Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keep going; nothing to see here


There's this saying among law enforcement that graffiti is the newspapers of the streets.

I'll add to that.

This blog is the newspaper to my heart.

And last week I wrote a dark post that really was a call for help, a yearn for someone to reach out to me.

That post was ignored by everyone real in my life. No one called to see if I was OK. No one even e-mailed, as much as I hate email these days.

It's not the first time. In fact, just about every time I've written about how I'd love to have some company, some help, some support, a caring shoulder to cry on, my headlines go unanswered.

Family is still too busy to make time for us. The only company we have are from my mom's club.

I've even gone as far as asking people for specific help around our house only to be ignored, shoved off or offered some vague not really helping kind of help.

Today, I questioned my mental outlook as I cried, again, on the way home from the park this morning. The girls wouldn't leave; ran in different directions leaving my heart to leap with worry and fear, which always puts me on the edge. I am not strong enough, fast enough, smart enough to outwit them anymore. I don't want to be the mean mommy. I don't want to cave in to their every want either.

Everything is a battle right now. This age, this stage. From the second we wake in the morning to the second we go to bed. When I walk through the door I am not who they want to see. When we walk downstairs, being home with me is not where they want to be. They argue over what book to read, what movie to watch, who gets what toy, chair, shirt, car seat and which way I should drive when turning out of the driveway.

They cry for daddy, for the park, for a car ride, for friends and family who we rarely see and won't be seeing for a long time.

I'm not sure if this is the terrible twos or if this is just what life is going to be like. It's hard to see past my own tears half the time.

They only miss me when I'm gone and I'm never gone. Ever. Who can leave when there's no one here to stay?

The responsibility of trying to keep them happy, entertained, uninjured by themselves and by each other is enormous. Much, much more than I ever dreamed.

I could handle all of this if it weren't for all the crying.

It's the crying that tears me up; that makes me want to run. Some days it's constant. There are some days when nothing I do works.

I wanted to be their life, but it's clear I am not. They want the world and half the time I can't even afford to buy them lunch.

I am trying so hard to be a good mom, a happy mom. I truly am. And I hate it when people tell me to cherish these days -- as if I'm not, as if I'm trying to rush past it all. I'm not. Not at all. I'm just trying to survive each day with some sense of knowing I did an OK job today. That I'm not ruining them for life, that they will be proud to tell stories of their childhood.

Dan is taking a day off today (Friday) to offer me some help. I hope it doesn't ruin his chances of getting the job he's trying to get. Just to help me. Then again, he hasn't taken a vacation day since, well, I do not know when. A year perhaps. Too long. Way too long.

I am going to try and mother myself for at least part of the day. Because, I think, ultimately that is really want I need, a mother for myself. Someone who actually thinks about me, my wants and needs, my hurting heart, struggling mind and wavering strength.

Why didn't I get the memo? Why didn't anyone tell me how hard being a mom is? Why did everyone pretend it's so easy and perfect and wonderful? I might have been more prepared.

But, go ahead, keep walking. Nothing to see here. Really.

Just everything.



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26 comments:

The Myers Family said...

Oh NO! I didn't even read this post...for some reason i scrolled down some, to the other post. I know how your feeling. It's really really hard some days. My almost 4 year old has such a different personality from the twins. She is so laid back...of course she's 4 and loves to get in trouble..but she was never a crier. My twins can cry ALL DAY! I think if the crying stopped, i'd/we'd be ok. I can tell some evenings, my hubby even seems to almost loose it. He gets soo upset b/c we are lost and don't know what we're doing wrong. Having twins is really hard..having twins and no support is REALLY REALLY HARD! My heart breaks when i read blogs about families where their whole family is thrilled to pitch in and help. I haven't had one day away from my girls...EVER! No one has every offered to help out..watch them overnight...nothing! We don't get that at my house. My parents could care less about my girls..it's so bad that when they come over, it's like the twins don't even know who they are...and they live 10 minutes away from here. My one sibling i'm close to...lives on the other side of town and we do what we can to get her daughter who is Hannah's age, together for weekend play dates and sisterly bonding time(or should i say..hooting and hollering about our how sad we are that our parent's don't care about their grandchildren) time.
Anyway, i'm soo sorry about your day. Just know, you really aren't alone. Life isn't fair...You are a great mom and are doing a great job...and not everything is always going to be as planned when you have TWO/TWO YEAR OLDS! I hope your Friday is better...esp since your sweet hubby took off to help! That was so sweet of him! My hubby did that A LOT when the girls were babies and he'd be walking out of the door on the way to work and i'd just fall over on the floor crying! :) I think anyone who makes their lives out to be this perfect life with twins...is just full of it! LOL! It's not always perfect...b/c in a perfect world there would be no fighting, biting, kicking, lots of sharing, and i guess i could go on and on...but it's bedtime and my girls have been having some rough nights between runny noses and coughing all night, so i beter get some shut eye before they wake up crying!

Have a great friday!

Brenda

Jena Strong said...

Shawn: There's something to see here. I see you. I see you. I see you. I hear you. The crying gets me too, the crying and the meltdowns and the freakouts and the spills and the hair-pulling and the scratching and the fall-down flat one-disaster-after-another. Who are those peaceful angels sleeping? And what have they done with our girls?

Goddess in Progress said...

Ugh, so so hard! What an awful feeling to have, and even if I'm not feeling the same way at this very moment, I totally hear where you're coming from. This mom thing is so hard and so exhausting. The tank runs empty, but they still want/need more, more, more. In case you want suggestions:

1. Can you get a babysitter for a few hours a week so that you can slip away by yourself? Even just to take a walk on your own, go to the gym, or (as my aunt once did) take a nap in your car? I hired a college student for about six hours a week a few months ago, and it was really a lifesaver, refreshing to have the time away from the kids. Made me happier when I returned to them.

2. Is there a mom's group (twin club?) or class that you could get involved in to help with the actual parenting, maybe to get some emotional ("me too!") support and strategies?

3. If the crying is starting to feel out of control, I strongly recommend finding some counseling. You can find it in lots of different places (even just calling your local hospital), and at least some number of sessions are often covered by insurance, or there may be a sliding price scale if insurance doesn't cover it. I went through a really hard, unhappy, crying stretch a few years ago, and found it really helpful to talk to an impartial third party about what was going on in my life. Did it "fix" my problems? Not magically. But it helped me step back and think about what was going on and how to deal with it. Counseling, it's not just for crazy people! ;-)

And if those thoughts are off the mark or just plain don't feel right, then I simply offer my "I'm really sorry you're having such a rough time right now," and a virtual hug and pat on the back. It's so hard to feel like things are not what you had hoped. That you don't feel like the mom you wanted to be, even if it's a "normal phase." It still sucks.

Big hugs to you.

justagirl said...

I am sorry Shawn, I was one of the ones that said to cherish your time... easier said then done when your life is falling apart around you.

the first two and a half years of Hannah's life were the worst of mine... I went back to finish my degree at art school when she was two and a half and it saved me... I just wasn't ment to be an at home mum. But once I started back at school I realised that I was an even better mum doing this.

Hannah was excited to see me when I came to pick her up (except the few months when she cried and ran away from me, she was having too much fun) when I came to pick her up and I had time out for 6 hours and was I really happy to see her.

I know this probably doesn't help at all but...

I am really sorry.... x

kisatrtle said...

Shawn, While I do not have twins, I have three kids and at one point they were all under four. When my oldest was four, my middle was two and my baby was new. Proudly one day at the library, when asked what she would be when she grew up my oldest said, "When I grow up I want to do nothing, just like mommy." I nearly died. I was nursing, changing diapers on more than one kid, cleaning, wipping but after but, feeding, refereeing, you name it and my four year old saw nothing. I can laugh about it now, but man did that sting. People who don't stay at home can never imagine just how hard it is. How thankless, how lonely and how tiring. There are days that I feel completely spent by 9:30 a.m. My kids are now 9, 7 and almost 5 and today they were awake at 6:10 a.m. It's nearly lunch for us. I am not far from you both mentally and physically and if you ever want to meet at a playground just holler!

Dawn said...

Wow does this speak to my heart. How many times has my husband gone out of town in the past year and our good friends said they would check in on me, living right next door! and they never once called during an entire week. I too had no idea how hard this was going to be. How my ego was going to be stripped down to utter nothingness and left bare for these two little men to walk on. The phrase "it's not fair" comes to mind constantly, knowing how ridiculous a statement that is.

Know that you are heard and understood. I'll keep you in my prayers and may someone offer a little bit more then just ignore.

patriciadolan@comcast.net said...

Shawn,

You are heard, validated and accepted. It's a tough time for you right now. We are born into families, we can create our own families by enveloping friends around us. Cheers for you for writing it like it is, screaming it outloud if you have too. One of my favorite blogs is superherodesigns.com\journal, jenlemen.com and jengray.com. Check these out, the messages are so timely and affirming. I'm on your side.

Trish
patriciadolan@comcast.net

Kasie @ ~The Art of Life~ said...

We hear you Shawn! We see you! I wish so much that there was something I could say or do to help. I really do. If it's any comfort to you, please know that I'm thinking about you and praying for you to have strength. I completely understand your feelings. Please don't feel alone.

Karen said...

My little one,
You see yourself so clearly. You hear and you know. I love that you have glimpsed that parenthood is the opportunity to re-parent ourselves. The kids are kind of a foolproof distraction. Dan is doing what needs to be done, and so there will be no disastrous repercussion. You do what needs to be done, and you will be reborn. I think that your August is coming right on time and will serve everyone.

Michelle (The Beartwinsmom) said...

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! I have felt the same way as you do, and still have my moments of those feelings. I think it's multiplied when you're a mom of multiples (get the play-on words? LOL)

Anyway, I'm just an e-mail away if you ever want a shoulder to lean on or a hug. I once had two-year-old twins, and I remember that year vividly. It was one of the hardest parenting years of my life so far.

Gwen said...

I'm sorry that you didn't get the mothering you're needing. My twins are 13 months old, and I've said so many of the things in your post already. That they never miss me, because I'm never gone. Daddy's their favorite, because he's usually at work. And trying to keep them uninjured..and the crying (and whining especially, for me). It is the hardest thing I've ever done, motherhood, and I had no idea.
Hang in there, day by day. And know that there are others out here like you.

Shawn said...

Thank you -- all of you. I am comforted by your words and e-hugs and am taking it easy and realizing that I am not alone with feeling like this. Life is crazy and we just have to hang on (or, cry about it for a while) and then wait for the bounce back phase. I'll get there. I know it.

Justagirl: YOU DID NOT say anything wrong at all. Believe me. I've heard that from everyone. I value your comments here and never take offense. : )

Krissi from Krississippi said...

I lurk in your blog and have been on vacation away from my usual routines of browsing/reading/replying/commenting for over a week - but that is no excuse! I should've seen your previous post and offered what I can - my email, my support, my whatever you need. A hug, perhaps? *BIGBIGHUG*

You can contact me on my site (I'd post my email but I don't want it public) or AIM me misskrississippi - even though you don't know me, we are at least mothers and share something in common :)

Hang in there.

Krissy said...

I just couldn't read this without letting you know that I did. Your thoughts and feelings are incredibly raw, and real. I hope that tomorrow is better, that you feel some measure of peace, and that you know there are a lot of us out here who care about our fellow MoM's.

LauraC said...

Hey Shawn, I am really sorry to have been on vacation and missed this hard week. Just know I'm right there with you... I am taking some time to wind down from my vacation tonight and process my thoughts and am blogsurfing to help my mind wander.

Anyway one of my big thoughts after vacation (and trust me, I am so grateful to have people come to care for my kids for a week) is how I didn't really need to get COMPLETELY away from my kids to recharge. What I really needed was better balance, and to accept them as they are. There is going to be a lot of crying and fighting in my future and I've got to learn to accept my boys and their relationship as it is. I've got to learn to let the crying be what it is and not let it affect me the way it does.

I'm rambling, when really all I want to say is that I am here listening. And this mothering stuff is hard, hard, hard.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Shawn, it is so, so hard. As those old Police lyrics go -- you're not alone in being alone. I'm wiped at the end of the day from the bickering and crying -- and frustrated at not being the mama I want to be, not even knowing how -- especially now that the days are hot and long and the kids are home all day together.

And while I'm thinking about it, let me introduce you (if you haven't already met) to my friend Mama. You two seem to be in a similar frame of mind these days:
http://theelmowallpaper.blogspot.com/2008/06/alone.html.

marta said...

Sorry. And thank you for being honest. Motherhood is hard and they don't tell you. They don't tell you because they don't know or they're too afraid to admit it. My husband is baffled when i cry about motherhood. He thinks the solution isn't for him to do more, it is for me to think about it less.

Crying and having a bad time does not make you bad--or weak--nor does it make your fears come true. Easier said than done and certainly easier to give advice than to follow what we say.

Some moments I think my son and I have a wonderful relationship. Other days I think I've damaged him for life and he will hate me when he's a teenager. I don't know.

And I only have one.

This is also why I work. I love my child, but if I had to be EVERYTHING all day every day, I'd surely do something crazy.

Find the person you can talk to here. Here or wherever. Please take care. You're important.

Threeundertwo said...

I'm so so sorry about all this. You have my email, please contact me any time.

This is the hardest stage of all right now. I thought two was much more challenging and exhausting than infancy. I can't even remember how I got through it, but I did, and the other side is a much better place.

One of the precepts of cognitive/behavioral therapy is a list of pleasant events -- 20 or so thing that you can find that lighten your mood. Anything. Reading humor blogs, drinking your favorite tea, whatever works for *you*. Make a list and work every day to do at least 5 or 6 of them, or more. Make yourself do them. Really helps. There's a great book out there called "Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy." There are simple things you can do to help yourself.

It's a tough time, no denying it. Take care and keep blogging.

Claroux said...

Once again I am amazed at how you put onto "paper" exactly what is in my head. I wish I could find the words to so clearly explain what my life is like. You amaze me! Is it OK if I put a link to your blog on my new one???? I won't even say "keep your chin up" because I know how much I HATE when people say that sort of thing to me. Just keep talking about it and making it real. hopefully people will eventually get the idea of how HARD this twin mommy thing really is. You're awesome...

InTheFastLane said...

I am sorry you are struggling right now. I do have to say that some of it is the age of your girls. It IS a hard age. And you have two of them. I hope you can get more days to help heal yourself.

bella said...

Oh Shawn,
I've been in this weird weepy place the last few days and then coming here, reading this, well, in its own strange way it feels like having a companion.
Honestly, I always feel a little reserved when saying to you that I feel for you and know it is hard. Because I've just got one kid, and lets be honest, its not as hard as two. :)
And. I will say that the part of me that feels all this with just the one, well, its here reaching out to you.
I don't understand how people don't lose their shit. Kids are so small, and yet so powerful in the buttons they can push.
I'm glad to hear that you know what you need, have that clarity. and this is such a tender, human awareness, when we know we need a mother, to be mothered.
I hope you are receiving just this from yourself this weekend.
I wish I was there, closer, to offer it in person as well.
Sorry this is so long.
I see you.
I love you.

jen lemen said...

shawn,
when my children were little like this (and mind you i did not have twins!) every single day was an incredible struggle. i fantasized often about leaving them and starting over. many, many days i could barely breathe from the weight of my own expectations of myself as a mother and the constantness of my responsibilities. over time, i learned how to run away for just a day and made a small career out of finding the credit card that could take my impromptu stay in a cheap hotel. it was the only thing that kept me sane and held me together til i could think clearly again and start creating a deeper life that could sustain me and all the pressure of parenting. it was during these years that i began to write and also to paint. i marvel now at how every single thing i created during those days was a seed for something great later in my artist life. i have so many desperate stories of totally losing it, things were so hard. i couldn't believe it could get better at the time and wanted to punch in the face anyone who suggested things could improve. truly. everything was just too hard. i say all this as a way of saying i'm so sorry it's so hard right now and that you are not alone.

Rochelle Buckley said...

Hi Shawn,

I am sorry to hear of your heartache. Although I do not have twins (but there are several twins in my family), I can understand your feelings of lack, frustration and sadness. I cried for years because I was decieved in believing that I was such a bad mother. Sure I make mistakes (and sometimes some huge ones) but My children still love me.
Someone said something to me one day which I still cling to when I start to doubt myself as a mother. I will pass it on to you and I pray it will help you as much as it did me.
Shawn, God would NEVER have given you your twins if he knew you couldn't handle them. You are the best mother in the world for your children. There is no one else like you and ONLY you were chosen to be their mother.
I know how hard it is, believe me. I remember begging my mother to have me committed one day because I believed my children had sent me mad.
Shawn DO NOT QUIT. take the time EVERY single day to write down in front of you a list of things to you are greatful for, even if you do not feel greatful at the time, do it anyway. Speak positive thought, even if you do not feel like it, sooner or later your feelings will catch up. In your greatfulness list start with something simple, like today I am greatful I have a roof over my head. Today I am thankful of greatful that I have two healthy eyes to see my beautiful children. Today I am greatful that the sun is shining outside and I am free to enjoy it. Today I am greatful I have a partner who goes to work to provide for his family. Today I am greatful for a warm, soft bed to sleep in.
Shawn, it is when your are feeling your worst and you do not feel like being greatful that you really need to be speaking positive words and thoughts. Keep pushing through and soon your feelings will follow.
This was suggested to me several times and I dismissed it. I wish now I had listened sooner. It works.
I hope this has helped you or will help or encourage you in some small way.
Remember, you are the only one chosen as the mother of those beautiful children, you can do it. Believe in yourself.
If you ever would like to speak to me, you can find me at http://rochellebuckley.blogspot.com/
All the best Shawn, I pray for a peace to come around you.
Blessings
Rochelle

maiahs_momma said...

I too know where you are coming from, and I too do not have twins but I do have 3 children under the age of 6. My middle son we are in the process of getting him assessed for some developmental/behavioral issues (the dr's think it might be Autism or something on the Autism spectrum). My heart does go out to you, I totally know where you are coming from for sure. I have spent many a days crying for how hard things have gotten, or just how hard being a mom can be. BIG HUGS to you, I too am sorry that I missed your "dark post" or I would have written you sooner. You aren't alone, there are lots of us mom's out there who feel exactly like you do or are going through what you are.
One thing I have made a pact with myself about is to make sure I have some quality "me" time. Whether it be going out for a coffee drive through, or once the kids are in bed do something crafty (like make cards). I read a book, or magazine, I treat myself with something I can snack on too while I am having this "me" time. You don't have to go out to have "me" time...bubble baths are also good too :)! But as a stay at home mom I feel that "me" time is absolutely essential, it gives you a bit of time to recoup/re-energize. It is good for you to do this for yourself, it is good for your family that you do this. You go back feeling good, sure it doesn't fix all problems but it enables you to go back to being a mommy rejuvenated a bit.
The other thing I highly recommend just going to a local playground and meet some other moms, that is how I met some of my friends when I moved to the area I am in now. There are usually lots of other mom's around there and they just might be feeling like you are.
There also might be a "mom's group" in your area too, like at a church..if not why don't you start your own? Just an idea...
Do you have any family around?? Anyone you can ask to sit for a few hours?? Why you ask, because you my dear are in serious need of down time...you time. You are in need of some time to do something alone for a few hours...you don't have to go shopping. Go for a walk somewhere, goto a coffee shop, a museum...

So in case you would love a shoulder to lean on, or just another mom to chat to...I am going to give you my e-mail addy (catlevy@eastlink.ca) so you can write me anytime.

HUGS,
catherine
www.mystampinggrounds.blogspot.com

writermeeg said...

Oh, Shawn, I'm so sorry I haven't visited in a while. I am sending you such big hugs. I do think it's the age, too, as I've taken to calling my DD (your girls' exact age) "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary." The development of will in our children is a powerful and immensely frustrating thing for we moms. NONE of us handles it all perfectly or gracefully. I can't imagine two of my little one right now, and with a husband who hasn't taken a day off in a year.

You are carrying a lot, but you are so smart to write it out, to call out here, to ask for what you need. It will come. We are here listening.

The comments here warm me, too, and got me thinking about how other generations of mothers must've felt this way but had nowhere to share it. We have this space. You have it. Keep using it. Hear the voices here, of other moms who have gotten through it (thank you all!), and those of us in the thick of it with you.

Sending much love and hugs, and hope things have brightened just a little with the weekend...

Peace, My Friend, Megan

Jozet at Halushki said...

Shawn -

I sent you an email. Let's get together this week, yes? Either with kids or without.

It's hard. It's so hard. I know that you love your kidlets to death, and I also know that feeling of wanting to be the best possible mom, but feeling as if my talents, my smarts, my energy...it's all failing me when it comes to this "job". Be easy on yourself during the rough days, even when they come in quick succession. It will get better.

But yes, it is hard.

Call me, please? We need to get together.