Saturday, May 8, 2010

We all have our days

I have been feeling icky the last few days. Just sad, and frustrated and like I am not productive or doing anything of value. I know I am, according to many, doing "the most important job in the world!" but I am having a week where I feel like I am doing the bare minimum. It doesn't feel important, it feels monotonous. It feels like all I do is yell at them to stop fighting, a tactic which, I assure you, does not work. Yelling at people to stop yelling at each other, not a good strategy. A parenting tip from me to you. You're welcome

I got bored like this, only more so, when I was in the working world too. My old job had many days that sucked. It's unavoidable. Life gets boring. But we live in a world where the media doesn't want to let us get bored. If we feel stagnant, there must be something wrong with us. Take a pill! See a shrink! Take more pills. Take a pill for that syndrome we call "LIFE." I took the pills, but I don't want to be numb anymore. I want to learn how to deal with and accept the "ick" feeling. I think there may be value in it.

There is also the guilt factor. The thing with adoption is that there are always parents-to-be out there who have been waiting YEARS to have kids, gone through many IVF's, been through failed adoptions or have simply run into the endless adoption waiting period. In light of all these people who are waiting and yearning, it feels wrong to have "days." I feel like I should just be walking around in a constant haze of gratitude all the time, and I am grateful, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like shit about myself sometimes. It's different than post-adoption depression, which is a kind of natural chemical letdown after the process of adoption. That is to be expected. I mean the body can only function on that kind of panic/boredom/excitement/thrill cycle adoption requires for so long before it seriously crashes. Adoption defines the whole idea of "hurry up and wait!" This funk I'm in is, well, a different funk.

Have any of you seen that movie "Return to Me" with Minnie Driver? She is a heart transplant recipient and she gets a whole new lease on life. She is also fairly depressed and feels guilty because she thinks she should be happier, especially in light of the fact that the only reason she has the heart is because someone her age died and was an organ donor. She talks to her doctor about how she is feeling and he says "We all have our days." To which she replies "Yeah, but I don't feel like I should have 'days.'" That's how being an adoptive mother can feel sometimes. It feels like I am not supposed to have days. Especially since in my heart of hearts, I would love another child. I feel like, in order to prove I am worthy of the kids I have and the one I still want, I should never have "days". Compounded by the fact that everyone is, in fact, healthy, we have enough food and a good roof over our heads, I have a loving relationship with my husband and my family is close by, and it all starts to feel a little self-indulgent.

But what happens if you don't indulge the self's need for sadness? Does it just build up like a stockpile of fireworks, which can be set off by the smallest spark? I remember reading somewhere that it is important to let kids be bored at times, because through boredom come the really big, imaginative ideas. The greatest games, the most inspiring art, the best scientific discoveries. Isn't a fair amount of dissatisfaction necessary to force the self to keep improving, or if not improving, at least moving along the road of learning? But at what point do we just become an annoying whiner? A grumpy bitch (which is, unfortunately how my frustration manifests itself)? That person no one wants to hang out with because they only gripe about their problems, which compared to real problems are not actually problems at all. I am a bit worried I have become that girl to my real life friends. Have you ever felt like you're not connecting with the people in your life? Yeah, that's me right now. And because we never really leave high school, that has me thinking that nobody likes me and they are all laughing at my outfits behind my back.

Parenting is really freaking hard! You are surrounded by people, but not by your peers. The people you work for's idea of a performance review is a screaming fit on the kitchen floor. There is so much second guessing, and while I do in fact read, write, create and participate in the outside world, I don't get paid for it, so I am unsure of my own work's value. I, therefore, do start to wonder if I am doing a decent job when there is just one time-out after another and not 5 minutes in a row without someone ending up in tears.

This, my friends, is a bout of existential angst. Am I only "Mom" or am I more, and wherein lies my worth. If you thought you were over this kind of crap in your early 20's when it was cool to be conflicted, I am here to tell you, you will struggle with it again and again. Unless you are an unnaturally healthy person emotionally speaking, in which case I can't talk to you right now. I'm too busy feeling sorry for myself.

p.s. Thanks for being my therapists, dear readers. The check's in the mail, I swear.

13 comments:

alicia said...

Already love your blog. I can so relate to this ick feeling you describe so well. Not sure what the solution or cure is, but I'm with you about meds- hate that numb feeling. Let me know when you figure it out, would ya? I'm your newest follower from SITS.

~Issy said...

Thank you for saying out loud what i've been feeling....

Catharine said...

I think parenting full time is the hardest and most wonderful job on the planet. Nothing makes you face your foibles more than a toddler or young child who just wants to be with you every minute of the day. How wonderful on one hand and heavy on the other. Add that to the pile of endless laundry, mix in a touch of late spring rain, stir up the dirty water from all the dishes and abracadabra, it's one of those days.

keep on keeping on....

Alecia said...

Amen. I too have those days. And the guilt that comes with it. I am so incredibly thankful to be a mom through adoption but I have a upcoming birthday and I thought I would have more kids. Do I have a right to have those thoughts? I'm so blessed with my son and my husband, how dare I ask for more. But I do...sometimes. Sigh. You are voicing exactly what many of us feel.

Hatice said...

Thanks for writing again April.

Choops said...

I am so happy that you have begun writing on a regular basis. What wonderful prose. I miss you guys. Sorry I don't have any epiphanic advice, but you should know that you are raising some of the most fun people I've ever met.

Shell said...

I love your honesty. I think all of us moms feel like this some days. And the only ones who don't have "days" are the ones who take meds for that. ;)

Thanks for visiting me on my SITS day last Monday!

EWebey said...

I think all moms have those feelings at least once a week. :D
Sometimes, you have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and envision your sweet darlings in their sleeping state, when that are actually BEING sweet darlings and not crazy monkeys bouncing off the walls!!
ICLW#156

Jem said...

What an insightful post. I sometimes wonder about this parenthood thing and why I'm working so hard to get PG when it's so hard. Makes life interesting.

Happy ICLW

http://ambivalentwomb.blogspot.com/

s said...

don't be so hard on yourself.
parenting is wonderful, fun, frustrating, boring, crazy, wild, difficult, amazing, depressing, etc. it's life, you know, full of ups and downs. you just have to ride the wave.
you're human and you have to feel whatever it is that you are feeling in the moment, and then move on.

Kris and Scott said...

OK. I'm following you immediately on the basis that you write honestly and from the heart. I'm not a parent yet, but know that when I am, days like you have described will come to me as well. But what you are describing is LIFE--the good and the bad. My friend always reminds me that it's the journey and not the destination that's important. The kids are home (the destination) but their journey to adulthood is much more meaningful.

ICLW #158
seoulwithlove.blogspot.com

Jesse said...

Wow, I haven't been to this blog in forever, but decided to visit just now, and you've updated... Love this post!!! I mean, you have already received your applause here, but here's some more. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in feeling this way, lol. Lara

livefree said...

I think I discovered your family on mothering.com years ago when your oldest were so young! And now, they are big kids! I, too, am an adoptive mom, so I get the whole grateful thing.

Keep it in perspective. Breathe deeply. And know that this too shall pass.

And by the way, this medicine is what I should be taking daily, as well.