I Love My Children But…

 

I have lost myself. Buried beneath piles of robotic motherly duties lay pieces of my former self. Some of those fragments are better kept submerged for fear of wreaking havoc on my ability to make rational decisions, however, most deserve to be resurfaced but never see the light of day.

     In nine years I have produced three children and they have produced a workload that has buried me nine-feet deep. Somewhere under afterschool activities, breaking up fights, patching the wounded and healing the sick is my energy, dreams and passions. Only in complete solitude can I feel them yearning to be recovered but I suppress them before guilt can set in. But recently, the moments of solitude have become more abundant since my youngest hopped on the academic bandwagon headed toward preschool, allowing those pieces to become a little louder, more persistent and gave them a boost to the surface. So, this leaves me with a question, can we be stay-at-home mothers and have our own individual identity? The answer – virtually impossible.

     Once a woman enters the world of the stay-at-home moms, she is unknowingly drafted into the Divine Silence of a Hush-Hush Motherhood. There isn’t a formal initiation and the secrets among the group are well kept – hidden deep within each member. Subjects like being unfulfilled, how mundane motherly duties can be and how we want to hide in a closet when we hear mom yelled yet again never pass our lips for fear of being judged or looked at as an unfit mother. It is an understood faux pas among the group to want something for ourselves. Of course we want our children to be happy, healthy and be successful but we should want the same for our own lives. To be examples to our daughters; show them that it is possible to be a mother and follow your dreams.

     If we broke the silence and spoke freely about how hard parenting really is there may be less episodes of Snapped and more mothers able to handle the tribulations of parenting. Now is the time and this is the place to unload, to reclaim our identity outside of being a mother, to make it acceptable to say, I love my children but I am unfulfilled. I love my children but I need to get away, I love my children but I think they may be out to kill me.

     In the memoir “Half Broke Horses”, Lily Casey Smith describes what is was like when both her children were finally in school and she began attending a local college: “I loved my time at the university and felt happier than I thought I had the right to be….I was learning about the world and improving my mind. I had no obligations to anyone but myself, and everything in my life was under mycontrol.”

      Let’s take control. The first step to finding ourselves again is to break the silence and fill in your blank; I love my children but…

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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rhonda Burkhalter
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 14:50:12

    Bravo Tori. You nailed it completely. Call it a bad day, call it PMS, call it emotionally over whelmed, it brought tears to my eyes. I love my children but, I want them to know who I am, not what I am. Who I am that they see everyday is a chauffeur, a chef, an educator, a housemaid, a shell of a woman who used to be so much more! My mom was not a stay at home, but she didn’t have a fulfilling career either. She was and is a laborer. I knew that I didn’t want that and I did want to raise my children. I want them to find value in what I do for them and the sacrifices I have made to give them what they need. I want everything that I have done to be something they can use to raise their own families. I don’t want them to waste the awesome potential that God gave them to make a difference in the world. Raising a child does make a difference, but I want them to be more.

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Aug 24, 2010 @ 15:23:16

      Thank you so much Rhonda. I feel the same way about wanting my daughter to see me succeed and help her on her journey as well. Keep visiting, I will have a new post every Monday. Hopefully by breaking the silence and demolishing the myths about stay-at-home mothering we will be able to fill that shell.

      Reply

  2. AJ
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 13:53:11

    I love my career too. Right now I am part time at my job to stay home with my kids most days. I am virtually a stay-at-home for 5 months of the year because I teach. I have become so disgusted with the “friends” I have who won’t be honest with me about the struggles of being a mom at home. It’s hard. If we let it, it can rob us of who we are. It doesn’t have to, but it’s hard to keep that from happening. I also love staying home. It’s a difficult balance that only honest mothers will face. I’ll just say it…if you are a self-righteous, “being with my kids 24/7 is fabulous all the time,” Betty Homemaker, don’t come knockin’ on my door. On the other hand, if you can admit that sometimes it just plain sucks, that you miss you who you used to be, that you sometimes long to be that woman again, let’s get a drink and chat.

    Reply

  3. AJ
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 13:54:57

    Another brief thought…while I’m teaching, I’m there two days a week. Very part time. And I went back part time because of the mom at home crowd. I couldn’t take them anymore. I needed to be friends with women who understand that their kids aren’t the end-all-be-all of the planet. Ok. I’m done now.

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Aug 25, 2010 @ 14:29:05

      A woman after my own heart! I understand completely about the mom-at-home crowd. You are going to love next weeks posts about the labels we stay-at-homers get slapped with. Thank you so much for commenting AJ, keep coming back and letting me know all the things you struggle with daily as a stay-at-home mom. By the way, I give the stay-at-home fabulous Betty’s plenty to talk about. For instance, I forgot today was early release day at school and almost forgot to pick them up.

      Reply

  4. Wendy Irene
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 01:48:09

    Finding activities that I find fulfilling has really helped my overall well-being. Blogging being one of them, and I am very glad to see you embracing it as well!

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Aug 26, 2010 @ 02:26:54

      Wendy,

      Writing is my passion. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I feel very blessed to have something that fills me up. If only I could make it a priority and keep it from getting buried again.

      Reply

  5. Lisa
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 02:06:00

    You’re right. It’s tough for me because I admit it freely and openly to my husband that as much as I love my baby boy (er, toddler, he is 15 months and walking everywhere), I am unfulfilled and part of me feels like a failure everytime I crack. I miss being “Lisa” sometimes. Not “Ben’s wife”, “Blake’s mom”, “student” or even “military spouse.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m honored to be those things and so grateful, but, there is a “Lisa” somewhere in me. It is especially frustrating and hard when he is gone for whatever reason and I am doing it alone. I’m always running, housework, schoolwork, playtime, mealtime, nap/bedtime. At the end of the day, I’m done and crash. Lucky for me, I have a very understanding, crazy helpful and supportive husband that makes it worth it.
    My fill in the blank-
    “I love my children, but, there is more to me”

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Aug 26, 2010 @ 02:57:35

      Lisa,

      This is exactly why I felt a need for this blog. There is more to all of us moms – we are just lost, buried or forgotten. I need to reclaim myself as well – this doesn’t mean I don’t like being a mom or my kids are neglected, it means that I need to be the best Torie I can possibly be. Having something that fills me up is going to make me a better person overall. Hopefully we can continue to break the silence and let those around us know the person under the mom mask.

      Reply

  6. Joanna
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 15:29:37

    Thank you for this. It’s great to know there are other moms who aren’t perfect and who *gasp* want more for themselves.

    I love my son, BUT my happiness matters too and sometimes I miss being a “real” person with hobbies and interests that might not fall into the perfect Susie Homemaker mold.

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Aug 26, 2010 @ 15:54:14

      Joanna,

      You’re right, wanting something for ourselves is a *gasp* subject but I hope to bring all the “untraditional” moms together on this blog to talk freely about how hard it is for others to see who we really are passed our children. And maybe, just maybe, we can get those Susie Homemakers to see our side of things and other mothers won’t be so afraid to go after what they want because of what the others will think.

      Thank you so much on commenting. Subscribe to the blog and tell me what you think about next weeks subject of the labels that are put on us.

      Reply

  7. Jazz
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 04:08:50

    I love my children but they need to know and understand that life is not always about them. As my husband and I raise them we remind them often that this to is our life, we have things we like to do and places we like to go. I adore my kids and as they have got older 7 and 10 things have got better. I remember being a stay at home mom and feeling very alone and overwhelmed at times. I am lucky to be in a career where I an home when my kids are out of school. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. It took time to get here. Let go of some guilt and do something for yourself, I have learned they will survive without you for a short time. But it is never easy to let go even a little bit.

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Aug 27, 2010 @ 12:05:01

      Jazz,

      The guilt and reminding yourself that the kids are going to survive if you work part-time. work from home or go out and do something for yourself a couple nights a week. It is awesome that you found that balance and your are right it is not easy to do. Thanks for commenting. I hope to talk with you again.

      Reply

  8. justaphillygirl
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 17:05:56

    Torie,
    Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! This post couldn’t have come across my laptop on a better day or time in my life!

    I, too, am a SAHM. I’ve got 2 boys, ages 6 & 4. They fill my heart daily! And I love my children BUT… the constant barrage of “Mom” all day log can make me crazy! We are dealing with some behavioral issues with the 6 yr. old and there are days when I want to lock myself in a closet with a BIG bottle of wine and forget he and his brother exist. I am SO glad to see that others see that this thought doesn’t make me a bad mom, but a mom who is human and has her limits.

    Here’s to the start of the school year, when THIS Mom gets her sanity back 3 mornings a week for 3 hour periods at a time!

    Thanks again for the timely post!! I really needed it!

    Phyllis from Philly

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Aug 27, 2010 @ 17:17:39

      justaphillygirl,

      It is my pleasure to be able to get moms together and talk about the hush-hush subjects in our lives. It thrills me that you found this blog at the right moment. We are not bad moms, we just say what all the other moms are thinking. The difference will be that we, who choose to voice the real issues, will stay sane.

      Hope you can make the most of your quiet time. I will be dealing with a lot of stay-at-home mom issues on the blog so I hope you return and keep commenting.

      Reply

  9. Michelle
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 13:01:11

    What a great post. I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that way. I LOVE my children, but I miss being ME. When do I get to be ME without feeling guilty about it? My boys are 11 and 8 and my daughter is 3. I haven’t been ME for 11 years, and I guess I won’t be for at least another 15.

    So who will I be at that stage? Will I even recognize myself? Will my kids grow up, go on Oprah and talk about what a terrible Mom I was? Will they want to model themselves AFTER me, or IN SPITE of me?

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Aug 30, 2010 @ 00:31:06

      Michelle,

      Thank you so much. I hope you can start feeling like yourself before 15 years. That is what I am trying to do in my own life and in this blog – to find me again. I have three children under 10 and I know how hard it is to find even the smallest activity to do for yourself but we are going to try.

      Keep coming back and together we will dig up the person we used to be no matter how deep she is buried.

      Reply

  10. Kathy
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 16:53:21

    I love my child but she drives me insane sometimes and the thought of just working a few hours a day out of the house makes me jump for joy. It is funny to think it has been 2 years since I have worked. I do worry that my daughter will be embarrased to tell people that I am a SAHM. It makes me mad that our society doesn’t hold SAHM’s up high and proud. Yet we praise the CEO women and working women. I do plan to go back to work once she is in school. But just not sure yet what I want to do. Let’s of options ahead of me to discover.

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Sep 03, 2010 @ 22:04:05

      Kathy,

      Working outside the home a few hours a day sounds great. I wish that society saw SAHM’s equal to working women as well. Like the Contemporary women’s Movement of the 60’s, we need a Contemporary Stay-at-home Mom’s Movement to make it acceptable for us to voice how we feel, want things for ourselves and make them see us as equal to the working mom’s. We all need to whip out our capes and show them how we fly.

      Reply

  11. fromvenus
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 07:13:08

    Hi Torie. I empathize you. Girl, recommending a book called, Everyone Is Beautiful by katherine Center. It’s about a stay at home mom who decided to do something for herself. You’ll like it. BTW, linking you to my new blog. See you!

    Reply

  12. Melinda
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 22:26:53

    I recently made the switch from SAHM to WAHM and my kids couldn’t believe I could do anything but clean. They were truly shocked! I have to remind them that I did have a life before them but they can’t comprehend that. Ha Ha…I always say my kids are out to kill, too..or drive me crazy.

    Reply

    • Torie Combest
      Sep 17, 2010 @ 22:59:59

      Melinda,

      My children are the same way. When I talk about writing my son always looks surprised. It drives me crazy that they think my sole purpose in life is to cook and clean for them. Thank you for the tweet and the link on your business site. I am very grateful for your support and I love your blog – I will be visiting it often.

      Reply

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