The 95%

Hey there friends,

I didn’t mean to alarm anyone. I’m doing fine, really. My thing on this blog has been to really bust out the shit that everyone feels and no one says. I give it to you straight. But since we are not together in real life, you don’t get to see the whole picture, just whatever extreme words I offer up on a given day.

Those words were all true, but only one piece of a big whole. You know how the acute emotionality of pms can make true things unbearable, wash away the good stuff and leave you just wallowing? The pain is real– the depression, disappointment, disillusionment is every bit true– but the enormity of it is false. That’s how it goes in the low times for me, be they hormonal or not. My heart takes out the little slivers that have been rubbing wrong in my otherwise very satisfactory life, and climbs into that raw hole, surrounded complete. The 95% goodness of life falls away and the 5% misery engulfs.

When I wrote that last post, I was actually already moving up, out of my hole. I can’t write from down in there in fact. I’ve tried a few times, it’s shit. But I needed to process it before it receeded, and also… I want to give you all the pieces of this weird gig, including the times I hate the job and doubt myself. I feel like that is an essential part of championing motherhood and housewifery– being honest about the whole goddamn thing. Ugly bits and all. If only we all knew how much we all struggle with life! Then maybe we wouldn’t have this ridiculous expectation for bliss and perfection that is really in fact the root of my particular turmoil. Nobody needs help to get through the happy times.

So, yes. I struggle. I get through. I keep on. As one commenter said about her own experience of motherhood, many years past, “I fell down got up fell down got up fell down got up and they were raised.” Amen to that sister.

I do feel like this last fall is a big, important one. A turning point maybe. The fact that my life is only 5% misery, the fact that bliss and perfection are mirages, doesn’t mean we should disregard that intensified emotion of hard times. I think of those times as lenses into an otherwise hidden world within myself. Not very fun to look at, but too important not to look at. Those emotional lows are my truthing points, and I’d better buck up and take heed.

Although life is complicated, and I can’t expect to fulfill my wildly high expectations, I do need to stop shelving myself and my goals. It’s not helpful to anyone. It’s the same old martyr bullshit that I am always fighting.

But. Let’s get on to that 95%, eh? That last post was written, not coincidentally, at the beginning of my true break. Christmas done, mother gone, flu averted and My Man still has another week before school starts. It’s just the sort of miracle I needed. I have had a few afternoons to myself already, and this morning begins a pre-arranged two whole days of bonafide vacation from mothering. Morning till night, two days in a row. All me.

It feels almost sinfully decadent. No, in fact it feels fully sinfully decadent. I had to force myself to take it since after my few afternoons I was already feeling so much better. Good thing I asked ahead for this weeks ago, locking myself in.

This morning, in the wee hours of dawn I crept out of bed. Alone! I quietly pulled on my clothes, packed a bag with entirely grownup things like books and computer, and stole outside. Sunday morning, no one out except the paper man. I rode my bike, no trailer attached, to the bakery and sat quietly ruminating over coffee and croissant. I have a sushi date with two dear friends for lunch, and the rest of the day deliciously empty.

And tomorrow too? My lord, what will I do with all this time?

9 thoughts on “The 95%

  1. I really appreciated the honesty of the last post. I’m sure we all feel that way sometimes, but are afraid to say anything. After a year and a half of it, I am really starting to realize how much you give up to be a mother. It’s hard. Kudos on all your hard work and your honesty.

  2. I am so happy you do share the dark hours. Seriously, I have learned the hard way to ask for help and take a few hours once a week to just do something for myself. It’s like scheduled dates with the man. I loathed the idea, until we went months without talking uninterrupted. Then, yes, we’ve started spending time alone together twice a month and it makes all the difference.

    Enjoy the day, and make plans for more time do just be:)

  3. I am just it the middle of a big wallowing session and fell better to hear the eloquent way you describe it rather than the bluuegh whic is the best I can do!

  4. Thank goodness. I was worried about you. Yep, that rollercoaster ride of mothering (of life), what goes up must come down, but thankfully it works the other way too. Sometimes a simple break can give a whole new perspective, and you will come out of it refreshed and ready to take on the world again… you’d never go down without fighting anyways. Now, while the kids are away, unplug the TV, put it in a cupboard and set up a craft area or something instead. Go on, I dare you. You can get out of the vicious DVD-slump circle that I know you don’t like & feel guilty about. You’ll have the energy to tackle it now. Or not. Just soak up the goodness of the next couple of days without anything to think about but yourself.

  5. Oh delicious, 2 whole days! It’s almost beyond imaging :-)

    It’s good to know the misery is only perhaps 5%, but you’re right, I think, it does still bear close listening to. And, I for one, definitely appreciate you sharing it.

  6. Honestly I didn’t find that last post so much worrying as I felt it validated what I feel part of the time. The reality is that I love being with my children even though I fail miserably at how I envision myself parenting much of the time. But… I long desperately for the ability to do my homemaking without interference. I don’t want, and really haven’t in years, an outside job. I feel like I do the most for us by being here but it is so much harder with children in the picture. Add to that the fact that I am by nature a solitary creature and it can be a recipe for total crazy-making. And yet, I have chosen to homeschool for a number of reasons and I try to remind myself when I feel so very frustrated that this interference is also their introduction into making a life for a family. It doesn’t always work but it does enough of the time that I keep doing it. So thank you. Thank you for being brave enough and eloquent enough to put into words what, I think, many of us feel but are unable or unwilling to broadcast to the world. The rosy happy picture of family life may give us something to aspire to but I think they often make us feel like there is something wrong with us for not feeling the joys of motherhood and family life around the clock.

    1. thanks for taking the time to leave your comment heather. knowing that my writing helps even just a few mamas out there feel just a little less alone is what makes it all worthwhile!
      that, and the more selfish fact that having a space to put it all into words and folks who respond with their own thoughts keeps me sane…

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