Confessional

by statia on January 26, 2010

I’ve been seeing a therapist now, for maybe 6 months?  I’m not sure.   I knew prior to having LG, that I was a strong candidate for a hearty dose of PPD.   I had it with the Mini, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was with LG.   The Meester started talking to this woman last year sometime, and she sounded pretty cool.  I figured I’d give her a go.  I’m leery of therapists.  I’ve almost never had a good experience with one.   I even had one fall asleep on me once, which really?  I’m not sure I have the words to describe that feeling.  Or the will to make jokes about it.  But the last word I would use to describe myself, is boring.  Even my neuroses aren’t boring.

But this one, she’s a good egg.  She doesn’t just listen to me yammer on for 50 minutes about my “woe is me, my life is soooo haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard” complaints.   She pushes back.  She isn’t afraid to tell me that I’m being hard on myself (something I hear EVERY WEEK, thank you), or that I need to stop trying to be such a perfectionist, or “for the love of god, woman, can’t you say ONE GOOD THING about yourself?”   Translation: shut up and let me pay you a compliment, already.”   She doesn’t make me feel as if I’m abnormal for all of the things I’m going through.  She has yet to back away slowly, or run, fleeing from her office, leaving a gaping person sized hole in the wall as she blazes off.   She’s candid, and honest.

I am so hard on myself.  Ridiculously so.   And even her constant reminders of “everyone goes through this,”  I have a hard time believing her.   I feel as if I look at everyone with multiple kids, and they have it all together.  Or so they seem to.   Me?  I’m a hot mess.  I’m always forgetting things when I leave the house.  I forget appointments.  I realized today, that I forgot it was my turn to bring snack for school.  I forgot the Mini’s backpack today.  Half the time, I forget to comb his hair.   Before LG came along, I was more scattered after becoming a mother, I think that’s a given.  But I had a notebook and a planner and every single thing got written down.  I might not have gotten every single task accomplished that day.  But I crossed off what I could, gave myself a pat on the back, and put the rest of the stuff on the list for the next day.   Now?  Half the time I have no idea where my stupid notebook is, let alone what I need to get accomplished.   I wander around, trying to find purpose to my days.  Trying to make some semblance of them, and be more organized.     I look under my bed and think “Ugh, I should just go downstairs and get the rake.”   Inevitably, I hear the baby crying, or there’s a major crisis and I promptly forget what it was I wanted to do, or needed to get done.   I start 5 different tasks and never finish them.   I find things like rogue socks in the hallway.

I feel so scattered and lost.   I am told this is normal.

And yet, I have a hard time believing this.   Is this the new normal when you have kids?  Do you have organization or do you open your linen closet and find things mixed in with the towels, that don’t belong there?

{ 25 comments }

geeky January 26, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Uh, this is pretty normal for me and I DON’T have kids. I’m not sure what that says about me. I won’t tell you how many times a week I forget to feed my dog because the authorities might come and take her away. (Please note: my dog is not starving. Honest.)

donna January 26, 2010 at 7:58 pm

I don’t have two but yes, this is normal. You are keeping two small people alive, who if left to their own devices would have accidentally offed themselves ages ago. A backpack or hair combing is far less important. I’m sure it will get easier as they get more self sufficient. You do need to go easier on yourself. You do NOT suck at life.

Susanne January 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I think it’s entirely normal. I have only one child, and I let the standards for housekeeping, etc., slip significantly. And I STILL can’t meet my own expectations. So, when people tell me to lower my standards, I tell them that I HAVE. I guess it’s just a matter of finding something every day that you get done and feeling pretty good about it. And then realizing some days you aren’t even going to get that, because, as said above, you are getting a lot done in a day: just not the same stuff you used to.

Margi January 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm

As you well know, I had two, together, when I was all 20 and stuff, and then had my last child at 40. I could have written that post back when the elder two were toddlers/preschoolers; I can write a post that would make you feel downright SANE now.

Kids make you crazy. Bottom line. It’s the sleep deprivation and worry, methinks. You do need to be gentler on yourself and realize that that woman who is calm, cool, collected and has every hair in place? She’s got a housekeeper, a nanny or SOMEBODY picking up the slack.

Nobody from _House Beautiful_will be by to inspect for dust bunnies, girl. Enjoy those beautiful children and let the unimportant stuff slide. And yes. Take a bubble bath. You totally deserve it.

Regina Heater January 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I wish I had wise words for you, but everything I’m coming up with just feels so inadequate, and I don’t want to patronize you, because I suspect you feel this inadequacy very, very deeply in your soul. So I will say this: I’m glad you have a wonderful therapist who is helping you sort out the fact and the fiction and all the plot twists in between.

(Also, have you ever heard of DBT? It is a therapy designed for people with borderline personality disorder, but it’s pretty fantastic for helping people ‘reframe’ their thought processes. I found it very helpful for overcoming moments where I felt completely overwhelmed and inadequate, because it teaches you with concrete steps how to interrupt the thought process and ‘rethink’. Maybe a modified method of this would be helpful for you.)

Tracy January 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm

OMG, Woman, you are SO normal. So so so normal. And while I may have 5 kids, I don’t have an infant and a toddler. I cannot even FATHOM having an infant and a toddler. My older kids – if I forget something, they either remember for me, or can be sent back in. And I am a list maker, a calender keeper, a reminder sender…And yeah. I am constantly forgetting SOMETHING. I’ve gotten better at accepting it, because it doesn’t appear to be getting better.

My house is not perfect. I look at some people’s pictures online and sigh. My house never looks like that. I’m lucky if we have enough clean towels in the closet at any given time for us all to have a shower. I am pretty impeccable about the baby’s stuff, but the rest of the family? Pshhhhh. They can fend!

Life goes on.

steff January 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I was like with a 6yr gap between my boys. It is very overwhelming when each kid is pulling you different directions and your trying to go your own direction too! You are so normal, except you are better than that, because you actually sought assistance in figuring out how to make your new normal work for you!! Bravo!! BTW it does get better, my boys are 7 and 13 now and I give them as much responsibility as I can. IE: the older one gets up to his alarm, makes his own breakfast and the little one packs his own backpack, sets out his clothes, etc.

becky January 26, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Dude. I am so hard on myself, too. Impossible expectations and standards. I feel like I’m failing all the time. I used to remember everything. Now? I can’t remember where I left my glasses. My keys. My shoes. And I only have one kid to keep track of. I wonder if I’m crazy for wanting to throw another into the mix. I probably am. My house is so bad I don’t want anyone to come over (a lot of that is due to space – hello! 1 bedroom!) but I know I’m expecting too much. I work from home. I don’t have a lot of free time. It sucks. I’m trying to go easier on myself, but it is so damn hard to do so. I’m glad you have someone to talk to about it.

Lisa January 26, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I think “normal” is entirely relative. What’s normal for one person is chaos or ridiculous perfection for the next. If your kids are happy and healthy you’re doing just fine. It’s so easy to be too hard on yourself. Just take one day at a time and remember to take some time out for yourself even if it’s a warm bath while hubby watches the kids, a trip to the store to grocery shop alone, or that visit to your wonderful-sounding sympathetic therapist. Breathe. Take the dog and go the park. Breathe. Have a drink. Breathe. It will all be ok. I’m glad you are strong enough to seek help and affirmation from someone qualified to give it when you need it the most. I think you’re doing great, so be kind to yourself. Positive self-talk and all that jazz. Now if only I could take my own advice. Heh.

Melissa January 26, 2010 at 10:13 pm

This is pretty much my normal state. Not being on a routine and not being organized bugs the SHIT out of me. I have my days where I want to curl up in a ball and cry because I just feel like I am losing control. I am very hard on myself as well. I want everything to be as perfect as possible. Throwing a second kid into the mix has made me realize that I can only do a little at a time. I’m always forgetting shit too. It’s wierd, our similarities are WAY TOO WIERD!! But I think you’r esmarter thatn me :)

Billie January 26, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I saw a few things that other people said that I totally agree with. Lisa said “normal is relative”. AMEN sister!!! Everyone’s different, we all have things we are good at and things we aren’t. You’re good at being hard on yourself…this is not a positive quality. =) haha jk No one but you expects you to be perfect. I’m with geeky, you sound a lot like you are living my life and I don’t have any kids either. Man I totally suck! =( I don’t know what I’d do if I actually had to be responsible for someone else. Good grief the nightmares that would give me… The other thing I wanted to comment on was I went to see a therapist one time (the only time) that fell asleep on me while I was talking. I was so shocked and completely demoralized. I tried to joke about it with my close friends that knew I went, but I was just crushed. It was a complete self-esteem buster. Haven’t been able to go back since. Good on you for being able to get over it and actually try again with someone new.

Jillian January 26, 2010 at 11:33 pm

I have always been very good at keeping it together and hitting my goals. Then I had my son and there was a definite wobble. For the most part I got it back, though. Then a few weeks before my son turned two I had another baby. (Sound familiar?) That was four months ago and I am a new woman. I am a new, disorganized, confused, sleepy, messy woman.

A few times I have forgotten to feed my toddler in anything like a timely fashion. Like noticing at 4 that I didn’t give him lunch. That put a pretty big dent in my mom confidence. The worst, though, was that one day my mom came to my office to meet me for lunch and she brought the baby. When we got to the restaurant I was at the front door before I remembered the baby was in the car. Now. My mom was still at the car. I like to think if she hadn’t been there I would have been more vigilant. And it could not have been more than a five second lapse. But what if I were alone? What if I walked through the door and someone distracted me? What if? What if? All I can think about is that is how that happens. That’s how babies die in cars. And it’s distressing for me to write about it, but I think it’s important for mothers to be honest with one another when things are hard. That was weeks ago and I think about it every day and feel sick.

You’re definitely not alone in feeling scattered and lost.

Yo-yo Mama January 26, 2010 at 11:43 pm

“More scattered” indicates you had an organizational deficiency before having kids. So having children didn’t make you more scattered. I just think (and I have this problem so I’m not judging you) that once you have kids you have to not only try to organize yourself, but those little people who actually run our lives w/o even trying.

We’ve forgotten to pick up our son from school when there’s early dismissal. But guess what? He still loves us. Isn’t that all that matters?

solonor January 27, 2010 at 1:23 am

Yeah, you’re a freak. No one else is as messed up as you…but we loves ya anyway.

Beth January 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

I had pretty bad post partum anxiety, part of which stemmed from my inability to be super woman and do it all. That was hard on me, because I’m used to being a perfectionist and having everything just so. So, I totally get you, and I only have the one kid. I think if I had two I’d probably just turn in circles going, “wurra wurra” all day long.

Shanna January 27, 2010 at 9:53 am

Shit, this was my normal BEFORE I had kids.

jesser January 27, 2010 at 9:58 am

It is interesting you talking about this. I have been thinking about the ridiculous expectations I set for myself, all while I’m getting about 6 hours of sleep on a good night because, bless him, my little man still isn’t sleeping through the night (though maybe we turned a corner last night, don’t want to jinx it). But I am not cool with low standards either. I have friends who duck out of everything because it’s all just too much effort. I am just trying to reassess what is REALLY important (cool experiences with the kids) and what isn’t (a perfectly clean house).

As far as the organization goes, I am OK, but it is a struggle and I know I’m not as good as I used to be. I used to never have to write a damned thing down. Now I keep tons of OCD lists and our family calendar is nuts. But there are tons of rogue socks everywhere in the house (what is it with those things?) and laundry continuously goes unfolded for days at a time. Usually, the kitchen is clean and the trash goes out. Beyond that? We slap it together before the cleaning ladies come every other Tuesday (that’s half the reason we have them).

Mamma Pants January 27, 2010 at 11:25 am

Darling Girl – This is your Other Mother. Your Pants friend would tell you that nobody is more compulsive than I am and probably nobody’s house is as orderly as mine now. Key word: NOW. When I had two kids (which, by the way, is about 100 times more than having 1 kid) (every mom will tell you that), I was lucky to be able to find them both on a daily basis and mine were more than 4 years apart. Working helped me a little bit cuz I could get away from the chaos of my personal life and nobody knew what a wreck everything at home was. But helping that little is probably not worth your going back to work. Yes babe, this is normal. Time helps the most. Remember that you have to make adjustments every day because your kids change every day – they’re supposed to. You’re normal. That’s a compliment…….you’re welcome. And many hugs are enclosed.

The Pants Friend January 28, 2010 at 12:19 am

Also, take this in the spirit in which I mean it: I don’t remember the house being a wreck when I was a kid either. Ever, really.

(Meaning your kids won’t remember it either. So fuck it.)

mrsgryphon January 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm

You’ve just described my life. Before kids: all laundry put away, in drawers, socks together. After 1st daughter: random socks in the living room, laundry sits in baskets, eventually put away. After 2nd daughter: I’m losing baby socks, if the clean clothes are in the laundry basket I consider that “put away”!

Until our 2nd child was born, I can honestly say that I had never forgotten an appointment. I missed 2 last week. TWO. I just don’t think there’s enough room in our brains for raising multiple children AND keeping up with all the other things going on in our world.

I’m lucky that I have some great friends who are completely honest about what life is like with kids, and we try to keep it real. I’m glad that you have someone to talk to!

girlfiend January 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I need a therapist like yours.

Yesterday around 5 I got a phone call from my OB’s nurse. This was odd, because she usually only calls for lab results. Turns out I missed an appointment. The stupid glucose test too. I scheduled my dad to babysit for the wrong day entirely.

Anyway, I’m a disorganized mess with a dirty house, an unmade bed, and 4 dirty baskets of laundry. I just noticed F’s preschool tuition check due at the beginning of the month is still in his backpack. And if that’s not enough for my poor self-esteem I have strangers on the internet telling me I’m a bad parent with an appalling lack of self control.

Shannon January 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm

You know I struggle. You know I do. I have two and I work and half the time I feel like I’m failing either my work or my kids or, you know, all of the above. I have been forgetting words lately – words, the hallmark of my life. I feel like that kid from Goonies – “I’m just trying to dictate myself.”

ssfb January 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

So I missed the whole commenting in a timely fashion thing (apparently that can serve as exhibit A of not having my shit together either). Jesus Christ Woman, you have two kids. I’m every bit the disaster you describe and I have no children… what does that say about me?! lol. I am sitting here (procrastinating from my homework) next to a note that’s been here for two weeks reminding me to schedule a doctors appointment and for the love of god make an appointment to get my haircut for the first time in 6+ months. And I can’t pick up the phone because it’s just too much effort. Let’s not talk about the two baskets of clean laundry to my left that I can’t manage to put away so I’ve just been digging through for clean socks for at least a week…

Does this mean I’m not allowed to have kids at all? I hope not. Maybe I’ll get it together before I have kids? Or maybe not…

Siera January 30, 2010 at 12:58 am

Better late than never to comment. I feel I am being pulled every which way and I only have one. When Aaron was a new born I used to stare at mom’s with 2 in awe because I could never ever imagine myself being able to handle a new born and a toddler. Hats off to you. You’re doing a great job. I am seeing a counsellor myself and may be going back on anti-depressents.

Laurel January 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I have an infant and toddler. My apartment and mind are a complete mess. You are normal!

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