If one more person tells me that I am fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom, I will knock their teeth out and model them into some kind of arts and crafts thing.
I’m not generally a violent person (one scuffle back in 10th grade), but that remark pushes every button I have. While I understand that some people would prefer staying home with their children, this is simply not for me. I don’t know what I imagined when I thought about having children–I didn’t really put much thought into it, I was trying to fill the emptiness. I don’t hate having children, in fact, I love my children more than anything. My mood requires some level of control and peace, and my family is certainly lacking in both. Chaos is ruling my life.
My husband is great at taking the boys out. He knows that they will be unruly in a grocery store, but he still takes them. He knows that they may run off at the playground, but he still takes them. I keep the boys holed up in our house, too afraid to take them out because I know that I have less control over them elsewhere, and I begin to panic when things aren’t going the way I planned. So plan them different, right? Have reasonable, age-appropriate expectations and enjoy the boys, right? Wrong. So wrong. On the rare occasion that I take them out, I find myself regretting the decision, panicking and feeling trapped. I know this is sad for my boys–they will need to learn how to live within social norms, and I can barely teach them that at home.
This completely out of control feeling is overwhelming me at home recently. I am exploding with rage at even the smallest, dumbest things. I sent my husband to the grocery store with a very detailed list, and when he came home missing a couple insignificant items, I raged at him for 20 minutes. I knew it was wrong. I knew he didn’t deserve it. I wanted to stop. And I couldn’t. I thought this was a post-partum depression thing, but I’m beginning to think that it is just a symptom of depression, or Bipolar, or BPD, or Schizo-Affective, or PTSD, or whatever the hell is wrong with me.
I’m not entirely naive about myself, and so I have some insight on why I am feeling that everything is so out of control. My husband is taking a different job, and anything other than the job he has now requires a longer than 5 minute commute–meaning that I will be spending even more time here alone with the boys. Brennan is in Kindergarten and needs to be escorted off the bus at 3:30 everyday, and Alex is starting preschool Tuesday. My therapy appointment has been switched to Thursday. There is no way to rearrange my schedule to find coverage for the boys so that I can keep my job. I have to quit, even though my boss has bribed me with a raise, searched for babysitters himself, and promised bonuses if I can arrange something–all of which breaks my heart. I hate the idea of letting him down, and I know the benefits this job had for me. I could go to work in the worst mood and by the time I left, I was fine. My last hospitalization was in early February and I got the job late February. It is no coincidence that I haven’t been hospitalized since–I would have felt too bad about not being dependable and reliable. I know that my boss trusts me with his money and the store. I know that he has no one that could replace me and he would have to do it all alone again, as he’s done for the past 3 years. But forget him–this job is good for me. I need this job.
But my needs don’t really matter right now. My husband is taking the job on the other side of the city, and I will be staying home with the boys all day, everyday again. I am in the exact same position I was in last May when I overdosed. And my body knows this, my mind knows this. The panic attacks, the rage, the constant anxiety and bricks on my chest because everything is out of place, out of control, is a reaction to the impending situation I am going to find myself in. I am so freaken trapped.
So yeah, I’m “fortunate” to be able to stay home with my kids–if that is what you consider fortunate. It is not what I consider fortunate, so when people tell me this and complain about how they have to go to work, I am bitter and angry with envy. I want to be able to go to work, and be around people, and enjoy being valued and depended upon. I want to be able to come home at the end of my work day and enjoy my children because I haven’t spent the past 12 hours with them alone, panicked and hating myself for being an epic failure as a mother. Clearly, the concept of fortune and luck are relative.