As parents we are supposed to love and adore our children. When people cause harm to their children we all shake our heads and wonder how they could do such awful things to the littlest people. We question those moms who could pack their bags and leave declaring with absolute certainty that, "I could never ever".... We roll our eyes and snap to judgement questioning how such people could ever be able to have children when there are so many people who would make incredible parents struggle to have their own kids. We do so without hesitation, without reservation, with our superior arrogance and I believe we do so without ever taking a breath to wonder what their story is. For a person to harm a child there has to be some underlying issue doesn't there? Maybe the mom who walks away from her kids is really the better mom because she knew if she stayed she may harm her kids or herself. Maybe, there are some who are just horrible people.
I remember the first time I was told "I'm not your friend anymore". My almost 14 year old son was probably three when those words came flying out of his mouth and I remember having to maintain myself and fight back the hurt so he couldn't see he hit me and hit me hard. By the time my fourth child told me this same phrase I had developed the ability to carry on as if the words were never said or when feeling a little sassy could respond without hesitation "oh well" or "I have enough friends" or "well, you're not my friend either"! I would always giggle a little when the rebuttal would be something along the lines of "that's not very nice". Of course as a parent we also hear the lovely words "I hate you" or "you're the worst mom/dad ever". Each phrase stinging a little less every time it is stated.
What happens when the sting that has been gone for so long starts creeping back into our lives? When we've reached that point where we are able to carry on and the words bounce off us do we stay there forever? Well, no. I think if we are all honest with ourselves we can say there are times when the words do hurt, when we think, "Seriously, could you appreciate me for 30seconds once a week". I am at that place in my life now. I am at a place where every single day I find myself taking more and more deep breaths forcing myself to remember that they are kids and that is their job. I find myself almost daily thinking how easy life would be if I packed my bags and headed to Fiji where I could sit and sip margaritas all day with not a care in the world. I find myself understanding the parents who I once shunned for leaving their kids. I have been defeated. My kids, my husband, my life has defeated me.
I find myself watching the clock daily, dreading the stroke of three because that means the two younger ones will be home and the "you suck" will begin. The other day I seriously, stood in my doorway and watched the girls walk up the yard from the bus and smiled and said, "Hi, how was your day". My 7 year old looked at me and proceeded to yell at me-I literally looked at her and said are you serious and turned around and shut the door. Yup, I shut the door on my girls. Today, she walked in the door and before even saying hi she yelled at me because there was no food in the house. Normally, these incidents seem small but right now all day everyday multiplied by four I feel like each insult, each yell, each scream, each temper tantrum, is like a hammer pounding me down and now I am just a blob of squishedness on the floor. I know at 3pm things will start and I know at 4pm they will get worse. The older kids will be home which means the eye rolls, the mumbling, and of course they will start picking fights with each other and go out of their way to aggravate the younger kids. My once peaceful environment is filled with yelling and screaming for 5 hours straight. I know, I know that is just part of being a parent. This I know and this is something I've always accepted but it is worse then that now.
I find myself withdrawing into my own space, becoming obsolete in my own home, fading into the background because if I don't I will get ugly. I take responsibility for the shift in my home. Three years ago I started letting the kids do and say basically as they pleased because in the grand scheme of things rolling the eyes was small potatoes. I began catering to them and giving into them-my entire parenting style shifted a little and when I started to realize what I was doing, the damage I was causing it was as if there was no turning back. Despite my best efforts, despite pulling on the reigns, despite my efforts to bring everyone back to reality and the way things are supposed to be it was too late and the kids were lost. I didn't give up, I kept at it, I knew this could be undone and three years later I still think this. Sadly, I no longer have the energy. I no longer have the strength. I am tired of dealing with everything. I am tired of all the negativity. I am tired of hearing you are no longer my friend. I am tired of being told I am the worst mom ever. I am tired of hearing how little everyone has. I am tired of hearing much better lives would be if I weren't here. I am tired of being a door mat. I am tired. I am defeated. I-AM-DEFEATED.
I wrote that portion about a month ago and decided it sounded more like a pity party than anything and that I would come back to it or ignore it all together. I still feel defeated. I still feel this hollow emptiness and can't find joy in anything. I thought it was because Liliahna had passed and I still struggled with her loss. I wonder now if it isn't so much her passing but a series of decisions I have made in my lifetime that have lead me here, to this place I am at right now. I believe her passing played a role in this but to place it all on that traumatic event is not fair nor is it right. I once said I had no regrets because every decision had lead me to where I was. I am older now and yes, I do have regrets. I do have a long list of things I could have done differently and should have done differently. There are decisions I made, things I did despite knowing at the time those things, those decisions were wrong. I was hopeful it would all work itself out, but it never did. One tries to be strong, one tries to fight back, one tries to put on their big girl pants and deal with it, but sometimes it doesn't work. I have lost my strength and my will. I am trying everyday to take in and enjoy the little things to find that joy that seems to have disappeared. Letting go, moving on, forgiving oneself and others, is not nearly as easy as all those encouraging quotes and posters makes it seem. I am defeated and I for the longest blamed that on my kids and my husband, but today in this moment I know the person who has beat me down the most is myself.
I dream daily about packing my bags and sneaking out in the middle of the night. I wonder if I would even be missed. I feel a small part of me understanding how parents can and do walk away from it all-that feeling of hopelessness can be all too consuming. For now I'll hold onto the snuggles I get, the "did I hug you today" hugs, and the laughter in the backyard; I'll hold onto those tight and hope and pray that one day soon they will bring me back from this place I have been swallowed by.