Wanting What Doesn't Exist (In other words, for mothering small children to be easier.)

5 years ago

I need space to think. I know this about myself. I need time to reflect, to ponder, to remember over and over and over the reasons why what I'm doing is important. I need time to untangle the thoughts and emotions that twist like vines in my head, and to do this, I need moments to breath and just be.

And then after I get those moments, I need to connect with other people about them. This helps me not to feel alone and/or crazy.

I need these things a lot to feel good about myself.

The pace of my current life is not allowing for this luxury, and I do believe itis a luxury. The pace of my current life is: Hurry up! Stop that! Let's go! We're late! I need this! I want that! (And my least favorite) I'm hungry!

Some weeks my mother-in-law comes over and watches the kids for several hours. For this I am eternally grateful. I just "hired" my 12-year-old neighbor to come over for three hours on Tuesday so that I might have a little time to myself. My husband helps out a lot when he gets home from work and of course on weekends but it is always a joint effort. We get the occasional, and very rare, afternoon to ourselves with the help of my in-laws. Most of the time, if I leave the house at all, there are one or two small people strapped into a car seat behind me.

All of this is to say that for the majority of my week, I am in my house and it is a one woman show.

The constant busyness and the inability to just be is causing a big problem in my life. I'm short with my husband. I snap at the slightest provocation and I'm quick to attack the most minor of infractions. I'm impatient with my kids. I'm resentful and unappreciative of gifts I've been blessed with and above all, it is that feeling I hate the most. Because I am blessed and I don't like taking that for granted for one second... and yet I do.

I don't like any of these things but I'm at a loss for what to do about it? Short of magically extending the 24 hour clock and figuring out a way to operate on no sleep I don't know if a remedy exists in this moment in time. As I write this it is 11pm and I should be getting ready for bed. But I'm not.

Because I need this.

I also need to show up for my family everyday. Cleaning, cooking and fulfilling every major (and minor) need of these three people are not always what I want to be doing, and yet, it is what I have to do no matter what, and it is that part, the "no matter what" part that is my biggest problem.

It doesn't matter if I feel disconnected with myself. It doesn't matter that my head is cluttered with thoughts and emotions I can't name because I'm too busy to name them. And because I can't name them, they come out in the form of my de facto emotion, anger. It doesn't matter that sometimes I want to scream for no reason because the over-growth stifles me. It doesn't matter that all I want to do is read or write a goddamn paragraph but instead I'm cutting up strawberries into bite-sized pieces. It just doesn't matter.

I know there's a deeper lesson in all of this. I know that the discipline, the delayed gratification and the sacrificial dedication has an ultimate purpose. I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing with my life at this very moment and I know there are profound and important reasons for all of it, some of which I do not yet know. I know that my life is intrinsically better for doing all these things but those reasons are buried like roots deep among the bedrock and my head is all too often in the clouds.

I also know that having roots are the most important things.

I know this, but it doesn't stop me from gazing longingly up to the highest branches and wondering what the view must look like from up there. Is the air sweeter? The sun, warmer? The breeze, light?

And of course, I know too, that it's not.

In fact, I know that it doesn't even exist.

Shannon Lell is a fallen corporate ladder climber (actually she was pushed) but whatever. Now, she's a writer and SAHM living in Seattle, WA. She writes introspective pieces on personal and social issues at www.shannonlell.com.

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