Confession: Maybe I’m Not Cut Out For This

I used to be very maternal. Everyone said so.

I used to adore kids. Everyone saw.

I used to want eight of my own. I told everyone.

Now, well now I’m not so sure I was meant to be a mother. Nobody knows.

I remember perfectly when my son was born. I can tell you my birth story in detail, which I’m sure I will sometime. But I cannot tell you that amazing connection mothers feel the moment they hold their children. I can’t tell you about that because I didn’t feel it.

I just wanted to go to sleep. I looked over at my darling boy, said he looked like his father, and passed out.

When the nurses brought him to my room so I could take care of him, I kept asking them to take him away. I wasn’t ready. I needed more sleep, more time.

Slowly that connection, that amazement, came. My son was in the hospital for two weeks after he was born. When I sat with him in the nursery I would hold him and stare at him for hours. No one else wanted to come visit because it was boring for them to watch me stare. He was perfect, couldn’t they see?

newborn sleeping

I got lucky. I had an easy baby. I loved being a mom. I loved watching him explore the world around him and take everything in; I loved being there for major moments; I loved how he would curl his body into mine for comfort. I had never known a love so strong. I was obviously meant for this.

But now, now things are different. And I haven’t yet told anyone.

Now I get bored watching him sleep. I get excited for the milestones, but only because finally the hard work of getting there is over. I get uncomfortable when we cuddle and crave a cigarette more than his warmth. I get so irritated when he always comes to me for comfort — why can’t he go to Jack?

I feel like a failure. I feel like I don’t belong. I feel like, maybe, someone made a mistake. Maybe this isn’t what I was supposed to do. Maybe I’m not cut out for this.

Maybe I’m not cut out for the sleepless nights and the tantrums. Maybe I’m not cut out for being late to every single thing I ever try to do. Maybe I’m not cut out for struggling to get shoes on for half an hour, or meticulously teaching every letter a thousand times, or wiping the same butt for the millionth.

I feel like I’m suffocating. Truth be told, I still have it easy. My son is a good kid, an easy kid. So why is this so damn difficult?

I wake up and he’s there. I go to the bathroom and he’s there. I smoke a cigarette and he’s there. I try to eat a piece of chocolate and he takes it. I go to sleep and he steals my spot. Every moment of my life is centered around this fabulous being.

Don’t get me wrong, I know he’s amazing. I adore him. And I make sure he has all that he needs. But I do not feel like a good mother. I feel like I’m failing him. I feel like I don’t love him enough, even though I know that I do.

I feel like this should be easier. I feel like I’m waiting for a day that will never come. I feel like I should cherish our moments far more than I do.

I feel like I’m not cut out for this, but I push through because I know I have to be.

I just hope I get that initial spark back. I hope I can love him the way I’m supposed to. I hope this will stop, someday.

And maybe that hope means I am cut out for this, after all.

baby swing

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This post is part of the Confessional Series, written by Tempest Rose. To submit your own, please head over to The Confessional page.

 

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26 thoughts on “Confession: Maybe I’m Not Cut Out For This

  1. I can absolutely relate, and it brings such guilt. Best to you and him, I keep hoping it’s just ‘ a stage’ , but it feels like it’s been going on so long :( stay strong, I do believe whatever the case unconditional love is the most important thing and that you very clearly have for him :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if this might help you –

    https://athenasantics.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/things-youre-not-supposed-to-say-about-your-children/

    You may just be cut out for a different level of development. Which doesn’t do a lot to make the baby and toddler stage easier, I know, but it might help you keep an open mind to the future. Just because you feel a certain way today doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way tomorrow, next week, or next year.

    Hang in there!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you! I think one of the main reasons I wrote this was because I KNOW you’re “not supposed” to say these things but I also KNOW I’m not the only one experiencing them. The baby stage was fine, it’s the toddler stage I’m having problems with. I’m really hoping it will change with the preschool / elementary school years.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I relate to so much of this. The infant and toddler years wore me the hell out. Maybe this will give you some hope — I love hanging out with my now 7yo. He’s a cool and enjoyable little person. My 5yo is getting there but he still resorts to toddler-like behavior at times and tries every fiber of my patience. I think 3 was the absolute worst age for both of mine — I spent so much time locked in my room (or closet) counting and breathing because I just couldn’t deal. I would parent until I could feel myself on the verge of exploding and I’d just tell them that Mom needed some space — nice way of saying go the hell away and stop touching me; oh my god. Hang in there. It doesn’t make you a bad mom to not love every second of it. It makes you human. I think moms need to discuss their true feelings way more. I know plenty who feel just like we do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mine’s 3 now and it’s definitely the hardest time thus far. The baby years were fine, perfect even, and I used to parent his brother and sister who seemed so much easier, but now looking back I struggled more with the 3-year-old than 5-year-old and wasn’t with them EVERY day.

      Thank you so much for your comment=] I know other moms often feel the same way, it’s just hard because sometimes I think they don’t. It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post, Tempest. Cannot tell you how much I relate to it. Had them take my son away after birth. Didn’t feel warm and cozy after so much pain. Just wanted to take a shower and clean all of the blood and crap off of myself. Early childhood and toddlerhood are difficult for some of us. For me. I need my own space. I need to be able to go to the bathroom by myself. For us, it gets easier as they get older. My son still asks for me when it comes to nurturing, but he is an intelligent, articulate adolescent now. He will be leaving for college in four years. Four short years. Amazing. You are a wonderful, loving mother, as well as an intelligent woman. Mothering is not intellectually stimulating and can be quite draining.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always needed my own space, too. Even when I have moved in with significant others, I had my “own room” to have my own space. You make great points though, I had never really thought of it this way. I think one of the reasons I wanted to write this post is because I KNOW other parents go through it and wanted them to know they’re not alone. Some days are better than others, but the toddler years are definitely giving me a run for my money, so much so that I’m tempted to not have any more kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One is enough. For me, at least. I always thought I wanted two or three. My husband was happy with one, but willing to try for two. Then, it became clear that I had bipolar disorder, and parenting my son when he was an extremely active and somewhat rebellious toddler became extremely challenging, to say the least. Since our son gets migraines, it was no doubt best that we stopped at one. Siblings are LOUD.

        Liked by 1 person

        • When I got pregnant Nikki wasn’t around so I fully planned on parenting all 3 kids, all the time, and loved the idea. Now I’ve told Nate that the only way I’m having more is if HE becomes a stay-at-home dad and takes on all the responsibilities I’m dealing with now. We’re still mulling it over, but we have plenty of time.

          Liked by 1 person

          • If Nikki is doing a good job parenting her kids now, then sharing custody would probably be in her kids best interest. They no doubt love all of you — Nikki, Nate & you — as their parents. Good job standing up for what is best for you.

            Like

  5. Tempest,

    Your ability to be so honest with and about yourself slays me.

    This is an insightful, powerful and important post.

    The parent thing isn’t easy, especially when your children are little. I cope with the day-to-dayness of fatherhood better now that mine are older; it isn’t that I didn’t like having young children, but they needed me then in ways I found personally taxing and draining.

    Now that they’re all young adults, they still need me, but it’s relational – reciprocal and easier for me to understand and cope with … it also isn’t constant. Helping them, being there for them now fills me up, it doesn’t deplete me as it did when they were little.

    You’re doing fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Comments like yours give me hope. My son’s only 3 and incredibly needy and you’re right — it’s SO draining. Part of me knows it’s “normal” to feel like this, and that a lot of people do, but it still makes me feel bad sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It has been my experience that you will feel about your child differently as he goes through different life stages. You are fortunate, indeed, to have an “easy baby”, but perhaps you will feel more successful when he is 13 and can answer you back when you shoot him a question. When my older son (who was a “difficult baby”) finally got to where I could reason with him, things became much better. There were times I felt like a failure because I loved my son but felt I didn’t “like” him or what he was doing. Talk about feeling miserable! But the thing about parenthood is it is fluid, and will change. Hang on for the ride. You may surprise yourself. Maggie’s Mom

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much=] I always used to say this was my favorite age — now I think it’s my least favorite (my son’s 3). I know I love him but sometimes I just feel like, because of how overwhelmed I am, I’m not giving him enough. I also know “this too shall pass” but BECAUSE I love him so much I just want what’s best for him all the time and I feel like, because of how I feel, I’m not providing that at the moment. I am hoping we will soon get to the point where I can look back at these days and reminisce and laugh.

      Like

      • Oh my kids were fine in their 2’s then in their 3’s they learned the word, “No”. And then the struggles began. Yes, one day you will laugh about it – I still laugh about how my son argued with me, pointing on the calendar that it was May and therefore “shorts” weather, when we still had snow on the ground. You have your son’s best interest in mind and that is the overwhelming vibe from what you wrote. Of course you love him. Just gotta get through this. And you will! (((Hugs))) Liz

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You are a great mom! Great for keeping up, for pulling through and for not dropping him. You are a great mom for admitting what goes on inside of you. You are a great mom, to share it, get advice, even though, I think there is no advice here. You are a great mom for waiting for the spark to come back. And it will. Being a mom is tough! Being a mom is draining! Being a mom is about giving up so much of your personal space and of your freedom! You are a mom and you are a great mom. Just always remember, that he steals your spot because you are his mom and he loves you no matter what, he eats your last bit of chocolate because you are his mom and he rather takes it from you than someone else (not helping, I know), he wants to cuddle with you and not Jake because he loves you. He loves you, no matter what. And that is a huge reward. Hang in there, love!

    Like

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