Disclaimer: I told my husband I would write today-this is covering some of the thoughts and conversations I have had with many of my working mother friends. Us Gen-X/Y mothers. We are tired. But don’t worry about me, I’m okay. All these feelings don’t belong to me. And look, I wrote something! Even if it is just a shitty blog.
One never means to disappear, certainly not from their own life. Disappearing happens slowly, so slowly that the soon to be Disappeared doesn’t even notice it happening. It starts with a “no, it’s okay, I’ve got it” and a “Sure, I’ll take care of that, just let me juggle a few things” and it ends with you looking longingly at the wide-open water and wondering how far you can walk before you run out of breath. And would anyone notice?
Then comes the crushing guilt, because the voice in your head chides you for not being grateful for the things you have. For wanting more or better or different or less. You are discontent and the world tells you that you were made to be happy doing a job handed to you before you even knew you wanted it. Before it was even a question in your mind. Your job was to grow up, work, have a family, be a wife, be a mom, be a daughter, sister, mother, friend… and never be a person. You never realized that you signed your name on the life contract that would relegate you to being a cog in a wheel of an ever-moving, never-ending machine of life that only sometimes brings joy but often grief. This machine of life is a cruel trick sold to you from the inside pocket of a snake-oil trader. They sell you a dream happiness-just out of reach but attainable- if… if… IF. Ifs into perpetuity.
The truth of the machine was found in the fine print and it plainly states- Use at your own risk. May come with great bliss, will absolutely come with crippling grief, and the most you can hope for is contentment with moments of joy found between the swells of hardship. The machine is no machine after all. It is a wavy water body that is sometimes calm, sometimes stormy, and always moving. You just need to acclimate to the temperature and hope you have the stamina to keep treading water. True, the bliss is so worth it, but also true is that the hard parts rarely feel worth it. Do not be ashamed of being tired of it, of being unhappy, discontent, angry, hostile, sad…. It is normal to be all things. We are all tired and right now the world doesn’t offer a lot to believe in. We are living in a time of darkness and it’s okay to feel shitty-don’t judge yourself. Everyone is hurting.
So sisters, swim on. Find one another and help each other stay afloat. Recognize what you need and make it happen. Love yourself. Be a priority. Force yourself to do things like write a shitty blog or play an old piano. It’s time we stop giving every last ounce of ourselves to everyone else, everything else. We need to put on our own masks first friends. Whatever is your oxygen, keep that handy, I’m not sure when life will get easier, but a mask will help you breathe underwater.