Lately, I feel as if I never see my daughter. I usually leave before she is awake, and pick her up somewhere between three and five p.m. depending on my schedule. She eats dinner around 6 and is usually in bed by 7.
Even on my days off, it seems like I don’t get the quality time I am craving. I am distracted by bills and chores and errands and stress about money and one disaster or the other related to my husbands illness. There is also the fact that I am severely depressed to factor in, so even when I am trying to play with her, my attention span is as short as my patience.
She senses when I am depressed and reacts to it. Badly. She always throws more tantrums and fits when I feel disconnected from reality or find myself wanting to cry for no reason. She doesn’t like it and can’t fix it, so she acts out. I remember feeling helpless when adults in my life were depressed. I know she is still really young, but I don’t want my moods to affect her like that.
I am surrounded by love and friends and family day in and day out and still feel completely alone. My husbands struggles make me feel like I have to be the strong one who never messes up, and that puts an enormous amount of pressure on me that wears on me day in and day out.
Today I am feeling caged. I am always taking care of Bri or my husband, catch the glass before it tips, distract before he panics, feed before she screams, hug before he yells. Always be everywhere at the right time and never ever ever show it when I am feeling weak.
Who catches the moms before they fall? Who soothes them before they scream or cry or refuse to get out of bed? Who picks them up when they stumble and kisses away their hurts? Who takes over and fends off the wolves when she needs to rest?
I have never felt so tired or worn down in my life. I am strong, stronger than I ever knew, but I feel as if for the last year, the universe has singled me out and sent stress after stress, struggle after struggle, disaster after disaster, flooding my way, and I am bailing out the boat with a teaspoon.
And now I feel as if I am failing my most basic duty as a parent: to spend time with my baby. My little toddler who loves me and wants nothing more than to spend the day playing with me, and I can’t buck up and find the energy to give her what she wants.
Today was my only day off this week. I got maybe an hour total of playtime with her. She learned a couple new words. She says “night night, “more,” “stuck,” and “cold” now. She can point at her arms, legs, belly, nose, hands, feet, toes, head (hair), nose, ears, eyes, and mouth when asked. She loves to twirl in circles, and she is becoming an avid book lover. She loves playing Peek A Boo.
She has a lot to say and I see her getting frustrated that we don’t always understand. It becomes a little clearer every day.
She puts stuff in the garbage when you ask her to, and sometimes when you don’t. I found a brand new package of Gerber Yogurt Melts in the trash today. Thankfully I was able to save them since the package was unopened, and it was sitting on top of clean grocery bags.
In short, she is beautiful and amazing and I am missing it because I am busy falling apart while no one is looking. And I’m going to blink and she is going to be thirteen and hating me.
All I want to do is be a good mother. If I fail at everything else, I don’t want to fail at that.