"Motherhood has been an exercise in guilt." — Felicity Huffman
I am a single mom, a student, a writer, a musician, and a widow. Each of these titles brings a different challenge to my life, and balancing it all can be extremely tough. Most of these roles I play can be put on hold, except one, and that's being a mommy.
My son, Jax, is currently 3 years old — he is a precious creature, and I adore him with all my heart. That being said, I have to admit that being a mom brings many emotions: love, guilt, devotion, stress, joy, and even pain. I can't deny that when I look at his baby picture on the fridge every day, I cry a little. It's not that I don't enjoy the age he is, but I do miss him being a baby. There's nothing wrong with that, is there? Babies smell delicious. Their skin is soft and squishy. They are tiny, and they fit right in your arms. Babies don't kick you in the gut and laugh. They don't scream at you to get their milk cup or tell you to go away or pitch a fit because their Play-Doh fell on the floor.
I've recently decided to take some time off work to focus on my child and my college career. Since doing so, I've opened up a whole new can of worms. Here are the top six reasons I cry while being a stay-at-home mom.
- I'm desperate for adult conversation. Sure, they can talk by age 3, but the conversations usually consist of: "Hey mom, can I get a skittle?" "Help me; I'm stuck," "I want Grandma," and "May I get down, please?" (at least he has manners).
- I'm lonely. Being alone with a toddler for more than eight hours is a daunting task. As stated above, most conversations are one-way, and they can leave you feeling empty. I'm not a big TV person, but at least when my son was a baby I could turn on HGTV. Now that he's aware of everything, he demands all of my attention, and sometimes I just need to catch my breath.
- I need to sleep. Any mom knows that a child's naptime is sacred. Don't call me, knock on my door, text me, or even tag me in a Facebook post. Because if I'm napping with my kiddo and it wakes me up, consider yourself unfriended on Facebook.
- I'm being smothered, yet I crave physical touch. It's a double-edged sword, I know, but the amount of time my son spends pulling my hair, hitting me, choking me (sometimes with love), head-butting me, or just clinging to me is exhausting. It almost creates a physical barrier that my boyfriend has to work hard to break through. When Jax was a baby, he just snuggled up in my arms, and it felt so wonderful. He is so physically strong now that every day I have a new bruise or pain somewhere on my body. All I want is for him to crawl onto my lap and lie still in my arms, which only happens when he's sick.
- I just need a little peace and quiet. And I don't mean sleep — I'm talking about going two seconds without having a child scream in my ear, follow me to the bathroom (I can't even pee alone), bang his toys on the floor, or play "You've Got a Friend in Me" on repeat.
- The days are long, but the years are short. Even though I reminisce about Jax being a baby, I also recognize how little he still is and how fast he is growing. I can look back to when he was a baby and remember feeling almost as overwhelmed, and I still miss it with all of my heart. In a few years, I'm sure I will feel exactly the same about the stage we're in now. Children are special and have an innocence that I wish we could all carry with us for life. They are fragile beings and demand our best selves. That's why every mom and/or dad needs a helping hand and someone to look them in the eye and say, "Good job."