I make light of things like getting interrupted every couple of minutes, all day, every day; and having a child who needs less sleep than me. The reality is that lately I want to pull a Forrest Gump and take off for a run and keep going for a couple of years.
I want to run away.
Not permanently, but for a good, long time.
My situation is somewhat extenuating, but I believe many of my mom friends would say the same.
So many of us are tired, burning out, clinging to frayed ends of what once was a rope.
I wonder if moms have felt this way for millennia, or if this phenomenon is new. Are we restless by the nature of the job we do, or is there something about 21st century parenting that takes a greater toll on a woman’s wellbeing? Is it social media that tells us every day how trapped we are, or would we feel trapped anyway? The flip side of social media is the blessing of connections with my fellow frazzled moms. The solidarity I feel with other women parenting kids with complex health or behavioral issues gives me outlets I would otherwise lack.
Maybe it’s a product of feminism, seeing our peers in the workforce doing things that look more meaningful or rewarding. Have we lost our sense of purpose because it appears that everyone else’s purpose is superior to our own?
Or maybe there’s something wired into our children that make parenting more demanding, I have no doubt that’s the case with Ben. Many children who wouldn’t have survived infancy a century ago now live many years with need for extraordinary measures of care, which, of course, generally (though I realize not all cases), the bulk of which their mother manages. While this is a marvel of modern medicine, something to be celebrated, it has created a new breed of caregiving parents without adequate supports in place to ensure that the caregivers can manage the extraordinary degree of care their children require. The physical requirements of lifting children long after the days when a parent would normally be done picking up and carrying children can lead to painful, tired bodies. Adding in the economic strain that constant medical care miles and miles of driving put on caregiver families as well as many additional pressures and strains, and you get a quick snapshot of the reasons that caregiver parents get overextended.
The factors are likely interwoven and complex, far more than a single blog post could successfully extrapolate, and it’s entirely possible that moms have felt this way for time immemorial, I don’t know.
I do know that many of my women friends are feeling this too. I don’t know what to do about, or how to change it, but dear mamas feeling like you’re never enough, like you’re desperate to bust out, cut lose and reset in every possible way, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, I hear your cries and cry with you.