This morning started off as it typically does. I go into my 5 year olds room, then my 3 year olds, and get them dressed and ready for the day.
My husband spends the first hour of the day with them before he has to leave for work, and I spend that hour in my room drinking coffee and watching a show. (Currently Chicago Fire, if you’re wondering.) It’s the only hour of “free time” I get during the day, if you can even call it that, with them busting in every 5 minutes.
We’ve been doing this for a long time, probably a few years now. Most mornings my husband will go on a run with the kids in the stroller, but if the weather is bad they don’t go.
This morning, as I was pretending to “enjoy” my coffee, my 5 year old comes into the room (again) and doesn’t want to leave. My husband tries to usher him out, but my son says “no, mommy is sad so I need to stay and hug her and be with her. Right, mommy?” I tell him that I’m not sad, but I’ll take a hug anyway.
I don’t know why he said it. I don’t think I was acting…out of the norm for me. He was probably just being silly and trying to say anything he could to spend time with me during the one hour he normally spends away from me, but still, it got to me.
He’s not wrong, though. I am “sad”, and even if he was just being silly this morning, I’m sure the day will come when he is more aware of it, or he does actually notice.
As much as we try to mask things and protect our kids from the world, they are still going to pick up on it. Maybe not all kids, but certainly the perceptive ones, at the least.
We want to shelter our loved ones, often from ourselves. We want to protect them from anything that isn’t sunshine and rainbows. Maybe that’s fair to them, maybe it isn’t. But it’s the instinct.
I am feeling more….sad, or off, than usual today. I’ve been so beaten down and feeling so exhausted by life. I haven’t been sleeping at all…it’s just…it’s a lot. It is always a lot.
I’m trying my hardest to keep my head above water when it feels like I have bricks tied around my ankles. And this morning, my sons comment, whether he said it jokingly or not, made me feel like a failure. Like I’m not hiding myself well enough, like I’m not trying hard enough…like I’m not good enough.
Here he is, a 5 year old who just wanted a hug from his mom, and I’m over here feeling guilty about it.
As parents, it’s hard enough without all the extra pressure we add onto ourselves. Add mental health struggles on top of that? It can feel impossible to win.
So often, I feel like my kids, my whole family, deserve better than me. Or that they deserve more than I have to offer.
Honestly, it makes me hate myself. The thought that I’m just…not enough. I feel so fucking inadequate. And it feels horrible. Today, I don’t feel strong enough to do this. I want to give up, I want to quit.
I just don’t feel like I have enough in me to give the world what it requires of me. And that’s a really harsh reality to come to. I wish I felt better, but today, I feel weak.
What I’m not giving enough credit to right now is how I feel about my birth son. I found out yesterday that he has Covid, and it makes me feel like absolute shit. My son is sick, I know next to nothing about it, or how he is, and there’s not a single fucking thing I can do. I can’t hug him, I can’t make him feel better, or get him cozy or take care of him…you want to talk about feeling inadequate as a person and a parent? Try having a child out there that you know is sick, that you can’t take care of.
I’ve been feeling like shit since yesterday when I found out. I’m sure that’s what my 5 year old was picking up on. But it’s shitty. I’ve been trying to hide it, mask it, even from myself.
But I guess I can’t mask feelings from myself, because I’m still feeling it.
I just want my kids to be okay. All 3 of them. And it’s so hard that my oldest son is not mine to love and take care of. It hurts.
And I guess some days, it just hurts more than others.
But I’ll be honest…I just don’t know if I can fight this fight for very much longer. Not if I keep feeling this badly. I just…I feel hopeless.