Some days I try to think of something to blog about and draw a blank. This is not one of those days.
Lisa at FMH is feeling some guilt that looks an awful lot like depression. I don’t know how she’ll feel about my seriously amateur diagnosis there, but I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em, and I think I’m not the only one. Lisa, I’m saying it out of love and sad experience here. Get some help.
At the same time, my friend Dana asked on our message board if she’s the only one to whom mothering does not seem easy and natural. Uh, NO! (Dana is so cool. If you need some fabulous custom-designed jewelry e-mail me and I will put you in touch with her.)
Between these two ladies I have come to respect and care about so much confessing their struggles today, I remembered a conversation I had with an old lady in our ward when Sam was 2 and Abe was a baby. (Remember, the worst time of my life?)
She asked me how we were doing, and I said something like, "Oh, we're having a lot of fun."
She looked at me very pointedly and said, "When my kids were little I was working hard and loving them, but I never would have said I was having fun. Nobody would have said that."
I have thought about her reply a lot since then and I think it is really true that now there is tremendous pressure telling us that motherhood should be all fun, "cookies and milk and yellow balloons." (Does anybody else remember that song from their old Brite music records?) And when we find out that it's not really that way, we start thinking the problem must be in us. When really it is the image and the expectation that are out of line.
It's such a shame that I felt like I had to pretend I was having fun, when really I was literally having a major crying jag (complete with vocal wailing) almost every day, seriously wondering if my 2yo was demon-possessed, etc. No wonder everybody thinks they suck. We all put such a good face on it when we're together. And it doesn't do anybody any good.
Four years later I think I am past the worst days of motherhood. To be excruciatingly honest, going to work has helped. Medication for my older son has helped. Time and experience and supportive friends and family members have helped. Professional help has helped, a lot.
Another old lady in my former ward said to me once, “Your son is going to grow up to be a bishop. Look at all his energy!” I think she saved my life that day because I was basically thinking at that point he was going to grow up to be a convicted felon, if he grew up at all.
Old ladies rock. I hope I’m a good one someday.