I have always been suspicious of bloggers who trawl for sympathy, who write about feeling “lost” or “overwhelmed” or “suicidal” simply to gather attention from their fans. Everyone loves an underdog, and I have always viewed these posts cynically (ever since I wrote back to a popular blogger who was feeling low after a miscarriage and got no reply but a mass generic post thanking “everyone” for “all the support.”) I believe that guilt-inducing demands for attention should be directed where they belong – at one’s own husband and kids.
Nevertheless, today was rough. It started off well – Yoga! Freedom! Leaving the house without anyone (or anything) hanging off my ankle! (Including, unfortunately my phone.) Then Farmers’ Market! With a friend! An actual adult! Whose family was away so we could talk! And somewhere around the time I got stuck in hour-long traffic on the way back to where I live (just because everybody else on earth wants to visit on a weekend) my spirits started to fade. The exclamation points! wilted and turned into uncertain question marks when I got home and NO ONE WAS THERE. As I didn’t have my phone, I assumed I was desperately needed, and in fact I could have stayed in town, avoided the traffic, and gone to a much-needed soiree for “people of my ilk” in the evening.
I got to organize in my house alone which was great, and clean up, and all those things that require no special skills but that give me a certain sense of satisfaction. Then they all barreled back and there were water balloons! And swimming! And putting paper towels in the tree! (Exclamation points theirs.) My husband dutifully blew up thirty balloons for them, and there was laughter and is it my fault that my idea of fun is not the same as theirs? Why are these kids stuck with someone who has no interests in common with them? I started pitying them for their misfortune in getting a mother who only cared about who was going to get the paper towel out of the tree and whether the puppy was going to die from ingesting a discarded balloon.
And then soon I was cooking dinner (steak from the farmers’ market which I’ve literally never cooked by myself before) and my hand touched the oven dish full of potatoes and I got a little burn and a little voice inside me said, “Good, you deserve that.”
I report this not to get your sympathy, or even your empathy, but simply because it is my truth. Regardless of what I do, or what medication I take, or how much sleep I manage or blah blah blah, some days I hate myself. Since I was a child it was so, and as I was reminded today despite the ocean view, and the happy children and the satisfied husband, so it will always be. Even when that husband was smashed in the face by a huge water bomb, it didn’t make me smile, just worried it had hurt him.
And as usual, though hubby knows the truth, I slap a big fake smile on for the children, and throw balloons and if I get mad I explain that “mommy’s just being silly” and if I storm away I am careful to tell them it is not their fault. It is not their fault that I was born. It is simply because of them that today I choose to stay alive.