I am touched out.
I am talked out.
I have been run ragged today.
I have been stretched thin.
I may have even cried in the bathtub tonight before my littlest came busting through the door, slinging off his clothes and attempting to jump in to the scalding hot pool of water I was trying to melt my worries away in.
I have been pushed and pulled in every direction. I've heard "Mama" so many times, I'm convinced they think I am the only person in existence that can help them with their "problems" – because we all know that not being able to find the crayons is the end all be all of their little worlds.
Do they even know they have a father?
Who do they think that man is who leaves each morning and shows back up 10 hours later to have dinner with them?
How can they not know that he, too, holds the key to finding the missing iPad? He, too, can open the cabinet and get them a cup. He can do all of the minuscule things I am too tapped out to do – and yet, they'd walk 5,000 miles in the opposite direction just to ask me. I'm simply dumbfounded by it all.
Friends, I once had big dreams. Dreams of a career in broadcasting that would allow me to travel the world. I would experience other cultures, the likes of which I only ever dreamed about as a small town girl who's biggest claim to travel was a trip to Mexico in college.
I was going to be important. People would turn on their televisions, see my face, and listen intently to the words pouring from my mouth. I would be their go to each morning for top news stories.
Instead, I watch others live my dream each day over my lukewarm cup of coffee, while my two year old cries hysterically because I refuse to let him eat ice cream for breakfast. I almost always give in though, because quite frankly, I am too tired to even fight that battle most days. You win some, you lose some, right? I'm most definitely the loser more than not.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being a stay at home mom. My children are my entire world, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a tinge of jealously when I think of my childless girlfriends. They wake up each morning, dress only themselves, stop by Starbucks – where they can park and walk in to order their coffee, because number one – they look completely presentable to the world, and two – they don't have to unload tiny people who have certainly already kicked their shoes off and will most definitely throw a fit for a $5 cake pop once inside. They head off to jobs they love, where they get a lunch break and spend their days doing important adult things. Most importantly they come home at the end of a long day and do whatever they want!
Nap? Why not?
Hit the gym.? Yep, they've got time!
Watch their favorite shows? They can do that!
There are days I would give my right arm for just a moment of solitude. Little hands touch some part of my body every minute of every day. I never escape it. Even in sleep, their little bodies manage to inch closer and closer to mine, until they at last make contact with me. Their needs are never-ending. Their questions are never-ending. My sanity for the day, however, IS ending.
This permanent state of exhaustion seems to be my new normal these days, and yet with every fleeting moment, I'm watching them grow up right before my eyes and I know –I KNOW – one day I will long for these days again. But friends, today is not that day and so I bottle it all inside until, like a tea kettle, I reach my boiling point and scream out to everyone that I. AM. DONE.
I need them to stop talking, to stop fighting with each other and to stop crying about every little thing. I need them to just go to sleep! I need my alone time. I just need a minute – one minute to myself before I wake up in the morning and have to do it all over again. I am completely spent. Just give me my break for the night!
And then, they finally do, and suddenly my world is so quiet. I am finally as alone as I can possibly be these days. It is glorious! But then I look over at their sweet little faces as they slip into a peaceful slumber next to me, and my heart could literally burst. They are so precious. How could I ever not want them to touch me? I must be a monster.
The guilt feels overwhelming. I snuggle next to their little bodies, kiss their cheeks, and apologize for not being the best mom today.
Tomorrow I will be better.
"I love you so much," I whisper into their little ears, hoping they always know even when I'm pushed to my limit, the depth of my love for them knows no end. "Tomorrow I will hug you more, kiss you more, and I promise we will laugh and play all day."
Being a mother is hard. The guilt never goes away. Feeling as though you're failing them never goes away. You question every decision you make for them – but what good mother doesn't wonder if she's doing it all wrong? Sticky kisses, big bear hugs, precious stick figure drawings of us holding hands and hearing "I love you, Mommy" make it all worth the internal struggles we put ourselves through.
Tomorrow will be better. I will be better. And so I wait for morning – to hug, to kiss, to squeeze my love into them so they know they are my whole world.
Here comes tomorrow, and I am so ready for it.