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When Being a Mom Feels Like Being in Prison

 

There have been a few times in my motherhood journey that I’ve actually wondered if it wouldn’t be more peaceful in prison.  I could read books uninterrupted.  Write letters.  Sure, I wouldn’t have my freedom but I don’t really have it now and I’m fairly certain that in prison there is nobody constantly yelling demands at you while you tirelessly and breathlessly work towards fulfilling the demand before that one.  Plus, the sleep deprivation.

Ok, I know that sounds terrible.  But have you ever hit that point?  That point where you literally feel like you are being driven mad?

When tantrums drive you over the edge
In one famous incident, my kid screamed for almost half an hour because I wouldn’t let him have chocolate bars for lunch.  Yes, I told him we could have some for dessert.  Yes, I offered a small piece as a compromise.  Yes, I empathized with him.  I stayed close, hugged him, picked him up…. until his repeated screaming of “I WANT CHOCOLATE I WANT CHOCOLATE” began to cause me to start half-laughing and half-crying, because I just didn’t know what to do.  I put him down and he started to scream that I pick him up.  Then, I tried to walk away to take a breath and he took hold of my leg and wouldn’t let go.
He did eventually calm down.  But I’ll remember that one for a long time… maybe forever?
When going to sleep feels like work… you hate
For the first year and a half of my sons life I dreaded every single night like a job I hated.  This was mainly because I knew I wouldn’t sleep well and that there was a good chance I could wake up in the morning and sob from the frustration of not being able to connect more than 25 minutes of sleep.  The days would drag on, and I was not a very fun mommy because I was constantly so tired.
A year on, I still somewhat dread it on the days I’m tired but it’s not as bad, and now daddy can finally sleep with him some nights and I get a break.  I actually look forward to sleeping again sometimes!
The understanding created by adversity
It’s after tough moments I have come to understand how can be that some mothers or caregivers have done some pretty awful things when under the stress of caring for little ones.  I get it.  It can feel like your life has become your own personal prison cell with no escape.

As a fairly well-supported mom, my difficult moments make me grateful (well after, obviously not during).   These moments also illuminate the difficulty that so many others must face, particularly those with less support – either in the form of family, friends, or spouse.

When motherhood starts to feel like a burden, that’s when support is most crucial.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The village is crucial.  We weren’t meant to do this alone.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed on a more constant basis, it might be time to visit the doc.  They might be able to refer you to some support groups near you.  And always remember: it does get easier.  We’re all in this together.

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