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Can I Cry Now?
December 8, 2010 6:19 am | by

This week has been a roller coaster of emotion. Sunday, I enjoyed my first Cotton Babies holiday party, celebrating an amazing year of hard work with my new co-workers. It was amazing to be a part of this tremendous company and to see all the hard work invested before I joined the team. At the same time I was celebrating with my co-workers, my husband was in the air, on a flight bound for out of state training. After our party, I rushed to assist a holiday stage production for a few hours before returning home to put my children to bed, well past their bedtime.

I managed to get everyone to all their places on time Monday morning, only to encounter unexpected issues from our Cyber Monday sales when I arrived at the office. Yes, we know Cotton Babies made mistakes, we are human. Our very human team worked very hard this past Monday to do all we could to make it right. It was an emotionally exhausting day and when 5 p.m. hit, I ran out the door to pick up my four children. I’m not too proud to admit, I picked up Happy Meals on the way home to soothe all of our weary spirits.
Tuesday started off early with a child threatening to vomit, running late and a few extra errands added to my busy day. Today, I’m running on more caffeine than my thirty-something body likes to ingest and I admit, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of dark chocolates in the last 48 hours. I’ve even put myself to bed way earlier than normal, just to cope with the exhaustion of my temporary single parenting.
I know there are many single parents that do what I’m doing day in and day out with no end in sight. I know military mamas that do an amazing job holding families together for months on end during deployments. I know my husband will step through the front door in just a few days, that I have a warm house, that I can fill my fridge with food (if I could find time to shop) and that I have the luxury of going through a drive through. I feel bad for complaining. And yet, the stress of being outside of my normal routine, and the addition of a few hormones, make me want to crawl in bed and cry.
Let’s face it, being a mom is incredibly difficult, no matter the external circumstances. We all have days, weeks or seasons of life that are particularly difficult for a variety of reasons. It seems these difficult times are more abundant around the holidays with the extra work load involved in holiday festivities, shopping, gift-giving, baking and extra family get-togethers with their intricacies.
I wish I could have sage advice for you today, but I don’t have it. I’m tired and worn. So today, for Real Mom Talk, I ask you, what are your tips for when the going gets rough? How do you talk yourself โ€œoff the cliffโ€ in a manner of speaking? How do you cope with the darkest days of parenthood and find a way to soldier on?

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.

Comments

14 Comments

  • Anonymous said...
    December 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Funny…I just finished off close to half a pan of brownies!

    When I want to curl up and disappear I remember to look outside of myself. The only thing that helps me is realizing that everything can fall apart and my child and husband will still love me no matter what.

    My favorite memories with my Mom is when we were going through the hard times because she made them fun. The electricity turned off?… Light candles at night and make up poems. No hot water? … Go to the pool and use theirs. Not much money for food?… Potato Soup A La Renee (mixture of potatos- water- and whatever else we could throw in). The list goes on and on…

    Don’t forget to mentally hug yourself and take a day off soon- no matter how hard it is to do so. You deserve it!!!

  • Anonymous said...
    December 9, 2010 at 9:01 am

    The bad days are going to happen whether you have one kid or four and that’s OK. Making yourself feel guilty for having a rough few days only makes it worse. Everyone deserves to feel wiped out once in awhile, especially caretakers. All you can do is try your best to give yourself even the smallest break to breathe during those moments (so don’t feel bad about some chocolate and a happy meal!). Needing a minute to yourself is NOT something to feel badly about.

  • Dan.Eliot said...
    December 9, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Going back to school as a single mom is already difficult enough with trying to

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  • Froggzy said...
    December 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Motherhood is a tough and challenging road. I stay home with my 4 and 1 year old and always thought this is what I wanted to do and some days I’m not so sure. Staying at home has it’s rewards, but it also has a lot of factors people don’t think about. I miss the adult interaction I got from work, but try to get that in other ways now. My coping mechanism is to make time for me. I usually have the kids in bed by 8 and sometimes invite a couple girlfriends over, send my hubby to one of their houses and we enjoy a little “girly time” as we like to call it. A glass of wine and chat about the kiddos ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems to be the topic of choice! It gives me a little hope scheduling that little date, knowing the kids will be asleep and I can enjoy myself for a few moments. When things get tough and I need to unwind that very day I usually fix soup for dinner since it is quick and simple and throw the kiddos in bed a few minutes early. Then mama reads a book and goes to bed early! We all have ways to deal with our stress, but the next day can always be a little brighter if we try to make it that way, right?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hugs!

  • motheringspirit said...
    December 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    My own mother always had a little sing-song rhyme that she would sing while rolling her eyes when things went wrong: “The mother of the year is…not me!” Bringing laughter into stressful situations always allowed us (and her) to step back and see that even though things were far from perfect, they were OK because we were human and we were together. My husband and I now throw this line out on a weekly, if not daily basis – “the parents of the year are…not us!” It makes me feel better, remembering that no parent is doing things perfectly and this dark day shall pass, too.

  • Anonymous said...
    December 8, 2010 at 11:59 am

    It’s like you were reading my mind!

    I’ve been pulling extra long hours lately, with the worst being last night. Worked from 5am to 7pm yesterday. I had a 5-minute break in between, where I scarfed down some fast food.

    I walked through the door last night at 7:30, greeted by my 1-year-old son who ran over to see me. I lost it. We sat on the floor reading “Where the Wild Things Are” half a dozen times, as I told myself that he won’t remember this years from now. But right now I do, and it’s killing me.

    As the primary breadwinner for my family right now, I feel like I’m doing a million things, and none of them well. Over-caffeinated and eating chocolate to deal with all the stress, I laughed at how similar my week has been to yours!

    I don’t know that the crying, chocolate or caffeine help as much as hearing that I’m not alone. I think we all hold ourselves to a higher standard than our kids do. Not trying to make everything look picture perfect – when it’s not – helps not only yourself, but all moms.

    Thanks for putting it out there!!!

  • Laura said...
    December 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I just want to start by saying that I did not cyber Monday shop and I have no clue as to the problems you had. I would also like to state that I feel terribly that people said those kinds of things to you and about the store. I am constantly in amazement at how mean and cruel people can be. I thought that of all communities, the cloth diaper community (a community made up mostly of mamas who struggle in their own ways) would be more understanding. Not all of us are like that and I am ashamed of those who behaved like that.

    As for the mama struggles, we all have our moments. And in some cases, 10’s of 100’s of moments! We love our kids and our families, but sometimes it is just so tiring and so stressful! I never imagined how stressful it would be! All I ever wanted was to be a SAHM. Now I am, and there are days that I would love to go to work! My husband works 1.5 hours away. We have no support system here and he spends 3 hours a day on the road. It is me, me, and all me. No matter what springs up. I go nuts sometimes and I PRAY for my husband to come home early. What is worse, are the days like today. The weather here is terrible, so my husband is staying for the night up where he works. There is no daddy relief tonight. Days like today are a tremendous struggle for me because it seems so daunting. But then, like you, I think about the single parents or the military families. I cannot imagine how they do it. And then my struggle seems so small compared to their struggles.

    Just keep moving. That’s all you can do. Do your best and just keep going. Until bedtime. Rest and do it all again! If it means an early bedtime, go for it! An extra cup of coffee, drink it! Do what you have to do to weather the storm. That’s all anyone can do!

    Hope things look up soon!!!

  • Sarah Jane said...
    December 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

    This post brought a tear to my eye, but a happy one.

    When I’m in those moments where I look at my family and think “Mama’s cup is empty” one thing always brings me back. I think abput those darkest days right after the birth of my child, in the midst of postp depression and after a terrifying emergency c-section while suffering from pneumonia. Even then, when my entire life’s worth of pain and fear seemed laughable in comparison I could still say “This too shall pass”. I could say with conviction that as bad as it was at that moment, before long it would just be a story I tell.

    If I get to the point of wondering how to keep going, remembering the strength God gave me at the weakest of times always brings me around.

  • MsTuchbaum said...
    December 8, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I am a mommy to 4 beautiful babies (10, 7, 18 months (today) and a 6 week old. The way I soldier on is looking at the big picture and take each day as it comes. I leave what happened yesterday in yesterday and wake up each morning with a smile on my face and look to make it a better day than the previous.

    I’m a stay at home mom due to the economy. I live in SWFL which has one of the highest unemployment rates and is second on the list for most foreclosures. Our small town has been impacted hard and there just isn’t work. My husband travels 2 1/2 hrs to work in Miami and stays there for 3 days a week. I have a lot of tough days, especially trying to tandem feed a very jealous 18 month old. On those tough days I just look at my kids and remember that things can get easier and will, it just takes time, and all the hard work will pay off then. If it is just overwhelming I tend to ask for help from my mom or MIL who luckily live only about 15 minutes away. Unfortunately, I’m having to rely on them a little more than I’d like. My oldest has had strep throat since thanksgiving, and my 7 yr old is great for entertaining and winding up my 18 month old (which isn’t great at bedtime), but its exhausting. I miss working, and most of all I miss my husband being home with us each night. Only having him here 3 nights a week sucks!

    Plus its the holiday season…every thing every where is hectic! Just remember to breathe!

  • Anita said...
    December 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Just wanted to send some *hugs*. Being a mom is hard work… But, even when I’m standing on the “cliff”, I’m still happier than I have ever been.

  • Anna said...
    December 8, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Oh days like this are all to familiar to me. I actually wrote a blog about this very topic. I only have 1 child, so I too feel bad complaining when the going gets tough as I know it’s much tougher for others than for me, but these are my emotions and I have every right to feel them, no matter what.
    My little boy became gravely ill in the summer of 2009 and I will never forget the feeling I had when he woke from his life-saving surgery. I looked into his eyes as he sucked his thumb and knew from that moment on, that nothing in the world could let me forget that feeling. The feeling of almost losing my son.
    It puts things in perspective for me. Sure, we eat McDonald’s sometimes, but I work full-time, cloth diaper, and try really hard to make healthy meals 99% of the time. I’m not going to beat myself up for taking the easy road once in a while, especially if it means having even 5 extra minutes to hold my child.
    While the stress of doing things alone can wear on you, just know that no one is perfect, and we are all just trying to get by! Hang in there, these times are few and far between, and you are certainly not alone!
    Here’s that blog if you feel like reading!
    http://companiontothewind.blogspot.com/2010/01/i-could-be-missing-this.html

  • Anna said...
    December 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Stephanie said...
    December 8, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I’m right there with you! Today I had to take my 2nd sick day in a one week period when I’m trying to save my very few sick days left for my maternity leave in April. I have an impacted sinus infection that has been bothering me since Tuesday of last week. I’ve had pain every single day and some days it’s unbearable. My husband works roughly 80 hrs a week so I feel like a single mom most days, until Sunday. I have a 16 month old daughter who is very active and with my pregnancy and being sick, I’ve felt like I’m at the end of my rope for the past week. I’m so frustrated with not being able to go in to work and I’m a teacher so it’s not like calling into an office job like I used to have. I have to worry about lesson plans and worrying if my 150 high school student are being good for the sub or not. It’s so frustrating!!

    Lately, I haven’t really found anything specific to help me get through these hard times except to focus on the fact that God is going to get me through it and it’s not a permanent situation. It’s really hard to see down the road when things are so crazy in your face though. Sleeping definitely helps too! I’m sorry you are having such a stressful week and I hope it gets better for you! The holiday season is supposed to be a cheerful time and with a week like that, it’s hard to be cheerful!!

  • Laura Webber said...
    December 8, 2010 at 8:52 am

    First of all, YOU and the Cotton Babies team have done a WONDERFUL job handling the accidental mistakes of the Cyber Monday sale, including graciously sharing new information, answering questions and lovingly responding to the venom I have read on Diaper Swappers- I am proud to call you MY only cloth diaper company!

    Personally, when life gets overwhelming, it really helps me to look back at either my wedding pictures or happy family photos! I have blogged consistently since I was three months pregnant with my son, and it is very uplifting to remember that while life, at times, seems out of control, I have FAR more wonderful memories than rough patches when I take the time to remember and reflect!

    Love, Laura