The feeling of panic creeped in as the day progressed. I tried my best to shove it down and ignore it. But it reared it’s ugly head with a vengeful force as I grabbed the keys off the counter top and got in to my car to go pick my kids.
Thoughts flooded my brain and my heart all at the same time and I couldn’t stop them from coming. Like a dam releasing water, the alarm had been sounded so you know it’s coming but you have no control over it whatsoever. ‘I don’t want to go. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be a mom. I don’t want to what…..? What is wrong with me? How can I feel this way after all we have been through? I’m horrible. This is so bad.’ Rewind. Repeat.
Seriously, I wasn’t sure who was driving to pick up the kids from preschool. I didn’t know her. The woman behind the wheel hysterically crying with an aching pit in her stomach that grew as the miles between her car and the preschool shrank. Yet, those were my hands on the wheel. And those were my swollen empty eyes staring back at me in the rear view mirror. Looking at me as a stranger would, with disgust and disdain.
Of course, there had been days before when certain thoughts flashed in to my head. ‘I don’t want to do this RIGHT NOW. I don’t want to have to be a mom TODAY.’ Those are typical right? Most moms feel this way at some point. Maybe it’s postpartum or sleep deprivation or raising a teenage daughter that triggers them. They are normal and on occasion may come or go. But this time was different.
The thoughts did not have qualifiers attached to them, such as: right now, today, in these circumstances. No, they were distinct with no end point. It seemed pretty cut and dry. I don’t want to be a mom. Plain and simple. And it was that simplicity that scared the hell out of me and brought me to hot burning tears I had not felt for a while.
Doing the only thing I knew to do I reached out to my best friend and fellow mom, Michele. As a mother of 4 whose oldest is 22, she’s done it all. I often rely on her for mom advice. I was so relieved to hear her say hello and I immediately poured my heart out. The beauty of a friend like Michele is the honesty that permeates our friendship. She knows all my secrets and can take anything I dish out regardless how ugly it may be. And she still loves me anyway. It is one of the true friendships I have that is completely non-judgmental.
I tell you all this so you will know that I held nothing back, didn’t sugar coat it or glaze over it as a mere venting session. No, this was I am in major trouble and I don’t know how to handle this. And her response, “Amy, that’s normal. I’ve done the same thing.” What? This was not the response I was expecting at all. Seriously? Maybe I didn’t explain myself well enough. I was just coming back from vacation. I had been gone for 6 days and didn’t want to go pick up my kids. I didn’t want to see them. I didn’t miss them. That’s far from normal.
But apparently not far from normal given my circumstances according to my friend and my life coach. As a single mom, my life revolves around them. I’m the sole caregiver. I’ve discussed it here many times before that it can be hard and lonely and frustrating. Especially knowing that their father is gallivanting all over Europe with his new girlfriend living a life of leisurely freedom. Please know before you send the hate mail that I do realize my life comes with amazing good times and many rewards that he will never know. But although we’ve hit a great stride in our new life, it is still quite lonely at times. As my coach put it, it is a life of deprivation. Not always, not completely, but in general.
I had just went from a life of deprivation to the extreme opposite on vacation: a life of abundance. My holiday entailed complete freedom with adult friends and activities to pick and choose at will. I had anything I wanted and no one required a single thing from me. WOW! Talk about a stark contrast in life. Here I was walking back in to deprivation and all that it entailed. No wonder I was having a moment of panic.
Michele told me to forget about it, get over the guilt, dry my eyes and go in to get my kids. So I did. And you know what happened. The minute I saw them running up to me yelling, “Mama, Mama!”, my heart filled and I was back. Back to my life of deprivation and thankful for it. Thankful for them. Their smiles, their eyes, their hearts and little hands. Oh every ounce of it was so precious.
I guess sometimes it’s hard to make a transition especially in extremes. Like going from Antarctica to the Sarah Desert, it requires a degree of mental preparation and transition time. I analyzed the thoughts and feeling too much through the lens of mommy guilt and the impact was exponential. My self-confidence and my love for them was falsely shaken by ME.
Reality is I love being their mom. I’m a good mom. I’m a hip mom. And I’m proud of that. I had just forgotten it for a moment.