I can't believe this thread's been going on for over 2 years and I've read ALL the responses. I wanted to put my story here. This afternon I just had another blow out with my husband about how much I hate being a mother. I have 2 wonderful sons, 7 and 5 years old, a handsome caring husband, a wonderful career, had a full-time nanny, live in a nice apt in Manhattan, have great friends, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I'm spoiled, I'm selfish, whatever--I totally feel for "unhappy mom". I have it all, but why am I so miserable?? I too fantasized for years about getting divorced, running away, disappearing, killing myself. Because despite the years of therapy and being on meds (they both saved me) being a mother is all about selflessness, humility, and letting go of control. All of which I struggle with daily. Some people have loneliness, financial and health problems, but what I deal with is the essential annihilation of my selfhood. I lose my cool, my good common sense, my authority when I am arguing with my sons about gloves, which toys to take, etc. I am also reduced to being my parent's good little girl when I am doing certain activities (like taking my sons outside in below freezing weather) because my husband expects me to.
Here is the elephant in the room. I've been with my husband since I was 20 years old. I never wanted to children but he always did. When I was 35, he pretty much laid down a veiled threat. He wanted kids or he would have to "rethink the marriage." Rather than letting him go, I agreed to have kids (I was madly in love him). I figured, I do a lot of things I don't necessarily want to do, but I adjust. What I didn't understand was that being a mom is a daily struggle for me, even after 7+ years. I LOVE my sons. I just don't love my life, or me, or my husband anymore. I try so hard to be a good mom, to avoid the mistakes my mom did, and if I were to see from the outside, I would say that I AM a great mom. But it is so hard for me to enjoy this process. Isn't that the difference between a lover and a whore--one of them pretends. I've never faked anything before but now I do.
Sometimes I can't believe this is my life--I am busy cleaning, wiping, brushing, putting on shoes, yelling, cajoling, threatening. My neighbors see me all dressed up to go to work like Im all put together but I know they heard me yelling at my kids and fighting with my husband last night. I feel like the dignity and self-esteem I worked so hard to achieve in my life are in shatters. I walked into motherhood fully knowing I did not want it, and now I am committed to it. I think people who "want" to be mothers are fooling themselves. Evolution does not make anyone want to be parents, it just happens because you have sex (or raped). You care about the environment? don't have kids!
My husband asked me yesterday if I had to do it all over again, would I have kids? No. Would I have married him? No. It just so happens that I had a tough week (Obama's inauguration notwithstanding)! Ask me another week and the answers might be different! Nevermind how having kids changed our marriage (or how it changed me).
A couple of days ago I had a break-through. I was coming from work, picking up the kids from school and resenting the hell out of the fact that I was not sitting in one of the swanky bars I passed by, sipping a cocktail. I had a tough day at work, don't I deserve a happy hour, maybe flirt a little with young men, etc? but no, the only young men I was going to see are my sons who will immediately demand things and turn me into a beleaguered middle-aged mom. I pulled up my sagging shoulders and smiled brightly into their faces, as if I were truly happy to start my second shift. Normally this "faking" would make me feel like a lousy mom for not really "feeling" it--the usual war between resentment and guilt. But I suddenly felt a surge of sympathy for this woman, who smiled for the sake of her sons despite all the roiling emotions. And all of a sudden I felt whole--my love for my sons and my compassion for me were one.
Despite my ambivalence (let's be honest--"repulsion") to motherhood, I think it will help me grow and my marriage to be more substantial. Isn't that why they call it growing pains? I am not sure I want to grow that much frankly (what fun is in that), but I walked into this and I am committed to walking out of it as a grown-up.
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