Last night I was inside, by myself, cleaning up the kitchen after a long day of work, the rest of my family was outside enjoying a beautiful summer evening. And that’s when it struck – that alone feeling.
Can I just have one minute ALONE?
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve yearned for just a few minutes to myself. My normal day starts with the kids, ends with the kids with the middle full of managing people, projects and problems all day. (Funny, that sounds oddly like kid stuff!)
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and the chaos they bring, and I love my job and the chaos it brings, but they are both full time jobs! Exhausting, full time jobs.
Is it any surprise that occasionally, I just want five minutes to myself? Is that too much to ask?!?!?
And last night, I got those five minutes, and I hated it!! Likely because I was still working (like I had all day) and they weren’t (and hadn’t, all day). Suddenly, I felt very lonely and very alone.
Alone with my thoughts, it hit me; I had felt exactly the same way earlier in the day, but that morning I wasn’t alone…at least physically.
Alone but not lonely
My hubby and I have been walking every morning, 45 minutes of time all to ourselves. Our best conversations happen on these walks. But from time to time, those conversations turn to our worst arguments. And those arguments almost always are about the same thing…disciplining our kids.
Discipline is hard. Really hard, but almost fucking impossible when we don’t see eye to eye. Which we don’t sometimes.
I’m a tough love Momma (he would disagree) and want to collaborate on decisions and make sure we’re disciplining firmly but thoughtfully. My hubby, he leans more towards a dictatorship (and I mean that in the kindest way), but it causes issues between us.
Yesterday morning, the discipline issue raised its ugly head and like what frequently happens, we were disagreeing and our communication was falling apart. And I did what I frequently do, I shut down. Not because I wanted to, but frankly it was just easier. But it felt like shit.
I realized later…I felt alone.
Alone, like a woman stranded on an island by herself.
Alone, like a woman on the swings all by herself.
Alone, like a woman on the outside.
How is that possible? I have a full life, I have a great job, I have a great family, I’m never alone, how can I feel alone?!??
Maybe it’s that feeling of doing it all myself…
Which I don’t. My hubby does tons around the house. Cabinets need scrubbed? It’s probably him doing it. Floors need done? It will be him. Edges of the lawn need dug out? Him for sure. Dinner? Usually him. Oh and he vacuumed our bedroom today…see what I mean? He’s a helpful hubby.
So, why do I feel alone in this kid venture sometimes?
The Kid Stuff is All Yours
Hubby grew up in a very traditional household, Dad worked and Mom did all of the kid stuff ; Dad ruled with an iron fist…his Mom, watched.
Not quite my upbringing…yes, my Dad worked and my Mom didn’t, and my Mom did shoulder most of the kid stuff, but my Dad was definitely present in the kid stuff. Maybe not as much as my Mom would have liked, but he did coach softball, play games, and help with homework, their discipline firm but supportive.
When my hubby and I talk about our own family, our parents inevitably enter the conversation. His Mom did all of the kid stuff so it’s been ingrained in him that it’s my job. I’ve taken that job on, and most of the time, I don’t mind a bit. But it’s another full time job, and sometimes, I need a hand.
And he does lend a hand. In fact, he does a lot. I had a revelation recently, my hubby, he’s really good at doing the “nice to do” stuff, the projects and chores that makes our house stand out from the rest. But the “have to do” stuff, the day to day shit that keeps the wheels on our bus, that’s all me. Mainly, it’s the kid stuff, but recently it’s way more than that…not only is it managing #3’s stuff, it’s managing the big kid problems, it’s managing hubby’s stuff, the house stuff, the finances, not to mention my own stuff…man, who knew there was so much stuff?
Maybe that’s it…that alone feeling stems from having to handle all of that stuff and not feeling supported. Feeling like I’m alone with my thoughts on discipline, feeling like I’m alone in making our family run, like I’m alone supporting everyone.
Why it’s my own fault
Admittedly, I own some of it, lots of it. Remember that Supermom persona? That woman who can do it all? The one who doesn’t say no because she wants to do it all? That strong, independent woman who doesn’t need anyone? Oh yeah, that’s me.
I’m proud as hell of the Supermom that I am, but damn, it’s hard. It’s rewarding as hell, but some days, it’s lonely. It’s lonely feeling like I’m going at it alone.
But on the days I truly reflect on it, I recognize I’m not going at it alone. It just feels that way because I haven’t defined for others what helping me looks like.
Worse, I haven’t asked (at least in recognizable ways) for it either.
So, I’m adding something to my to do list, yes another thing. I’m going to find little ways to ask for help because the reality is, I can still be a super mom without doing it all by myself!
And you know what? If I can actually do it, if I can actually bring myself to ask for (and accept some help) I bet that feeling of being alone will slowly melt away….
And you know what? I’ll still be a Supermom.