Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Reasons Why I Cried

Today, I had an ice cream sandwich for breakfast.

I reasoned that it couldn’t be that much worse for me than a sausage biscuit from McDonald’s.  And, I knew that the chocolatey goodness would heal what ails me.

Yesterday, my day began with an e-mail sent to my entire office from our boss.  She publicly congratulated the temp who has been working in our office for quite some time now for the fantastic improvements she had made on our website design.  Our old website, apparently, had been unappealing and not user-friendly, though this was the first I had heard those complaints from anyone.  So, I guess it fucking sucked secretly.  Guess who designed that website?  This was the first thing that made me cry yesterday.

I had lunch alone (as I usually do, but not by choice — by virtue of the fact that no one seems to eat lunch in my office except for me) and ordered a Reuben sandwich and a side order of sauteed Parmesan broccoli from a lovely organic/locally sourced cafe in our city.  When it arrived, my side order of broccoli included one floret.  ONE.  I finished my entire side order in one bite.  I didn’t have the energy to argue with the waitstaff or kitchen.   And, I was late for a meeting, anyway, so finishing $10 worth of food in fewer than 10 minutes was, I guess, a benefit.  But, later I cried because I hate feeling like I’ve been a victim.  More on that in another post, maybe, if I feel like telling you all of my dark, gloomy shit.

Please take a look at from which this photo was borrowed.

When I came home, it looked like a bomb went off in my house.  The kids had completely destroyed it.  The nanny had a very long day with my little monsters.  I absolutely don’t blame her for the mess.  But, I was totally deflated when I saw it.  And, within 30 seconds of coming home and seeing this, my dog went nuts-o at the front door.  An appointment I had scheduled was a half hour early.  She knocked on the door, enraged my mutt, woke my napping preschooler and subsequently walked into a living room that appeared to be inside of Tornado Alley.  I hadn’t even had a chance to set down my purse yet when this happened.  No, bitch, we didn’t say 5:00.  The appointment was for 5:30.  No, it is not okay.  I’m pissed.

I didn’t cry about it at the time, but I did a little later when the nanny left and I ended up cleaning spilled juice off of the side of the refrigerator.

Just as I was putting my oldest son to bed, then, sirens wailed outside.  Fire, EMS and Police flew through the intersection near our house in our neighborhood that might normally be referred to in short stories as a “sleepy little town.”  The usual peace of our community was interrupted by some major emergency that must have been only a few blocks away.  I don’t know what happened.  I bet my neighbors do, though.  They ran out of their house and looked down the street.  When they realized that the emergency situation was too far down the street to be seen from the vantage point of their patch of sidewalk, they actually got into their car and followed the last ambulance that roared by.

When I thought for a moment about how first responders run so bravely toward situations that others run away from (well – most normal people run away from things like fires, robberies, or natural disasters), I welled up with emotion.  I sometimes can’t believe that there are people in this world who dedicate their whole lives to a profession where they might lose their own, just for the chance of helping others in need.  It all seemed so…touching.  So, I cried.  Then, I laughed at myself for crying about that.  Then I cried again because I am so pitiful.  Then I laughed again because I was crying about being pitiful.

I realized that a nice glass of white wine would be helpful.  But, we were out of it.  Can you guess what my reaction was?

We hear a whole lot about Postpartum Depression, but I don’t think that anyone talks enough about how being a mother continually messes with your head.  Forever.

Mothers are constantly filled with fear that their children will come to harm.  They are saddened by the passing of time and they miss the times when their babies were babies.  Moms are continually surprised by how parenting can be difficult.  They deal with tantrums, illnesses, the heartbreak of watching a child experience heartbreak, the worry a child won’t fit in, the worry that a child will fit in with the wrong crowd, the concern that a child might not make all of the smartest decisions even though he’s been “raised right.”  Mothers worry about whether their children are being appropriately educated.  Are kids “liked” by their teachers?  Do they have learning obstacles or disabilities?  Are they being challenged enough?  Are they on the right path?  Will they be exposed to the best life choices?  Will they have all of the opportunities they deserve?

I feel every day as though I am just barely hanging on.   I wonder, though, how any mother is NOT suffering from depression and anxiety.  I think it might be part of the job description.  Consider this fair warning if you’re thinking of starting a family.  THIS is what they mean when they say, “Your life will never be the same again.”

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35 thoughts on “Reasons Why I Cried

  1. Oh, honey, I think we’ve been having the same few days. I’ve been doing a lot of the random weeping as well. We can do this. Probably. After all, there are many MUCH crazier/stupider/less competent moms out there whose children turn out okay. Right? We can do this. (Also, there is NO EXCUSE for showing up anywhere half an hour early. NONE.)

  2. Honey!!!

    Everything you wrote made me want to cry, too. If you had not broken down in tears after a day like that, I would think you were a robot.

    And the part about being a parent was beautiful and true.

    Hugs and ice cream sandwiches all around.


  3. After a day like that, I would certainly cry if the wine was all gone! (And I’m not normally a crier.) I agree with you, how do mom’s not break down all the time?!

    I may need an ice cream sandwich for lunch now.

  4. I came back from excessive frozen yogurt lunch (all chocolate! even the toppings!) to find an e-mail from my boss telling me, basically, that I had picked the wrong time to go to lunch (1 p.m.? Really so weird?) and that I should have known that I would be needed in the meeting that wasn’t about my project and wasn’t in my calendar because I wasn’t on the list of invitees.

    On an unrelated note, I love your blog design. Clearly.

  5. workingmommawithababy on said:

    I had a moment like this last week when one of my friends tried to excuse an out-of-town friend for not staying in touch. She told me, “you have to forgive her, she’s been busy getting her master’s degree at Harvard.”

    At that moment, I realized that many of my non Parent friends have no clue what it is like to constantly worry about a kid. It does change your life forever. I feel you on the heartbreak, influences, decisions, etc. and it’s all so hypothetical with a 13 month old, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still affected by it. Plus, not to sound bitchy, but I have a master’s degree too and my final thesis never woke me up at 2:30 in the morning puking with a 102 degree fever making me fear that it might need to go to the hospital.

    I think that moms do battle this stuff. ALL the time. I just think we need to be more open about it and support each other too. Thank you for sharing this. I hope you get some wine soon. 🙂

    • HA! My master’s degree never woke me up at 2:30, either! LOVE that…

    • I got a Master’s degree, too. Much easier than a child. On the other hand, I am even more amazed now than I was then by the woman who got her M.A. (and I think eventually her Ph.D.) while raising three young children.

      Seriously, my thesis took a lot of time, but it never stood on my lap and pulled my hair while I was trying to do something else.

      • workingmommawithababy on said:

        Agreed! I am amazed at people who do it all. Sadly, this is a person who believes that earning a Masters and having an impressive career is much harder and much more important than raising a child. My opinion is do what you will, but understand that both can be important, meaningful and hard to do.

  6. Oh yes, you speak the truth. Hang in there….you aren’t alone 🙂

  7. The other issue is that you are a woman therefore you have hormone fluctuations, too! That does not help the issue! I keep hoping that one day I will wake up and realized I didi not worry about my children once the day before. Maybe if I get dementia and forget I have kids that will happen….

  8. Thanks for stopping by my post, because it brought me here to yours. Seems we have a lot in common … but that’s just being a mom! Nice piece. I can relate to all of it. 🙂

    Also, could not agree with workingmommawithababy more. Whatever road each of us chooses, there is meaning and challenge. Neither is right or wrong, I believe. The sooner we all accept and support each other for whichever role we choose, the better for all. None of us need the “this is harder” judgement, heaped onto an already exhausting pile.

    Again, lovely piece. Well written and poignant. We’ve all been there, so it resonates.

  9. Bloody hell….am I the only bloke on here?

    Hiya, ODM. I followed you here from our place (The MadHatters). Not that I’m a stalker, or a dirty old man or anything. Hell no – my days of following random women about are finished; the electronic tag and the curfew saw to that.

    But seriously…. ish…well, sort of…..

    Every Mum (or should I be all American – when in Rome and all that – and say ‘Mom’) has the capacity to cry over things that don’t normally get cried over. On reflection, it might not be a bad thing if a few Dads did it as well. Just not in the pub, or at the football (that’s ‘soccer’ to you, I guess), after all we do have certain standards to maintain.

    Our two are now both in their twenties, and MrsN can blub at a memory or an old photo, or just the fact that they don’t live with us any more.

    Keep smiling.

    • You made me smile. Which, I might add, I actually do quite often…

      Anyway, thanks for the response. I agree that it must be a mom (or “mum”) thing to get weepy at random stuff. It might be refreshing to see my husband get choked up more often so that I don’t feel like such a basket case all the time…

      Just please tell me that things get easier when the kids are in their twenties. That would be good news.

  10. Jennifer Butler Basile on said:

    I “had” postpartum and always wonder why it seems that I’m still suffering from it. I think I’ve moved into that anxious/depressive mode of simple mothering. I totally relate to your post. And all your reasons for crying are valid – it’s a damn hard job.

    • It is a damn hard job, isn’t it? I feel like my own mom made it look so easy. I should hug her today because now I understand that it was never easy for her (and likely still isn’t) and I should appreciate how much harder it was, too, making it LOOK so easy.

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  12. Definitely felt the gamut of these emotions without going through half of what you did that day.

    Chin up, buttercup. There’s always tomorrow. (And you can stock up wine and ice cream sandwiches for the next rainy day.)

    I have to ask, do you like Cougar Town? It’s the perfect show to drink wine to (and it totally perks me up when I’m sad.)

    All the best,

    • Thanks for the comment.

      I have to say that I started watching “Cougar Town” early in the series and thought that it was dreadful. My husband stuck with it and swears that it is greatly improved. I never devoted the time to trying it out again. Also, I absolutely loathe that blond haired girl who used to be on “Dawson’s Creek”. I mean I just can’t stand the sight of her, so it makes getting into “Cougar Town” that much tougher.

      Maybe you and I should write a joint blog entry about great ideas for moms to de-stress, unwind, perk up and get drunk.

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  14. wish I could give you a hug – I have been there – no one said life was going to be easy – I wish they had – sometimes daily dealings are tough – depression is tough – hope things get better, but I have got to tell you – there are loads of ups and downs–I am at the almost empty nest stage, and looking back, do not know how I did it, but I did – and now I do not know how I will keep doing it, but I will

    • I try to hold on to every moment and every memory (good and bad) for when my boys are grown. I don’t want to miss a minute of living because I was too busy thinking about how hard this all is. But, it is hard, too, and I think it is good to acknowledge as well so that my own children will not feel as though they should be “better” at being a parent because we made it look so easy!

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