
  144. Anonymous

    Thank you for this. I felt as if you were writing my thoughts and had some good laughs as my 7 month old sleeps beside me… in our bed. Tsk tsk. It’s funny how tightly wound I become thinking of all the things I “should” be doing. All the things the good moms are doing that I just don’t have the first clue how to or the energy to do. Like have my baby on a set routine and sleeping through the night, in her crib. Ha. So reading this helps because I think we are all too hard on ourselves for most things.

    Reply
  145. Bay

    It’s funny how you can literally be surrounded by people (little ones) all day every moment, even in the bathroom, and still feel so lonely

    Reply
  146. Jo

    What a fabulous read! Brought a tear to my eye and a weight of my chance, even if it was just for five minutes! Right, off to tidy the toys away. One baby asleep and a toddler to go.

    Reply
  147. Pingback: Raising Brave Girls, Kim Kardashian vs Pepsi CEO, What Not To Wear - Baby Edition and More :: Links of the Week - weeSpring | Blog

    1. Exhausted and Overwhelmed

      It’s kind of miserable and awesome at the same time. Definitely a weird combo. I think there are some people who are less miserable (those are the ones who are like “what’s wrong with you? you need help). I found the transition extremely hard and I have a bad, bad reaction to sleep deprivation. Next time around (if there is a next time) I know I need to hire help both to give me time to do something other than mother (because I’m a super loner and the constant togetherness is extremely difficult for me) and so I can sleep more (because I get dangerously unstable with extended sleep loss). Glad you appreciate the honesty… many people do not.

      Reply
      1. Loretta Richards

        I empathise so much….. I have always liked sleep. My son is 5 and frankly, I find I am resentful that I have given up everything to be a wife and mum. To that end there wont be a next time for me. I love him dearly but feel like I do a terrible job because I am short fused and get frustrated so easily….2 little humans driving me insane well, who knows what I would turn into, a troll or some 2 headed phsycopathic monster !
        Time for me to find me agai , I used to be such a motivated, successful, loving, attractive woman….where have I gone?

        Reply
    2. Ranee @ Arabian Knits

      I liken it to the Peace Corps. It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.

      It isn’t misery. At the same time, it is a job you cannot escape. And every job has its challenges, its bad days, its bad parts, its exhausting and frustrating experiences. Think of the commute home or your first hour home from work, and how that allows you to unwind. Moms don’t really have that. So, we have to do it when the children are asleep. Even then, you’re still on call. And it’s much more personal than a normal job, even a highly intense, on call all the time, kind of job. Because these are your children, most of the time of your flesh, who need you, who love you, whose lives depend on you. Even when they are old enough that they don’t physically depend on you, the responsibility and burden of forming a moral, ethical, productive member of the family, society, culture, is still mostly on the parents, especially the mother. It is huge. It is all the time. Even a break is not a break. Even if you walk away forever, and never take care of your children again, there is the change in your body, your mind, your memory, that you are a mother and there is someone who needs you. It may be guilt or relief that you left, I don’t know, but it isn’t a blank nothing. There is still a tug, a reality, that there is someone (or are someones) out there whose lives came from you and are tied to you and depend on you.

      I spent a month in the hospital keeping our eighth baby inside last year. I still was doing the bills, and signing kids up for activities, and paying for ballet lessons, and coordinating rehearsals and practices and games. From my hospital bed three hours away from my family. This past week, I was able to go away from the kids with my husband while he was at a class for his work. I had my days free to myself, and I rested and knit and read and went to the park and went for walks and went to lunch and saw sights and shopped. It was wonderful, and necessary. In the evenings, I had dinner and social time with my husband. We went dancing twice. But during those days, I was still working out billing problems and paying for fencing lessons and organizing activities with the people watching our kids and advising on how to handle certain things with everyone from the baby to our nearly 16 year old.

      This isn’t a complaint. It is the reality. Motherhood is one of the most challenging and stressful jobs there is. And it is the most rewarding.

      The amazing and wonderful things about motherhood, about children, are not easily quantifiable. And that’s what our culture wants. A bullet list, with sub-headings. A pro vs con table. It doesn’t work that way.

      The reward of seeing my 15 year old son finally decide that he wants to take responsibility for his education and work toward a particular goal, the joy of my preemie baby finally being able to clap her hands, the second chance at having a good mother-daughter relationship that started with my oldest daughter, her growing into a woman, my sons’ care for their younger siblings, when they finally get what you’ve been drilling into their heads and hearts, the Christmas gift of organizing quiet games with the littlest ones so my husband and I could sleep after being up past midnight liturgy and wrapping and decorating until 4:00 a.m., my oldest four taking charge of meals and house cleaning while I recovered from a c-section and had to be up every two hours, 24 hours a day, for six weeks, taking care of a preemie who was on the border of failure to thrive, and their father had to go straight back to work because he’d burned up every day of vacation and sick leave to stay with me and our daughter in the hospital, my son who gave his treasure box so we could bury his little sibling who died at nine weeks, another son who we were worried would have trouble reading anything, being interested in Egyptology and archaeology and reading up on all of that, our little girls who love us even when we are unloveable, who think we are the smartest, most beautiful, most capable people, the children wanting to learn to do what I (or their father) do, because it must be worthwhile if we do it, the cookies made for mother’s day, the conversations about life and faith and boys/girls/marriage, watching them develop a sense of humor that is funny and makes sense. These are things that don’t pencil out well. The stories of sleep deprivation, the tantrums, the diapers, the rebellion, the lack of privacy, or time to oneself, those do.

      It’s not that it is misery. It is that the real hardships are the things that we can’t talk about easily. Motherhood is wonderful. And most of us wanted it. And if you complain about stretch marks, or busy-ness, or a dirty house, or waking at night, people understand, but if you talk about the real weight of the burden, it seems like you don’t love it or are ungrateful.

      I’m sorry for my novella here, but I really didn’t want you to walk away thinking that this meant that mothers were miserable.

      Reply
      1. janepeterson3

        So true, Ranee. The lasting things cannot be quantified, especially when you are in the middle (muddle?) of life with children.

        Reply
  148. Amanda Maboe

    unconditionally….the way I love them. These kiddos can make us all think were loosing our minds but how grateful and blessed are we to know this experience and be given this crazy, amazing gift? It feels wonderful to know I’m not alone. Thank you girls!

    Reply
  149. Amanda Maboe

    I have two beautiful, amazing babies….Reese is 7 (my sweet princess) and Jax is 4 (my little old man). My kids are my world, my everything. They bring so much happiness to my life.

    That being said, I too have these awful moments of anxiety where I feel like I’ll loose my cool doing this 24 hr/7 day a week gig. My mind NEVER shuts off….I HATE myself when I loose my cool and yell (usually due to Jax’s persistent whining talents that are my “nails on a chalk board”. My hubby works…..A LOT so I feel guilty when we are hanging out (for example out to dinner tonight that had what seemed like 7, 000 potty breaks) and I would love some help. ….but I know he worked 12 hours and is exhausted! I also feel guilty even mentioning that its hard that he works so much and I juggle owning a business, our home finances, house work, grocery store, school, sports, my Lupus treatments, play dates, appointments etc. There are so many Moms who do it alone all the time, like my best friend who has her honey deployed much of the time or single Moms. I know I’m not alone when saying that it seems as though 1 Job with a description, with rules, instructions, lunch breaks, a quiet commute, adult conversation WoULD BE SO MUCH EASIER than these never ending jobs and that engulf our minds, wear down our bodies,seemingly take away our identity and making up the rules as we go along.
    If someone asks what I like to do…….I’m almost dumb founded……I could tell you every inteterest, hope and dream of my little minions……but me? I LIKE to make it through the day with everyone happy, safe and healthy and it’s a massive bonus if my hair is freshly washed and I got to watch a full episode of Orange is the New Black (I too am a huge fan) without pausing it 40 times because my kids HAD to come out of the play room to ask me “one more fing”. Yup….it takes me about 2 hours to get through an episode.

    All of these things are what make us who we are, I try to grow from it all and SOME days see a glimpse of the bubbly girl I use to be who doesn’t rely on coffee to be able to have a conversation that isn’t about Trains or Dress ups. BUT I know that one day in the future when I have time to get reaquainted with that girl I will miss holding little hands, being needed so much, giggling as I over hear their conversations and being loved so unconditionally…the way I love them. These kiddos can make us all think were loosing our minds but how grateful and blessed are we to know this experience and be given this crazy, amazing gift? It feels wonderful to know I’m not alone. Thank you girls!

    Reply
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  151. Anonymous

    A great piece of writing Kate. All profoundly true and beautifully put. I’m a 42 year old mother of an amazing three year old boy. I would have loved more but found that the truth was I could barely cope with one.

    Reply
  152. Sarah

    This might have saved my life tonight. I’m being dramatic of course but I just yelled at my partner for an hour and a half because I was feeling sad he couldn’t figure out why so of course it’s his fault. I think we established that I’m just overtired but i think I’m just a little wound up plus I’ve already forgotten most of the argument we were having. He put me to bed to get some rest but of course the baby woke up immediately so here I am sitting in the dark, feeding the baby and all
    I can hear is him snoring. This blog gave me a smile so thanks xxx tomorrow is a new day.

    Reply
  153. Laura

    Yes us Moms are quiet the busy bees!! Thank God for something I like to call orginzed chaos! Something that all moms can relate to! It’s always fun to read about other Moms crazy adventures in a whirlwind life with childen, & husbands who act like them sometimes! ;-) Thanks for the reminder that we all need a pause button now and then! Or I refer to it as a ” Power-Up Break”! Lol.

    Reply
  154. Laura

    Yes we Mom’s are quite the busy bees!! Thank God for “Organized Choas”!! It is always nice to read about other Mom’s whirlwind adventures in life with children. (And Husbands/Boyfriends who act like children) we can’t forget to mention those! Lol ;-) Thanks for the reminder that sometimes we need a pause button or what I refer to as a “Power-up Break”! It’s refreshing to see someone write the true realities of life! And something that all Moms can relate to! I enjoyed it! :-)

    Reply
  155. Nonny Mouse

    I always felt guilty as hell (still do) for being a shitty mother after my second child was born, whom I love deeply… it’s just that I seemed to lose my grip on how to be a good, patient, nurturing mother when there were two of them. I feel like he didn’t get what he should have from me, and that his struggles later in life were my fault. Nowhere, thirty-some years ago, were there any voices telling me that this was normal.

    Even though both of my children are grown now, I still needed to read this.

    Reply
  156. Michaela "Micki" Whitman

    Always remind yourself of the goal…to raise independent, good hearted young adults. All your experiences whether good or bad shape them. They will always remember how you handled everything. You are Mom and from what I just read, you’re going to do just fine by your family.

    Reply
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  158. Jane in TX

    My daughter is the mother of 20-month-old quintuplets (5) and a 10-yr-old ADHD son. She highly recommends Gloria Furman’s accessible book, “Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full.”

    Reply
  159. Kristen p

    I love your writing too! When mine were little, I yearned for a place to go (like a comfy massage bed at a spa) and just sleep! — and no one knew where I was or could contact me…not even my husband or babysitter. :-!

    Reply
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  161. Pingback: When You Are Tightly Wound | SMAG 31SMAG 31

  162. Loretta Richards

    Hello, I love this blog, it may be just what I need to avoid further arguments with my husband and to avoid as many phsycopathic episodes as possible

    Reply
  163. HM

    “The baby smells like a cheesesteak and I still haven’t unpacked from last month’s trip but it’s okay.”

    Cheesesteak? That’s AWESOME. Totally how they smell when they’ve gone a little too long between baths. I LOVE IT! I’m going to start calling my baby that!!! :D

    And I just finished completely unpacking from a trip in April.

    And it’s all ok. :)

    Reply
  164. Susan

    Hilarious! Watching “The Office” right now on Netflix every night to help me fall asleep! I have a 5 year old and a 8 month old that smells like cheesesteak too! Is it bad I can’t remember her last bath??!! We go to the grocery as an outing sometimes because they give away free cookies and balloons. Wonder how much longer this will impress my 5 year old :) Hang in there! My favorite parent quote is ” the days last forever and the years fly by”… So true!

    Reply
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  167. LeahLW

    I love this photo–why do more people not post THIS kind of photo on FB? It basically represents my life for the past 3 months, with a good smattering of how-can-a-3-month-old-already-be-throwing-I-don’t-want-to-go-to-bed-tantrums thrown in. Great read!

    Reply
  168. Shirley

    Ugh, I am reading this trying to take a 5 minute break (with a dog whining in the background) after getting in a argument with my husband about the chaos of the house and looking for 10 minutes trying to find a microwave bacon cooker with 2 kids whining they want peanut butter sandwiches and a third complaining he doesn’t have enough time to do chores before an activity in 2 hours. It is our 10th anniversary today and somehow it doesn’t feel so thrilling. Chaos is my life these days, and as I read through this you reminded me about that chocolate bar I stuck in the freezer after our camping trip. Thanks for the breather and reminding me about the positives of health, fertility, and chocolate! :)

    Reply
  169. Suicidal Pigeon

    I was like this when my kids were little. Now, at 8 and 10– it gets better. (I used to dream about breaking a leg and needing to go into the hospital for a very long surgery.)

    I look back and just wish I would have given myself more sleep. It is a very vicious cycle and going to sleep– even if you feel tightly wound– really can help. Just laying there with your eyes closed can help.

    Also, I can’t stress enough the power of a good therapist. Preferably a Mom who has also been where you are. Just being able to get things off your chest without feedback from #1 the Internet and #2 anyone who knows you in real life is amazing.

    I hope things look up for you. It is hard, so very hard, but things do get better.

    Reply
  170. lea

    I can laugh about this stuff now! I remember my beautiful son screaming through the checkout line at the grocery store. Sitting in his bouncer because I hadn’t been able to get out of the recliner for a week, literally. He was what my friends called a Velcro baby. I was a train wreck and in love all at the same time. There were many times I would tell him, “David, my son, you have to pull yourself together man!” He just always wanted his mamma. He passed away 4 months ago when he was 13 weeks old. I wish I could have my crazy life with my son back, but it’ll never happen. 4 months ago my journey to the depths of hell started and I don’t know if i’ll ever return. I know its easy to tell other people to count their blessings, and I remember my jaw dropping everytime I heard such a tiny little man scream like a heavy metal singer when i’m tryingto remember my pin number Ive had for 7 years. Its easy for me to tell you to appreciate what you have lol i’m all alone now. I will tell you that after you have children, and then don’t one day, out of the blue, silence is death. You will want death.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Oh Lea, I’m so sorry about your precious baby. I’ve had several friends go through similar losses, and I think of them every single time I think I’ve about had it with my own sons. Then, I breathe deeply and hug them extra tightly. Hang in there, and please take care of yourself.

      Reply
  171. Guerrina Waters-Hernandez

    I identify with all you’ve written – even now at almost 60! I don’t know that the “tightly wound” feeling ever totally goes away though I know it lessens as children mature. The reason I empathize now is that my 25 year old son (that I reared as a single mother) and his 4 year old son live with me. With the exception of the age of 18 mos. to 3 yrs., they have lived with me since his birth. The mother just recently decided that she preferred to no longer be in the relationship with my son and has left the house. So in many ways I am reliving my 30s!

    I am very honored by my grandson’s desire to be involved in ALL I do (and I mean ALL) and right now there’s increased nurturing and reassuring going on, BUT I’d really like to: finish some trim work I started in February…build that outdoor table… build grandson’s platform bed … get the kitchen counter so it is visible & the carpets steam cleaned … have the opportunity to read a few chapters without non-stop verbal commentary … go to the bathroom without a knock on the door … watch just one adult tv show uninterrupted… maybe just sit and stare vacantly at my garden without aforementioned commentary …oh, and that bathroom floor? Shhhh.

    It would be nice to fit those in after 8 hours in the office! Yes, I am usually exhausted and frustrated that my home is in desperate need of organization & cleaning. Yes, my son is the parent and is parenting well, but his work hours are all over the place and usually opposite mine.

    I don’t know that what I have to say will be helpful as it comes from having raised a child to adulthood and the different choices I am making for my grandson, but here goes: (1) I finally acknowledged that my house and I can delay perfection for awhile – not an easy choice for me. (2) I am choosing to appreciate each stage as they truly are fleeting – how many I missed with my son! (3) Realize children care more about relationships than a sparkling, clean home. (4) Give baths when dirty lol! (5) And those hairballs & dust bunnies will keep coming back so I make myself remember I don’t have to have perfect home…today and (6) I try for that 30 mins. a day (most often early morning or late at night) to appease my need for alone time and sometimes I just arrange a play date for him so I can sit and stare aimlessly enjoying the quiet – no way I’m using that time to run after dust bunnies!

    Having friends and support systems is always helpful. Develop them where you can.

    Now, I’m going to enjoy my 8 hours at the office!

    Reply
  172. Becca

    I love this. So much. You echoed every thought I’ve had in my years of parenting. Ever.
    I have 5 girls, 12,10,8,5 and 16 months. They are wonderful, incredible, healthy well behaved children. My 5th has thrown me for a loop. She is HARD. Demanding, needy, LOUD. Absolutely brilliant too. But she has made me question why I ever thought adding a 5th was a good idea. Can I just go back to 4? How easy my life would be. She has made me ask God why? Was this some kind of cosmic joke? I thought the “baby” of the family was supposed to be happy go lucky? Laid back? Why would He do this to me? Instead I can’t even sleep alone, potty alone. She wants, no -needs- to nurse still constantly. She makes me look at my husband’s hairy, manly, breast – less chest with envy.
    Everyone comments on how hard she is. But the other day, while I was nearly in tears, and my head felt like a steam engine was plowing through it like it does when I’m desperately overwhelmed, I was caught up feeling sorry for myself and on the edge of being angry at God for this “hard” baby, and in answer to my “Why?” A gentle quiet thought entered my mind.

    “Because she needed to be here, and you were the one who could handle her.”

    Wow. That was profound for me. And looking back, I see it. I hear my mother say for the millionth time that she couldn’t do it, how patient I am (even though sometimes I’m screaming inside for some space!) That over and over again I’m the one who gets to reassure this child that she is loved, and that she can navigate this world with my help, and that is going to be ok.

    Because it’s going to be ok. :)

    Reply
  173. Anonymous

    Wow, you described my life to a T! Pile of dishes in the sink, clean clothes overflowing in the laundry room and wanting to paint the living room but not knowing how-lol!

    All day at work I miss my child with an unquenchable ache and then I get home and most days I’m just too exhausted to “be engaged.” I feel guilty and determine I’m going to do better tomorrow but it’s usually rinse and repeat, day after day.

    Of course we have our mushy, mommy-daughter moments that I cling to but most of the time I feel like I am failing at life.

    As most of the others have already stated, THANK YOU for sharing your heart. It is much appreciated. We are in this together! :)

    Reply
  174. Michele

    I have felt the same way over the past couple of years. I’m 44 years old and the single mom of a 21 year old daughter. She is getting ready to leave for college in August and I’m a total wreck. I am so depressed and all I do is worry and cry. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her. I had to move out of our apartment because without her help I can’t afford to keep the place, (my whole apartment is now In a storage unit, except for the stuff that I need) so now I don’t really have a home. My friend was nice enough to let me stay with her and her kids but I’m not happy there so all I do is stay in my room and think, cry and don’t know how I’m going to get by without my baby. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy that she is in school but I’m just not used to being alone. I’ve looked into smaller rentals, still to expensive(I’m in disability) & public housing (waiting list closed) and low income based (I don’t make enough each month to qualify). I thought about a roommate but I’m too scared to do that. I just don’t know what to do anymore, I feel lost and lonely and like the article said, there are days when I leave and Just go park my car and cry. If anybody has any suggestions, I would really appreciate them.

    Reply
  175. Blake

    Spot on. Thank you. My partner and I have adopted our two. Adopting our children was purposeful. We chose them, “fully” knowing what their risks were. I thought I was going to be a better parent, a purposeful parent with forethought, knowledge and know-how….how wrong was I! Nobody wants to talk about these issues…I mean really talk about them…the dirty house, the 1, 2, 3, 4 baskets of clean laundry in the living room, the dining table full of toys, arts/crafts….gah! Which isn’t even the worse part…it’s the questionable parenting skills that keep me frustrated. Certainly having support and specialized classes is important but having a safe place to vent is much better!

    Reply
  176. Anonymous

    This is just so good I think I’ve gotten whiplash from nodding so vehemently in agreement. My fault entirely; I was wound too tight and shouldn’t have indulged in such an exercise without warming up first. See … I’m the *grandmother* of three grown children (one of which returned home with her two children). It’s now been 40 years and I’ve never been without children in the home to parent … toddler to teens and back again. I so get it. I gave up my writing about five years ago … but obviously you have NOT; it’s getting done – and beautifully. ;-)

    Reply
  177. Libby

    I was just sitting in my car, (hiding) in my driveway, surfing facebook because I didnt want to be touched, or asked a question, or help anyone potty. I read this and started crying. Thanks for the affirmation.

    Reply
  178. Jean

    No doubt about it, some days (weeks) are tough! Exhaustion is difficult to deal with. I had my kids at 36 and 41. I went to bed at 10pm every chance I got. A happy mom will have happy kids. Have your kids help vacuum or wash dishes, you do not have to do it all or have everything done perfectly! Kids can match socks and put their clothes away. Take one hour a day for “family chores” and you’ll be surprised at how much can be accomplished when you work together! (I would never drink wine, unless it was with a meal.). Parenting is challenging yet rewarding. My kids are now 23 and 17.

    Reply
  179. Judi

    I’m a 65 year old grandmother with one son and his 2 children in residence. One in the throes of puberty, the other not far behind. Not what I planned for these years and while I love it, I’m constantly aware that I have to RAISE them, not be the one who coddles and indulges them. When you add in my now disabled husband and his Alzheimer afflicted mother . . . yeah, tightly wound! I work while the kids are in school and in the summer they help out at the group homes with me. Sigh. I need a vacation! :-)

    Reply
  180. L

    I am 52 with a four year old granddaughter we have frequently, aging parents who require daily assistance, a full time job, and what feels like a million responsibilities….your words resonated deeply with me. I haven’t unwound in so long I don’t even know what it feels like anymore. Real sleep is a rarity and my brain will not shut off at night. You nailed it!

    Reply
  181. Dawne Badrock

    Hi fellow moms “in the trenches” (that’s what I call it)! It’s all out warfare on all fronts if you ask me!!
    I’m a 46 year old mom of a 6, 8 and now 10! We are moving into double digits now!! Having three kids in less then four years has taken me a long time to recover from!
    Sad to say girls but it doesn’t get a lot easier only different. The fighting!! School related stress!!! Friend related stress!! Activity related stress!! The messes now find their way to corners uninhabited until you accidentally discover a moldy pudding and spoon stashed in the makeshift extra pantry area downstairs! (Is there a big enough pantry anywhere? That’s another days beef)! A sticky freezie that leaks just as you pu off carpet or peel off leather couch! Yuck! Wet towels left on floor all the time, regardless of how many times you tell same kid to pu!! unflushed toilets (that really drives my husband crazy)!! The floors are constantly filthy and I’ve taken to mopping sometimes before sweeping! Gaack! It’s all about survival!

    I was relieved to hear that other mothers struggle to “unwind” and go to bed “for extra rest” at 9pm!! That is hilarious! I have often complained, “I need some time to not be touched by anybody, not even the dog”!! My husband has struggled to understand and how could he? How many 14 hour shifts has he had with these troops?
    I am lucky though! I work casual and try to balance work and home with home and family winning more than work but I do feel bad for not working more!!!??
    The other day I woke up feeling horribly remorseful for yelling at my kids seven years ago! That must be the reason for…all because of an article in readers digest that identified the consequences of yelling at your kids!!! Man that’s a terrible way to start a day!! Already feeling like the worst parent of all time and I haven’t even got out of bed yet!!!
    Fortunately, I have fellow moms in the trenches to help me through. That I think is the secret to survival!! Hugs to all you moms out there!!

    Reply
  182. Nia

    Thank you for writing this so beautifully. I have tears in my eyes. Me too, I am often “tightly wound”–being conscious of it helps sometimes, right?

    Reply
  183. Hannah

    I mean, you just hit every nail on every head. I desperately hope you celebrated with a glass of wine.

    Reply
  184. Okayest Mom

    Thank you for this! With three kids under three,I am also wound pretty dang tight. My favorite lines are about Austin making a case for rest. I had to read it aloud to my husband to prove I’m not crazy.

    Reply
  185. clakeyebs

    From a mama who watches the kiddos during the summer and teaches during the school year, thank you. I needed to read this today. Phew.

    Reply
  186. Lyn

    How’s the writing going? I would say it’s going pretty darn well, Katy. Oh you’ll have people saying, “Having a blog doesn’t make you a writer.” Ha! What would they know? They’ve probably never written anything more than a shopping list or Christmas wish list.
    I stand and applaud you, oh vegetable deprived, almost hairless writer and amazing mother, owner of a dirty kitchen sink, four baskets of scattered laundry and frequenter of supermarkets. Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re already a success.

    Reply
  187. Anya

    Well, THANK YOU!
    That was such brilliant writing! Reminds me of how I used to write, lol!
    28 with a 8 year old daughter & 5 going on 6 year old son!
    Such is the life, a big beautiful mess and what I am ever so thankful for <3*

    Reply
  188. Erin

    Are you a mind-reader? I swear you wrote my exact thoughts, right down to the collection of my missing hair in the corners of the room. It’s so accurate to real life. For some of us anyway. Press on :)

    Reply
  189. Diane

    Spot.ON! Except my kids smell like the local pizza joint…. I stay up WAY too late just to have that mindless numbing of Hoarders or My Cat from Hell….

    Reply
  190. Diane

    SPOT.ON! Except my kids smell like the local pizza joint… I stay up way to late just to get that mind numbing relaxation that Hoarders or My Cat from Hell can bring.

    Reply
  191. Anonymous

    I tell everyone to stop at 2 because having 3 makes that article look like a vacation day in some ways :-)

    Thought I would take the kids today to walk around the lake only to realize 20 minutes into my hour walk what a horrible idea it was. 8 year old with attitude, 4 year olds legs hurting, 2 year old screaming out of her buggy. 1 kid whimpering, 1 crying and 1 screeching. 2 year old out of buggy, 4 year old in buggy, 8 year old giving attitude, 2 year old running away, 4 year old rolling back wards as I chase 2 year old who almost falls off boardwalk, 8 year old giving attitude for saving buggy with sister from falling off board walk. Now walking with 2 year old in hand, pushing buggy with 47lb 4 year old and yelling at 8 year old to stop freaking out about the coyote signs. 2 year old sits….Dear God…..carrying 40lb 2 year old, pushing 47lb 4 year old and dealing with an 8 year old with an over active imagination thinking she’s gonna be eaten by a coyote.

    This was 1 hour out of my day!!! I go to work for a break because otherwise I will break! On days where the girls are fighting I plug my earphones in as I watch them go about their fighting. It allows me to still ensure they don’t use their karate and Jiu jitsu moves on each other but allows me to calm down before I erupt! Works like magic with reggae, makes me think of the beach.

    Being a mother is not easy, know your limits and allow yourself to have a break or they will break you….they will eat you alive, lol.

    First time mom – it’s all new therefore very hard mentally and physically.

    Second time mom – easier for both.

    Third + mom – exhausting x100 for both.

    Talk about it, listen to others tricks as some may work for you and as our paediatrician told me “no baby has died from crying, so if you have to, let them cry”. I strongly recommend this if you need that moment to break down and regroup, we all do it sometimes.

    Reply
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  193. katbiggie

    Wowzers that’s a lot of comments. It’s amazing how similarly all of seem to be living, and we still feel like we are failing! Thank you for this post. I have been having a particularly tough time lately!

    Reply
  194. Anonymous

    THANK YOU! This hits the nail on the head. Also, I thought I was the only one who liked the hair-playing/Orange is the New Black watching sessions:)

    Reply
  195. Sarah

    This was so much “more real” than the Mommy-cheerleading posts. You’re right–we’re all shamed. Shame on the shamers.

    Reply
  196. Nicole

    that is me times 8….every night I fall into bed and just lay there…I have to have my own 30 minutes a day just to ‘unwind’

    Reply
  197. Chelsey

    Thank you. Just, thank you. And the comments (well…Most of them)…Thank you all. Same as a lot you; I really needed this. I too feel alone, overwhelmed, confused, like a failure. Depression, anxiety, tempers…my sister-in-law lives just down the street from us and I see her less than I’ve ever seen her before, and she completely disappears when I need help. Sometimes, all I need is someone to just sit with me on the couch and drink coffee. I moved 300 miles away from all my family and friends to be with my husband and all I have here is my husband, his sister/her family, and a free acquaintances from doing hair/makeup design for the community theatre. I don’t drive (stupid ticket I didn’t pay a while ago suspended my license and we’re just too broke to pay it), and the people here are already a little hesitant to set up a play date if you haven’t been to a play date with their group before in the first place and then they find out you need a little help in the transportation area…oy vey. It’s a very clique-ey area I live in, apparently. So I’ve just stopped trying. Absolutely this is what I’ve always wanted. My daughter was born on her due, weighing in at a whopping 4lbs 14oz, 17in long and couldn’t eat without turning blue. Turns out she had esophageal atrasia (the top half of her esophagus just, ended, and the bottom half connected itself to her windpipe). Every time she ate, her oxygen levels would decrease, she’d turn colours, and milk would spill out her mouth (the milk would pool in the bottom of her top half of the esophagus then spill out her mouth). She was life flighted to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, WA on the second day and on her third day of life she underwent surgery. She’s doing wonderfully, just turned a year old, weighs 14lbs 4oz, exactly 27in long. I love how weird it is that on her one year checkup, her weight is her birth weight flip-flopped around and her height is an exact 10 inches more than her birth measurement. She’s beautiful, healthy, fun, tiny, and I love her more and more with each passing day. She fills something in my life and in my heart that no one and nothing could ever fill. But I’ll tell you, I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life.

    Reply
    1. arabianknits

      Two things, one of my friend’s daughter has the exact same type of problem, only they knew before birth. Also, where are you? We live within an hour and a half of Spokane, and feel pretty isolated, too. My e-mail address is: arabianknits @ gmail . com (remove the spaces, of course).

      Reply
  198. Jenifer

    I will start by : I love my DD. To the moon and back , but I did not want children. My husband did and I love him. So we had our DD and now he wants another. I don’t think I can do it. I feel like I have lost myself, I am depressed and grumpy. Sometimes I feel like I could run away and I’d be ok. But then she smiles at me or says can I be your snuggle buddy and I melt. Fall head over heels in love all over again. I can’t keep the house clean she is always redecorating.
    I am at a loss. It seems like nothing is ever good enough and I tell you what- I got onto my mother and my sister for not being honest with me about this whole thing. But it good to know I’m not crazy and there are others struggling too sometimes.

    Reply
    1. Leonia

      Do not have another, Jenifer. Don’t let your husband do that to you. It’s not fair to you, nor to your daughter. Good luck.

      Reply
  199. Anonymous

    It does improve. Babies mature, the fog lifts. But you may still forget to buy honey. And everything will have a deeper meaning.

    Reply
  200. Jackie

    I just wanted to thank you for reminding me that I have a half a chocolate bar in my handbag and it’s exactly what I needed.

    Reply
  201. Hannah

    Wow! . . . . . . Like . . . . . . . Yep. From the dishes, everyones vege intake , unmopped bathroom, still unorganized papers, early onset dementia, missing hair clips, unfinished projects, and husband saying “ready for bed” at 9 when I plop (not sit) on the sectional. I look at him and he knows what im going to say “I just got off work!” Aka kids are all happily down. I go with him anyways and laythere with my phone light dimmed, playing solitare or watching youtube also glad to not have the need for intelligent thought. 11 comes around and I put down the phone even if im not passing out touching the redeal icon.I eventually fall asleep to the sound of my husbands gentle snores. EVERY time im out alone I take parkinglot vacations. And I get texts asking how are things? I cant truely answer so of course its “good”.
    I will say I havent always wanted this and im reminded daily why. But more so im reminded why I changed my mind. I know im wound tight and was waaaay before parenting. But most of that is because I give my all and dont except half assing. Im glad to be a stepmother of two teens who only know me as mom & the mother to a ninja MaCGyver 5yr old girl. We homeschool, thats how much I actually like my childrens company but it isnt always pretty..

    Reply
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  203. Alice

    A great out-dated video that I showed at the end of my many childbirth classes was called “Diapers and Delirium” by Jean Driscoll Watson. She is funny, yet hits all the important stuff about becoming a parent. See if anyone can still find it! I can attest to the claim that being a grandparent is just….different. It comes with a different understanding of the little ones. I try and try to impart a feeling of ‘let this go,’ and ‘just don’t worry about it,’ to my daughter, but realize that parents have to go through this. We all do. I think my 3 turned out pretty well, despite the seemingly awful mistakes I made as a parent. Guess since no one ever went to jail, and the last one is nearing 30, those mistakes must not have been so bad. And the Bad Parent Police never came for me either! So. Just keep breathing, mommas and papas. You’re doing a good job.

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  206. Anonymous

    I am a 23 year old stay at home mother of 3 boys. 5, 2, and 1. I just recently got re diagnosed with depression. I have had it since I was 15 but I let it go. Everyday I am tightly wound. The days seem neverending, the lack if sleep is noticeable yet everybody says “you should get some sleep.” Please tell that to the 5 year old who misses his daddy, and the 2 year old permanently attached to my hip. Or to the 1 year old cutting molars waking up almost every hour on the hour every night. My husband works out of town. I look like a raccoon most days due to the colors under my eyes. But I love my boys more than anything in the world.

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  208. Rinsed

    Stay at home dad here… Even harder as there’s no sisterhood/mothers united thing…. Being a man makes things even harder in many, many respects. Ever seen a man crying on the bathroom floor? It’s ugly. Massive shout out to all the stay at home dads reading this.

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  209. Amy

    Such gorgeous truth. I’m not a parent, but I am a human and I whole heartedly agree that we are in this together. I created an online sanctuary that we can go to anytime we need to safely/anonymously tell the truth. And be reminded that we are not alone. Everyone’s invited. http://www.SanctuWhereWe.com Press on, indeed. Well done, Kate!

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  210. Crystal

    I started @ 24 with my 6 yr old girl list one in between her & my 7 mth old baby boy. Love them both so much. She difference between the 2 wasn’t planned. I feel like this a lot! And totally agree on a lot of this.

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  211. Mel

    Girl, yes. Just, yes. I have 5. Each has their own stuff. And they are all little, they all need ME. It’s so loud. Even when it’s not. And I did want this, but I didn’t expect to not be able to ever breathe. If it weren’t for Facebook, and Bravo…

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  212. Tired

    Ugh! This made me cry. Thank you for sharing. Most days I feel so inept for not being able to accomplish simple tasks in one sitting. And then to have my husband tell me how easily I should just be able to take a moment for myself during the day. It’s not that simple and I’m so relieved to know I’m not the only one that struggles.

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  213. Meredith Barker Yarbrough

    I am the mother of a 2yo was finishing my practicum for a master’s in psychology when I became pregnant. It was unplanned and unwanted by my partner. Three years later we are happily married but he’s in Afghanistan. His 17yo daughter also lives with us. I still don’t have my master’s degree because I haven’t finished my paper. People ask me all the time “How’s your paper coming?” I want to chokeh them! I feel accomplished that my daughter is relatively clean when I drop her at daycare. My daughter breastfeeds and co-sleeps. Is 12:30am and she finally sleep beside me and I’m on Facebook because I need to unwind… Except I’m so tired my eyes hurt. Thank you for the beautiful writing and for understanding. My daughter is the best thing that ever happened to me but I could certainly use a week of sleep

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  214. Asha Bastis

    Thank you for writing this.. I’m a legally blind, single mom to a 3 year old, going to school with hopes of getting my Masters ‘one of these days’, and attempting to ‘do something’ with my art. Services for the Blind helps with childcare, which has made all the difference, but aside from that I don’t have much help aside from the occasional friend. Some days I feel beside myself. On the one hand becoming a mother pushes me to grow like no other motivation probably could, and on the other hand that ‘spread thin’, tightly wound feeling is just….. *deep breath*
    Bit of a catch22… If I give up on my passions and efforts then I’m settling for my kiddo and self,
    but when you’re spread thin I can’t seem to give my 100% to anything, so I’m doing a lot, but not as well as I could – just as well as I can in these circumstances.

    Things from this article sit with me..
    “And that’s OK”
    “Press on”

    <3 It's nice to not feel alone in this.. that I'm not the only one who gets burned out, frustrated, so on..

    Thank you

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  216. JL Meicht

    Inspirational! There just are not enough hours… and before you know it, it’s time to do it again. I only have one but she is lucky she is what my wife and I had wanted forever. Keep writing though, they say your muse comes after you start writing not before!

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  218. Jessica N

    I’m so bone tired at the end of the night, but have the hardest time falling asleep. My brain is going a million miles a minute. And usually by the time I get to that deep sleep, baby is almost up. I feel ya, Kate! Motherhood is hard. But we have to keep on keepin’ on!

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  219. Caterina

    Just wanted to say that I feel you sister. I’ve had this piece book marked for months and turn to it more often than I care to admit when I need a pep talk. All my parent friends I’ve shared this with always mention to me how much this essay helps when they need it. Ugh. It’s just so much some times.

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  220. Debbie

    I will say that I enjoyed this writing very much. I am 55 years old. My husband and I have 7 children. 2 birth children aged 36 and 35, then we have a 20 yr old, a 15 year old, a 9 year old, a 7 year old and OMG I also have a 5 year old! And yes, I am 55. At 40 years old my husband and I began adopting, thus the younger ones found their forever home here. I keep telling myself that it is just a season of life. But….I am always in the same season! It is hard! All my friends my age are enjoying grandchildren. Oh did I mention? We also have 2 grandchildren. Life is full, busy, crazy, but I do have to pace myself. I take regular breaks when I need them. Usually every day around 2 pm I will prop my feet up…no matter what needs done at the time. Then at 3, the evening routine of dinner, dishes, chores, baths etc begins. I have long since stopped worrying about how I measure up to other moms. This is our life and this is my family, I have to make it so that the craziness does not make me crazy or my children. I have a tin above my kitchen sink that says SIMPLIFY. And a sign that reads COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. If my focus is on the piles and messes I would surely get depressed but I try really hard to see positives. It doesn’t work every time, but I give it my best effort. I will admit also that going to the grocery store alone is like a therapy session to me. If you have taken the time to read my post I hope something I said would resonate with you. Choose at least one coping strategy to begin and you’ll start to find your head bobbing above the waves now and then. Take care of yourself!

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  221. Cali

    Megan,

    I can soooo relate to this. We have lived on the east coast for almos 3 years and ok still having issues finding real, like minded friends. We have friends, yes. But very few in person friends I would invite over without cleaning the house and in pajamas :)

    Reply
  222. Anonymous

    My first son is only two weeks old, still waiting for the lil piles of hair in every corner.
    Thanks for sharing. It’s always nice not to feel so alone. Also, half way through Orange is the new black.

    Reply
  223. Christi

    I am 56 years old and never reply to blogs. I’m a very private person. My daughters, all five of them are connecting to this message and I understand why, however…

    I came from a “super mom” neighborhood. The pressure was unreal. I tried to drag my children to every lesson and team I could get them involved in. That’s where all there friends were after all and I had a parental report card I needed to manage. Your generation now competes against a sea of social media moms. Pinterest should come with a prescription of Valium! I wondered how hot meals got in the table, laundry got done, groceries, bills…you get the idea. I discovered it didn’t. I stepped back, took my children out of most of the after school opportunities and refocused in my home. Your time of influence is relatively brief. They do move out and begin their own journey. I had one mission…make my home a sanctuary. A calm and present mother and an orderly home is the foundation of that. My home was safe and consequently I had many children, not my own, that found a second home with us.
    I am now in the harvest of my life and what a joy! In addition to our six children (one son also), we have our 22nd grandchild due in November. Hard and exhausting, yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

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  224. mommyoosa

    Wow! Congrats on your 22nd grandchild. I agree, do less and make the home a sanctuary. And another thing I quit is multi-tasking. Nope. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Reply
  225. Jamie Briner

    I agree with you. I have done this and my 5 year old son has suddenly been able to express himself with words instead of long, sustained squeals. Everyone is happier and calmer. We go swimming together after everything else is in order, and the kids play together at home while I do my stuff. Other than that, we just exist together in relative calm peacefulness. We limit our visits to places that are manageable to me. It may seem that I am shortchanging my children, but at their young ages (7, 5, 1) they seem to benefit more from a healthy, stable, loving mother nearer home than experiencing every attraction in the area with a screaming banshee mother.

    Also, you are more available to people around you, and if others did this they would be more available to you. I think a big thing that is missing is the community of mothers that used to support each other so they could all get through it together.

    Good luck to Kate and all the rest of us trying to get through it:)

    Reply
  226. Trevan

    I really enjoyed reading this post and everyone’s insightful comments (the positive ones…). Am I the only dad that feels this same way? Or just the only dad who would post a reply… lol. I’m a married, 40 yr old father. We have 3 incredible kids, son 5yrs and 3 yr old twins (boy and girl). Life IS tough. Keep up all the hard work moms AND dads!!! :)

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  227. Kristin

    I have 3 year old twins(girl and boy) and they are a force of nature. In any given minute I can go(and them!) from sheer joy to torture. They both have very strong outgoing personalities which is so funny and endearing but then with that you get head strong children. They are a well coordinated team that can challenge even the best opponent. If you spend some time with just one they are calm and easy going. It can be ridiculously frustrating and overwhelming. When one issue is sorted, a new one quickly comes round the corner. I have a lot of admiration for any twin parent.

    In my opinion, the reason parenting is so amazing and horrendous at the same time is that it is extreme. The highs and joyous moments are filled with love and pure happiness. The next second the low (because the spoon is the wrong color, I don’t want to sit there melting tantrum, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I want spaghetti not that(it is spaghetti) etc…) can grate on you to the point of defeat and overwhelming feel of being totally out of control. Right now my twins are cuddled into me watching tv and it’s lovely, however it is 5 am and they were not caving in arguing that it was as they said”morning getup time and the sun has woken up” that’s parenting! Some days I love it, some days I hate it, but the emotions it bring are a rolercoster that you just have to ride most of the time! Other times just hang on to wine o’clock at bedtime!

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