Saturday, February 10, 2007

Second post: an ephiphany

I woke up this morning with a head full of ache and a steady drip down my throat. Egh! We just can't kick the bugs this winter. I'm hoping this is the last round. So it is almost 2pm and I'm still in my pajamas. I did get the kids dressed, breakfasted, lunched and down for naps/quiet time. We have had a morning full of snacks and movies--I have the Leap Frog alpahbet factory movie memorized and Lucy can't get enough of Mater and the Ghostlight--actually pretty entertaining. So it's a perfect day for two posts, right?

I had a mini-epiphany this morning as I was refilling sippy cups for the film goers. It bothers me that I struggle so much right now with being a mother. Of course, some days are smoother than others. Yet, I wish it were more of a natural act, that patience came easily and I could ride smoothly over a day full of screams, messes, and whines (let me assure you that there are plenty of smiles, organized activity, and laughs to help balance the hours). I guess it is in my nature to want to pinpoint the "instigator" of the feelings I'm experiencing. My children are very young: 3 1/2, 2, and 3 months. Seth, the oldest, is only just now starting to communicate on a more "advanced" level. Instead of just whining at every need that crosses his fancy, he tells me about what he's doing, including descriptions and questions, also politely soliciting my help when the occasions calls. It is refreshing to have moved to this new level with him. In a strange way it makes my days less lonely. I don't have much adult interaction during the week and it wears on me. It's the perfect recipe for bottled tension.

The instigator: producing weekly batches of boiled, canned, then beribboned bottles of emotions I experience all week only to put away on my shoulders' shelf. There must of been some botulism in my most recent batch because I finally exploded all over my unassuming husband. We got through it, cleaned up the mess, and everyone felt much better afterwards. But, are these periodic explosions necessary. Is there another route with less sobbing and then post-sobbing headache?

So, my epiphany was that I am with my kids 24 seven and they are my social outlet and this is a problem. A problem that will be resolved naturally as they grow older and our relationships mature.

Playgroup, preshcool mothers, church. These are where my encounters with other adults occur--besides of course the helpful employees at various grocery stores, post offices, and retail shops. Church is questionable, since in between classes I am "mothering" in some way and after church there is a mad rush to collect the kids and get them home for sorely needed snacks and naps.

I am, once again, not complaining. This is the discovery of an epiphany. An uncovering of an instigator. Simply, an answer to the question, "why?" It is helpful to me but perhaps entertaining to another who can look back on the times when they had youngins' running their halls and be grateful those times are there to look back on.

So here's to kids growing up. Perhaps I will look back on these times and unreasonably crave them...but...I won't hold my breath.


Jill said...

Motherhood is just plain hard. Even with all the unbelieveable amounts of cuteness, tiny bodies, sweet voices, darling laughs and toddling forms it's still a challenge like none other. You are wise to write about it as an outlet, a record and a way of giving permission to others to feel this way.

I think you definitely need more adult contact. There must be some friend potential in Phoenix right? You need girlfriends to commiserate with, vent to and to laugh with. I think you also need time alone. There just has to be time, other than sleeping, when no one is asking ANYTHING of you. I feel like this and my kids are old enough to be very self-sufficient so I can only imagine how drained you must be right now.

My advice is to schedule this time and go out of your way to find people to hang out with. You could start a book club with select women from your neighborhood or ward, you could sign up for a class, you could have a weekly date with Barnes & Noble. I know Craig's schedule is challenging and that you don't have any family there to help you, but there must be a way to integrate child care for a few hours a week. I wish I could help you. Hang tough my friend!

Elizabeth said...

First thank you so much for my musical valentine. So cool. I was just telling my husband that he still needed to make some play lists for our Valentine's Party tonight when I opened the mailbox to find this. I can't wait to play it tonight.
Second, I only have two and my little one is finally starting to communicate instead of scream but I am fearing having another one and returning to the lack of sleep and no alone time. I often feel selfish that I don't want to give that time up. And stressing about if I am letting my selfishness dictate when or if another one should come to our family. I do beliee having young children is one of the most mentally exhausting things. AT least for me it is. I also wonder if there is away to avoid the blow up. I feel it should be avoided but when little sleep is own your side it is hard to avoid it. Hang in there!!

annalisa said...

Jordan, than you so much for the CD! When my husband is out of the house, Alexis and I will have to get in a girl's Valentine spirit next week.
I can't imagine having kids that close together. I get flustered when I babysit for my sister and feel like I never give my brain a chance to think. But I look at how close my siblings and I are and it's the best being so close in age.
Someday you will miss the noise, but the good news is this time won't last too long. This is probably the hardest time. In a year you'll have one independent child and one on the way to it.
Now if you could just find some adult time right now. It's so hard to rely on other people though. I know.

amy m said...

I feel like I could have written this post myself. In my day I don't have a lot of adult interaction. I crave it, but don't always make it happen. I also don't have a close girlfriend so my husband is my best friend. I love it, but too often I need a womans perspective. It is lonely.

Things that help me is giving myself a break from being a mother by going out with my husband, being with other adults, or time by myself. I do find that if I can do at least one thing for me I can get through my day...even if that one this is only a few peaceful minutes. :)

Thanks for the valentine cd.

Jordan said...

Jill, Elizabeth, Annalisa, and Amy...I met all of you through this whole blogging thing and now wish you were my neighbors!!

Jenny Dahl said...

Three in diapers, a husband who's a resident, and only the desert that houses scorpions as a backdrop is a tough load for any mom. It does get better. My oldest now is 6. School begins, playmates who entertain themselves rather than babysitting, and starting sports and activities that wear them out. It gets better and more fun all the time. Just wait till they are old enough to learn what sticker charts or marble jars are for! And for the record, I think a good cry is very theraputic every now and again. It's real!

rebecca said...

When I went to my 6-week postpartum checkup after Jake was born, my doctor was disappointed that I hadn't brought the little baby along with me for her to coo at. I told her how relieved I was to be in the company of adults, if even for an hour. I then told her how pathetic it was that I looked forward to a pap smear; we cried together at the motherhood desperation that leads to such a feeble admission. She had a newborn as well, and while I, finished with the painful and humiliating exam, was now ready and anxious to again hold and feed and swaddle my little darling, she had 4 more hours of work. More tears for both of us. In years of early motherhood, one cannot seem to win, only ride.
I think your "nature" that leads you to search will get you through your years of shelving emotions on your back. For me, the eruptions are par for the course; I wish there were a route less explosive, as my husband undoubtedly does. There are some days, months, to get through, just finish. You do your fair share of celebrating with your little family, and you are right - the problem will resolve itself slowly. Some days it will feel like S.L.O.W.L.Y. I admire you, especially for your thoughtful take on womanhood, family life, marriage, and parenting. So yes, here's to kids growing up. And for taking us with them on their journey - you know we wouldn't want to miss a minute.

Amy S. said...

Isn't it crazy that so much love can come from people you meet blogging? It continually stuns me. I read your post, was once again awed at your ability to pinpoint emotions in lovely language, then came to the comments. Wow. These people love you in a sincere, caring way.

And I seriously hope to meet you some day soon. My boys are the same ages as your first two (I just need one more to meet your chaos). We can let them play while we talk & sort. Lovely. Get better so it can happen Soon!

ingrid said...

This too shall pass! Oh, Jordan, I think we will look back at our young mothering years and have a good chuckle! I certainly will. I had never changed a diaper before my first child and that first diaper experience was a shocker for me! Of course, it was also my daughter's first big explosion, but really I had it coming! Now diaper changing is just second nature and I am about to have my fourth! I believe we will all find our groove as mothers, but we will certainly have moments along the way that will challenge us. It will take time, but we'll get there together. Oh how I wish we lived closer!

I love how you and Craig went to a soccer game the other day. Perhaps more outings of just the two of you are in order... And yes, you are definitely loved by the way so many, many ladies truly care about you! Here's sending lots of hugs from FL!

Jenny said...

Okay I could write this post at least once a week. Then of course my tune changes the next day. Motherhood has it's hard days--especially being alone without social outlets. Thats why I really wish us wifes were closer to each other. Seth and Luke are the same age--instant playmates.

Hang in there Jordan lots of Hugs from me :)

katherine said...

I loved reading this post. What a true response to such a great responsibility--being a Mom. In the end you said it so clearly, you really do look back and smile. I yearned for "adult" conversation when I was in the "three at home stage". I just had to let go of the ropes a little and let my husband take the reigns at home while I went out. This was nice and helped me unwind. However time is a funny thing. From my experience, it seems like yesterday I was overwhelmed with three young children and then my oldest youngin' went away to school all day long and I was left with two. The house was quieter and I was still a little on edge and then a year later the second youngin' left for all day school and I did a strange sort of "mourning the loss of my kids"--their messes, tantrums, and playing all over the house. I would find myself in a state of retrospect while I did so many menial things. Then with all the free time, I took a deep breath and started venturing out again--in less "Mommy-ish" places like dance classes and book stores and real restaurants. It really is a process and to look back I have no regrets for all those "frazzled" moments in time (I'm just wondering if I have more kids how I will act and live the second time around?). Good Luck, from what you write you are a Great Mom and you will have many happy memories!

TX Girl said...

Since leaving the "work force" it has become even more important for me to schedule adult time. The days that I do, I find that I am a much better mother and my patience level is much higher with Lulu.

With the crazy schedules that these men of ours work, I rely heavily on my "adult" time to get me through the long hours and to help bring me back to a level of sanity. Our ward has lots of couples in the same situation that the spouse works long hours. It has been great to have that support group.

I hope you find someone to help you feel that void.

amy w. said...

Jordan, I echo all that has been said. I also want to tell you you have so much to offer to the ADULT world. You are an amazing woman. Don't cheat them! Schedule some playdates (we all know they are really for the moms) and call a friend to go out for dessert (I get those kiddos down to bed so I can go out and have no worries).

Oh boy, your days are sometimes endless right now--I still remember. Keep reaching out.

Crystalyn said...

i remember feeling this way when hanna was baby and i only had 2!!! i could have written your post word for word. it's such a hard time and yet when they start to get bigger and more independent you MAY miss parts of it.

it's funny because i have been mourning christian being 4 and so independent and thinking to myself that his time of just being home with me most of the time will be gone in what seems like a flash. but this is because they are both a little more grown up now and spend enough time playing together that i can get some semi-alone time. however, in the same breath i am wondering how i will do with our new little arrival coming so soon. i remember those days of the 24/7 and having not much of a life other than caring for children and nursing and diapering, etc.

it's a tricky balance to not wish it away and savor it when at times you feel like you are going to lose your mind.

i would say don't feel guilty...your feelings are pretty normal. and i agree that adult contact is crucial (which is SO HARD at times...especially when you're feeling like one does when taking care of kids all day). a break from the 24/7 thing really makes a difference.

thank goodness at least for blogging and having that contact. hang in there! it really will get easier!

michelle said...

Oh, how I relate to these words! And my kids are spaced far apart -- I don't know how I would have fared with them so close together. My favorite part of this post was the part about the boiled, canned emotions that eventually explode. I need to work on finding a less explosive way as well.

It's just hard, there is no getting around that. And I have found 3 to be much harder than 2! I'm glad you expressed these feelings, it's so good to have an outlet. Bon courage, my friend!