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.