I am too embarrassed to write the number of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups I have eaten today, but I can tell you that there aren’t enough of them in the world to remedy this heartache, frustration, confusion, defeat…

Defeat. Last Sunday I called my ex-husband crying while my son screamed in the background … Twice.

The second time I told him that if our son didn’t stop crying -I believe I used the term ‘freaking out’- by the time he called me back (I left a voicemail, he was at a party), then he was going to have to come and get him because I can’t do this.

I CAN’T DO THIS! Tears streaming down my face.

At that moment, I didn’t even want to be a mother anymore. And I remember thinking this is what failing feels like, and then I remembered something I had written in September at the start of my graduate program: If I succeed at school but fail at mothering, it will have all been a waste.

My son fell asleep a mere five minutes before his dad called me back. We made it through. I made it through. But a week later I am still screaming the same anthem in my head. It’s just that I am maintaining a little more external control. Overwhelmingly, I still feel like I can’t do this. I can’t do my life like this. I am not a machine. There is an oppressive blanket of discontent resting on my heart, and I need some space, some time to reflect on what’s actually important, but the relentless chores of life keep marching toward me, and I am afraid. to stop. moving. because I will be run over… by a big military tank.

… and then some days being run over actually sounds like an appealing option.

I have not yet reached the point where I can tell this anecdote with a reassuring and hopeful ending, but maybe the ending is in the telling, to admit defeat. Maybe there is hope in the honesty of not being perfect or even anywhere close.


2 thoughts on “Defeat

  1. I really can’t imagine what you have been going throught the last couple months- A small child and single parenting is monumental. I have been alone with the kids for the last 5 months and know the struggles. Working, feeding, maintaining some kind nurturing memory for them, rather than a tired and grumpy shell of a mother that cries when they don’t go to be after 10 minutes of “twinkle twinkle little star”. My husband comes on the weekends and talks about how much he misses us and how happy he is to be here. He tells me “you’re so lucky!” I want to scream “I am held prisioner by a four and eight year old in solitary confinement where my punishment is to make millions of quesadillas and wash leggings six times a week!!!” I force myself to participate in the weekend family time, when I just dream of sitting in my room alone, staring at the wall. Heaven. Sending you love and the mama goddess will wrap you in her arms, just when you have felt total defeat. It comes in the form of a kiss from your boy, or a moment when you see the true light shining from his eyes. You are amazing.

    • Migrationmama, I just saw your comment on this post. I’m not sure why I didn’t see it until now …Thank you! I appreciate your empathy and can imagine that those weekend transitions are very difficult! I hope that you get some moments to sit and stare and be still. Love.

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