I hate to break it to ya J.D. Salinger, but I think I’m all the way insane. All of it. Am I the only one? Where are the other completely insane mothers? I keep looking for you as I scrub shit off my carpet for the one millionth time. It’s funny because apparently I wasn’t insane enough to be on TV. Yes, this week something insane (ha!) happened. A producer from a talk show called me to see if I was interested in coming on their show. They were doing a show on overwhelmed mothers. Was I overwhelmed she asked? Why yes. Yes, I fucking am. I’m all the way fucking overwhelmed with potty training and picky eaters and strong willed little girls that don’t like to wear their clothes.
She went on to ask me about my typical day. Oh ok. You sure you want to go there? Let’s go. Well sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 Fierce like Frida screams my name. I roll out of bed and turn on the coffee maker as I stumble up the stairs. I usually arrive to a completely nude child asking for rabbit chews. What are rabbit chews you ask? They are the devil and never ever buy them in your life. Listen people, don’t fucking do it. Rabbit chews are Annie’s version of a fruit snack. She tricks you with the words organic and natural and one terrible Tuesday in November you buy your first box. They are so fucking delicious that even after you stop buying them, your child remembers they exist and will ask you for them all day, everyday until you want to die.
The next 30 minutes are spent saying “no rabbit chews” as I try to scramble an egg with one hand and hold rabbit chew addict in my other. If I’m cooking, girlfriend is always nearby and 99.9% of the time she’s asking to be held. Actually, this is true of anything I do. If I’m standing still pretending to be invisible she leaves me alone, but the moment I try to do laundry or cook or clean or go to bathroom, she’s there. Hovering, crying, needing me. Actually I lied, she even needs me when I try to be invisible. All the live long day I’m wanted and needed so much that I can’t even sit in stillness.
At some point I hit brew on my Keurig, BUT just as I pour creamer in my coffee dude stumbles down the stairs. Guess what? He’s also missing his pajamas, only difference is he’s wearing a layer of shit. I never want to go up the stairs to his room. I’m always terrified of what I will find. Some days (like today) there’s a shit trail on the carpet. I can trace his every move just by following the shit footprints. I cry crocodile tears as I scrub and wash and scrub and bathe him. By now it’s close to 8am and I haven’t had coffee or put on pants.
The rest of the day is always a blur. It feels like I get nothing done, but somehow I’m constantly doing. That statement is the epitome of insanity. Some days I stare at my laundry piles and the dishes falling out of the sink. I look at myself in the mirror and wonder how the fuck I got here. I’m exhausted and have nothing to show for it. Seriously though, the sheer level of energy that is drained from you as you are constantly doing yet getting nothing done is just fucking insane.
Insanely enough, this lady cut me off before I could even get to 9am with her. I’m not sure what she wanted to hear, but I had said enough just by recounting the first 3 hours of my day. I never got a call back. I didn’t pass the interview. I wasn’t overwhelmed enough and you know what? It’s been driving me insane. I couldn’t even get being overwhelmed right. I wasn’t insane enough for a tv show. Somehow I was only slightly insane. Mediocrely overwhelmed I suppose.
At the end of the interview she asked me what I would want to ask Bishop Jakes. My brain went blank. What in the fuck do I want to ask a stranger on syndicated television? I strung together some ridiculous response that I can’t even remember, but as insane mothers do, I’ve been replaying that question in my brain ever since. I can’t stop thinking about it because now I know exactly what to ask. Mr. Jakes, I would say,
Do you get it?
Cause let me tell you, the most insane thing about feeling so insane is how fucking lonely it feels. I see so many mamas with their shit together. With their houses clean, their laundry folded, their face fresh and happy and calm. Yet I’m just over here drowning in bodily fluids, yelling and tired and broken. It doesn’t feel like I’m the norm. But maybe I’m just the only one bribing my kid with rabbit chews right now so I can get the ugly out my brain. So I can type these insanely insane words to blast on the internet.
But really, do you get it? Does anyone else live this life? I know you have to. I know I can’t be the only one. But what’s keeping us from saying it? It’s so funny how we prioritize physical health. You break your leg and you say out loud this fucking hurts, I need help. You don’t waddle around hoping the pain will just magically disappear. But the brokenness in our hearts and brains, that pain stays hidden below the surface. We don’t say it for fear of sounding insane. For fear of looking like a failure.
So let’s stop. Let’s remind ourselves all mothers are slightly (or all the way) insane and start validating their struggle. And while we’re at it, let’s just stop calling it insane to begin with. I’m normal. You’re normal. We are all normal for feeling overwhelmed or crazy or bone fucking tired. It’s normal to miss the you before you had kids. It’s normal to love someone so insanely much it hurts, but at the same time just want to wipe your own ass without that someone staring at you while you do it.
All mothers are slightly normal for wanting some space from the chaos. So stop the insanity and embrace your normal. Your sanity needs it.