i love my kids…but i hate being a mom….

i hate being the one in charge
i hate being the bad guy
i hate having to be the one who makes sure we don’t run out of
toilet paper
clean clothes
toothpaste
shoes that fit
food
i hate being the one that has to make impossible ends
meet
i have to
no one else is going to do it
i have to find ways to fix
messes that seem impossible to fix
i have to referee fights
that seem to have no end
i hate being referee
i hate being mom
i want to not have to worry about everything
to not be the one who is supposed to have all of the answers
i want to find room in my heart
for me
to not feel overwhelmed by them
i want to be able to breathe

it’s not them though
is it?
it’s not being a mom so much
as my being damaged
damaged by life
damaged by parents, damaged by exes
never taught to love myself
in the way a person needs to be able to
so that person can be a good mom
neglected by my own mom
leaving me unable to cope
abandoned
abused
by the man who was supposed
to do this with me
be there for me
now
i just want to hide, heal, and lick my wounds
but as a mom
i just can’t seem to
there are just too many other things
that need to be
done….

page11

yesterday i collapsed in a heap and all i could think was, “i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom.” it was both a relief to think it…and horrifying.

i didn’t always hate being a mom…if you read my wordpress profile thing-y here, it sounds like i used to really think i was a good mom….
(i wish i could remember that feeling.)

though it was a cruel awakening when i became a mom and realized i was working harder than i ever had before–but i wasn’t getting any pay or benefits. after a lifetime of supporting myself, i was now dependent on a partner who was–well–crappy. he would tell me my position as a mom was pointless and why was he the only one earning money? he would tell me to get a job. i was exhausted to my bones–and he was telling me i wasn’t earning anything therefore i was lazy…useless? and he wasn’t the only one. our society echoed him. subtle or blatant, i got the message loud and clear.

i was a mom now–and now i did not matter.

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gone was my independence. my ability to just pack up everything i own and go somewhere new. just go. whenever i wanted. be free whenever i felt caged. now i was anchored. by one..then two..then three..and finally four little anchors.

gone was time to myself. my crappy partner put that last nail in my coffin. no art. no writing. (right now i have a five year old begging me to color & i really really don’t want to color–i want to exorcise this demon–i want to write.) no exercise even because no one would let me. seriously. i was not allowed to do the walks i used to do daily to clear my head & keep my weight down. if i wanted to go–everyone wanted to go with me–and it became an unbearable circus…

page13

i know there are people out there devastated because they can’t have children. i used to be one of those people. i wanted to cry every time a friend or a sister got pregnant. i tried for 10 years before i got pregnant. i dreamed of being a mom. i dreamed of having that love in my life. of course, i thought, being a mom will fix what is wrong with me.

but i wasn’t careful about with whom i had my kids. that was my mistake. my biggest mistake. i didn’t realize how much that would change things…taint things. that partner who doesn’t value you–or your role as the mother of his children.

it’s devastating…at least for me…it has damaged me so deeply sometimes i feel like i am unable to love at all.

but i love my minions. i do. as much as i hate being a mom sometimes–i never stop loving them.
so that’s something, right?

something salvageable?

page15

(these illustrations are more  from the project i am working on “the mistress of mud” with a friend of mine. yesterday i posted that i hadn’t gotten any work done, but i realized i actually had…and i did the one at the top of the post last night as i played around trying to emulate david mack’s style.)

my anxiety writes a poem

if my oldest son
never comes home
i will have to take his homemade ship
to the river myself
to launch it
after so many times of telling him,
“no, not today…”
i will have run out of days to spend
with him
maybe i will set it on fire
have a viking funeral
as i wish he would come home
if my second son
never comes home
i will never be able to return the movie
we are supposed to watch together
i will have to keep it
and pay the library
for it
knowing i could buy a cheaper copy
i will never let go
of the movie we were supposed to watch
as i wait for him to come home
if my daughter never comes home
i will build a shrine of
barbie dolls
and tutus
i will sit and sing to myself
surrounded by her special things
i will wish i could hear her
speak words
have a conversation with me
just once
just once
as i hope for her to come home
if my youngest son never comes home
i will die inside
knowing i wasn’t the mother to him
that he needed me to be
knowing that i failed him
from the beginning
and the only way i can save him
is to save myself
and bring him home to me

sometimes when my kids go to visit their dad, i go to a special hell reserved for moms. sometimes i breathe and relax and enjoy my alone time. other times i climb the walls and let the demons chisel at my thoughts.

i didn’t intend to be a stay-at-home mom. however, when it came time for me to go back to work after fidgit was born, i found i couldn’t do it. at first i tried taking him to work with me, which was strangely tolerated. but i realized i was doing two jobs half-assedly and decided i needed to make a choice.
i chose being a mom.
and it has been a hard road. a very hard road. my ego has suffered a lot and sometimes i find myself wondering, “what if–” about my choice to be a mom at all. and then the catholic part of me kicks in and i live in fear that i have hexed my children with such thoughts.

being a mom is so fucking complicated.

i just want my kids to come home so i don’t have time to think about it.

still-life for sawyer

today is my birthday
so
of course
i deleted my facebook page
and turned off my phone
not
because
i don’t want people to celebrate me
but because
i so desperately do
want that.
so if it doesn’t happen
i will be hurt
and if it does happen
i will be suspect
once a year?
once a year you remember me?
once a year you stop by
to say “hello.”
i know.
everyone is busy with their own lives
and how often do i reach out?
but don’t you see
how difficult it is for me to reach out
when all i expect is rejection
and disappointment?
today is my birthday…
i want fireworks, fancy chocolates, and fancy drinks
with loud & happy people…
but i suspect that won’t happen
i’m not that special
no one would even remember me if it weren’t for facebook
so i hide
from disappointment
& insincerity
i curl up in a ball
& cry
because
today is my birthday

it’s like dusty. all of a sudden he is saying all of the things that i wanted to hear ten years ago. and he expects me to just jump into his arms and eat up the bullshit.
but i can’t
because it is bullshit. ten years too late and said in a voice that makes me think he is being coached by someone. someone else. he never listened to me when i told him what i needed from him. now he is listening to another voice that is telling him what to say to get me back. maybe an inner voice…maybe an outer one. should i be flattered that he is trying so hard? to win me back?
but i’m not
because it is insincere. it is trap. it is manipulation. it is his trying to survive by pulling me under and floating to safety on my body. i have to remind myself of this–that his sweet words cover up a poisonous person.

and when i reject his come-ons…he resorts to talking child placement. he starts talking about how he wants the minions half-time. it’s like his next move after i block his move to capture my queen. talking about what an excellent father he is and how much he loves them.
he never did value me as a mother. i have put everything into being a mother, and for a while, i even believed i was a good mother. but he spent the past 12 years belittling my role as a mother. 12 years basically ignoring the minions. he was a dad when it was fun to be a dad–but when it wasn’t fun, he abandoned ship. his character in my moses jones comic wasn’t intentional. i didn’t set out to make him be an absent father figure…but dusty is an absent father figure. he is literally here, but he is gone. away. making himself unavailable to us even though he is right in front of us. it’s a weird gift, i guess, knowing how to make people not ask for your help or your contribution even though you are right there and completely able…and now because i won’t play his game, his next move is to remove the minions from their primary caretaker on a homestead with room to run and a life to live, to live with him half-time. where? at his mom’s house? or when he meets another woman–her house? dusty isn’t one to get things done  himself…he likes to take the easiest route possible. how will he care for four wild minions half-time?

and it’s my birthday.
and i’m broke.
i can’t even bake myself a cake because i have no money to go grocery shopping, and i somehow didn’t get the renewal for my foodshare (yes, i am on foodstamps) so i am desperately trying to get the state to renew my foodshare so i can buy groceries. fortunately, we have a garden giving us potatoes, beans, herbs, & greens. chickens for eggs–though they do so reluctantly. and a small store of dry goods–but no flour or honey for a cake.
and i was supposed to buy two goats this week…but i don’t have the money. obviously…. i am torn–it seems like a good investment, but how do i pull money out of my ass for goats when i am not sure how i am going to take care of every thing else?

i need a life coach. i need a fucking life coach. there has to be a way to make money. i do so much every day. surely it’s worth something to someone?

fuck.

happy birthday, me.

dusty doesnt like it when i compare him to a hookworm

he’s not a bad guy
really
just the wrong guy
really!
he’s here again
at my invitation
it seems
though i cannot tell you
exactly how that came to be.
how is it that i invited him back
into my life
when i knew for sure
that i had finally
finally
gotten rid of him.
i knew i had seen the last of him.
but somehow
i invited him back?

my hookworm.
my favorite parasite.
the father of my four
other
favorite
parasites.

i’m not getting any work done
on my art at least
i did put up beehives today…
and i am keeping house…
and reading a really good novel…
but my art is suffering

is it because of dusty?
is it because of the endless display of
rainy days?
cloudy days?
sunless days?
is it because i have used up the quota
allowed me
of creative genius?
is it because the minions are nuts?
is it because of dusty?

so this is like, what?
all of april’s artistic efforts…
this?
yes.
this is all i have to show for my ink
in april.

when dogs flew

i have not lost my mind today.
and that is something
yesterday the chickens got out
and those fuckers like to tear up my garden
so my inner control freak
took the reins
as i ran like a madwoman
trying to herd chickens
shouting incomprehensible orders
at the minions
i did an awesome impression
of my abusive father
and how he would scream at us
because we weren’t doing it right.
even if we didn’t know what
“right” was
exactly
i went after poor fidgit
like a mad dog
which makes sense that he would draw
my fire
he is the one most like
me.
my nerves raw
from being a mom
and feeling always
like i am doing it
wrong
so a day
where i have not lost my mind
is a small celebration for me.

dogsflew3

i have not had a beer in a week now. every day i feel like the universe is pushing me with all it’s might to go get some beer…or whiskey…my favorite ways to self-medicate. it’s not like i get drunk…but i am building up quite a tolerance. like the song says, it used to take one & now it takes four. which gets expensive…and does not  help with my body image issues either as i get stouter & stouter.

so i’m trying to go without.

dogsflew2

no one should have to parent sober. it’s a cruel thing. but now my inner control freak is seeing it as some kind of sick challenge & won’t let me get beer now even if i wanted to. i have started hinting to it that next week is st. patrick’s day & it wouldn’t be very irish of me not to drink beer then. for many many years my inner control freak never let me drink. my dad was a horrible nasty abusive alcoholic. so i did not drink. all my friends were potheads, junkies, and alcoholics and i hung out at bars & parties…but i never drank. not until i started drinking to spite an ex-boyfriend…but that is another story.

i don’t want to be my dad.

not wanting to be my mom affects my relationships with men.
not wanting to be my dad affects my relationship with my minions.

but i didn’t lose my mind today…and i did it without having a beer.
so…yay!

dogsflew1

ode to being pissed off

hey. you know what?
if i’m depressed and thinking about how nice it would be to just be dead…
to just escape
this
all of this.
it is not going to do any good to say,
“shut up, don’t say that, you have kids.”
because
here is the thing
one of the reasons i think death would be nice
is because i wouldn’t have to be a mom anymore.
do you get that?
please, get that.
but it did work out.
you pissed me off.
what? am i an incubator? am i just a big nipple?
am i not a person?
do i not matter?
if i had no children, would it be okay then, if i wanted to die?
do you only care about me
because you hate to see motherless children?
there are plenty of suffereing children. go rescue one. if you want to help me
you listen
you don’t tell me what i should be thinking or doing or feeling
you fucking listen.
so now i’m pissed off
which is good
because it is hard to be sad when you are pissed off.
now i want to spite you for suggesting all i am is a vessel
only valued for my contributions as a mother
(and frankly
never really valued for that either)
so now i’m pissed off and i’m going to live to fight another day
take that
motherfuckers.

my big epiphany for the day is that women are taught to not get angry. to be nice & pretty & to smile and to not make a big deal out of it.
and so we stuff all that anger down…and it contributes or results in a state of depression. we can’t be mad. we can’t be sad either…but it is easier to hide sad.
and mothers suffer it the most. we have to be everything. strong, but not too strong. always there. able to fix any problem. no time to think about yourself–why would you want to think about yourself? what? you’re thinking about yourself?? we have to love being a mother. it has to define us.
but what if it doesn’t? what if we have doubts?
stuff that down, too.

so i was depressed. now i’m just pissed off. which is good. all that sad is turning to mad and i am letting it out to go where it needs to go. i told those fucking exes who i have been reaching out to–out of loneliness–i told them what i needed to tell them. basically, to fuck the fuck off. i don’t need them. i really really really don’t. in fact, i am way better off without them. but i had to find that out. and i had to get pissed off.i had to realize that they actually made me feel more alone, because they couldn’t give me what i needed. and they don’t want to give me what i want. and i just have to get over it.

and get pissed off about it.

so maybe depressed women (men too?) need a healthy and appropriate outlet for their anger. maybe? i know it’s not that simple, but, hey it couldn’t hurt.

are you depressed? let’s go burn something down!
(at least we can burn a bridge to that toxic person in  your life who you keep around because you haven’t gotten pissed off enough)

i am both, harold & maude….

no.
chances are
i won’t kill myself
because i have kids
& anxiety about death
but isn’t it enough
that i want to?
that i think about it?
a lot?
enough
for someone to take me seriously?
it was almost better when i didn’t
reach out & ask for help
when i didn’t try to create a supportive
community
it was almost better
because then i could only blame
myself
for not having anyone to
talk to.
and keep some hope
alive.

maybe i’m reaching out to the wrong people. problem is…there are only so many people i like. that i trust. that i feel safe or comfortable reaching out to. and none of them catch me when i fall.

maybe i should be a hermit. embrace my loneliness and dive into it. be my loneliness.

when i suggested to one “friend” that i felt like killing myself, he said, “shut up. i know you wouldn’t do that to your kids.”
another “friend” completely ignored my request for help, and i have not heard from him since.
another just treated it as business as usual and barely seemed to register my state of pain.

but, again, maybe i am reaching out to the wrong people.
maybe i purposely don’t reach out to the people who might be able to help.
maybe i want to be a mess.

or maybe i know it is easier to fail than to put in the work to save myself. or maybe i think i will fail and don’t want to know for sure…so i just don’t go there.

so i self-medicate with whiskey and netflix…and try to get through the day.

music helps.

lots of music.