The Unspeakable, Spoken: Why is this so tough?

I really wish wine did it for me. Isn’t wine supposed to help deal with motherhood, if all those memes are to be believed? Nothing really works for me. I don’t smoke. I don’t really drink…now, I like the idea of it and don’t mind an occasional beer or wine, but I am definitely not a drink-to-feel-better or eat-icecream-to-feel-better or overdose-on-(insert favorite dessert here)-to-feel-better kind of person either. I have never done weed or anything even remotely in that category. I failed at meditation. I am inconsistent with yoga. I am too lazy to exercise although I always have every intention to do something fitness-related. I only go on jogs when I sign up for a 5k race. I have never been a runner. I like walks by myself but a few minutes in, I start feeling guilty about walking when I should, instead, be jogging. Don’t know why…kind of feel like I am wasting time walking.

Today was my second full day with the kids and it has been a long day. Pretty much all of the 2.5 days since Aaron left to visit India on work (how weird is that, that he gets to go to India, my country, without me and the kids) for almost 2 weeks and I am not sure I will survive these weeks in the best of mental and physical health. I’ll live of course (but who knows, life is pretty darn unpredictable!) but the quality of that life is anybody’s guess.

I tried hiring help. I couldn’t find one I could afford or one I could afford without making me feel too guilty for not contributing financially to the household. (there I go again….yep, I did). Somehow I feel like if I hire help, I am dipping into the single-income limited resources we have to fund our lifestyle and my new venture, not to mention TJ’s school which isn’t cheap.

It’s not like it’s a party for the kids either. If I am not happy, no one else is happy either. I am unhappy because I am sick of trying to talk reason into a 3-year-old or having to negotiate EVERY SINGLE TIME, or having to SCREAM every single time. Back when I did that huge pit-of-the-stomach scream for the first time, I shocked myself. These days, those kinds of screams are pretty common around here. And no, I don’t use a pillow anymore either. Let the chips fall where they want to. I am just too tired to care or bother myself with the aftermath of a scream.

This job, the stay-at-home being a mother all day, every day has been the single most challenging thing I have EVER done. Nothing comes even remotely close. I knew very, very early on in my life, like when I was a teenager that being a “housewife” was absolutely not for me. The financial aspect aside, I just didn’t see myself staying at home doing householdy things all day. Not me. Never was. Now, with evidence, absolutely never will be.

I hate that summer school is over. I wish we could afford to send him to school all day, every day. I wish I didn’t feel guilty already that we send him three days a week part-time when I feel like because I “stay home” I should be caring for the kids as part of my mother-wife job profile. I hate that I don’t make a financial contribution to the family unit. I hate that I feel the way I do. I hate knowing that perhaps one day, I will look back at these days and wish I had lived differently, experienced things differently, and appreciated this time more.

I hate that I am not a better mother who somehow finds motherhood a calling and can take all of what I am going through in better spirits. I hate that I am not patient. I hate that one day my kids may read this and think I was such a horrible mother. I hate that I can’t be a better mother for them, the one they deserve. Instead, they are stuck with me. I hate hearing from people who tell me to enjoy these days. I don’t. Nobody does. Everybody just pretends to because it is the right thing to say to others. I hate people not in my shoes giving me advice even when I know they are right. I hate people who have been in my shoes telling me how they did it and managed just fine. It doesn’t change a damn thing for me. I hate people telling me that kids are only young once. Well, thank goodness for that! I hate when people tell me that these days of their childhood will never come back. Thank you, for making me feel even more worse than I already did!

I have never bought into the cult of domesticity or true womanhood but being partially forced into one – to subscribe completely, you’ll have to have bought into piety – I am an atheist, purity – what the heck is that?, submission – are you kidding me? Have you met me?, and domesticity – kind of a post-modern view of men as breadwinners and women as homemakers perspective (post-modern because in the modern era, men and women worked on farms and fields together, as a family unit; the kind of division of labor prevalent in recent times was a non-issue in modern times) which is why having no choice but to live such a life is especially challenging.

The above is why, “staying home”, cooking or thinking, planning, and prepping cooking, the occasional cleaning, the mind-numbing grocery trips (although, I don’t mind these too much), shouldering the majority of child raising responsibilities – are just not me. I am just not meant for this kind of work. I am not saying it is above me or below me, just that I am not a great fit for this position. It takes a much stronger person than I am or ever will be to do all that one needs to do as a stay-at-home-parent and still emerge unscathed at the end of the day.

I’d be perfectly happy having a 9-5 job, self-employed or otherwise, trusting professionals to take care of the kids, and return home to or pick up kids in the evening, feed them (hopefully food someone I have hired to do has kept ready), bathe them, read to them, and put them to bed. All this talk about the advantages of a child spending the first three years of her or his life at home with a parent or loving caregiver is BS…perhaps promoted by vested-interests of some kind – like other parents for whom parenthood may be a calling and I value the research and respect those who are into it. It’s jut not for me. It may be great for the child, what about the parent/caregiver in question? How are they faring at the end of those three years?

Are there more people out there who can honestly say that they disliked those early years at home with the kids but now that the kids are older, life is much calmer, better, and easy-going than back then? I have heard from one so there is some assurance. Sure, every stage of a child’s life, heck every stage of an adult’s life brings with it its own insecurities, fears, and vulnerabilities, and I also understand how problems that seem like problems now (e.g., my son dumping a box full of blocks over my daughter’s head and then refusing to clean up) may seem nothing compared to the teen years when you worry about your child learning to drive or driving or how they may handle peer pressure or whether they will be bullied…. but for now, in this time, my problems are my problems and they seem big enough to me and I should respect those sentiments. I cannot dismiss the value of today’s emotions in favor of what may happen 10-12 years from now.

Much as I see childhood slowly fleeting by with my older child, I am excited for him to start kindergarten in 2 years. Then, of course, I’ll still have another little one but at least because kindergarten will be “free”, she can go to school on the same 3-days part-time schedule he does now. Will I miss them? Of course. Or, Maybe.


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A former Communication Studies professor turned a somewhat reluctant stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), I blog about my adventures raising two multiracial kids. I write about parenting and living a multicultural Indian-Canadian-American HinJew life with honesty, a few tears, lots of laughter, and gallons of coffee.
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Follow me: @thephdmama

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  1. Suchitra… I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. You’re not alone, I have days/weeks when I feel the same. My husband travels loads, and I have no family in the country so I hear ya mama! I do like wine and the odd cigarette in the evening (bad mama), but I would highly recommend trying dancing with head phones on your own! Sounds ridiculous I know, but honestly, it’s a chemical thing… it make you loosen up and feel awesome, even if it’s just for a moment. Put your fave tune on and go crazy!!! ❤️

    1. Dear Katherine, I am truly grateful for your kind words. They made me emotional, hopeful and yet, some kind of resigned too. I am going to seriously do some dancing or if not, just play some calming music, close my eyes, and be. Just be. Thank you.

  2. Hi Suchitra, can you leave the kids with your in laws for a few hours and take some time out for yourself? I find that even a half an hour break makes a huge difference.

    1. I have no family in town or even remotely close by. Leaving two kids with someone seems like a huge burden on even friends. Thinking of temporary daycare options. Thank you for your concern. It means a lot.

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