The Inertia of Overwhelm


I am drowning.

It is 9:30 am on the morning after halloween and all I want to do is go back to bed.  Since I can’t do that (read, the kids wont let me do that) I am mindlessly surfing Facebook while the ceaseless ticker of my motherhood runs relentlessly in the background.

You have dishes to do, again… The kids were up super early and breakfasted on halloween candy… I am a horrible mother.  I have been yelling too much these last few days… I am a horrible mother… How much time have they spent on screens this weekend? I am slipping.. need to get a handle on that.  There are deadlines…. so many deadlines.  And my writing.  Have I been doing that? Writing about what i really want to write about/? No.  Really need to get on that.  And there’s the fighting, about everything.  Do we really need to fight all the time?  How do I fix that? I am the only one who can…. and I don’t know how.  There’s bills to pay, a trip to get ready for, a parent council meeting agenda to write, plus the floor needs to be swept for the ten millionth time.  Also, do they have homework? Did I check for that Friday? I can’t remember, better check now…

and so it goes… endlessly.

The trouble is, when I get into this place, all I want to do is hide.  I want to hide in social media, and under my bedclothes and forget the world exists.  I want to disappear.  The endless list of what needs to be done is like the weight of ten thousand bricks on my shoulders, pinning me to the feeling of never having done enough, never being on it enough to feel successful.

Right at the time when I need to be present to what is in front of me, I want to hide and pretend none of it exists.  I want to sell my children to the lowest bidder, pack a back pack and head for the hills to meditate, eat grass and drop out of the world.

All of this is roiling beneath the surface and what comes out is inevitably a growl.  That they are not good enough, that they don’t try hard enough and that they don’t care about me at all.

And I feel so alone.

I reach this point every so often, where I am over done on motherhood and I need to reconnect to myself a remember who I am inside.  This often comes when I have let go of some of my precious practices in favour of sleep and haven’t meditated in a day or so, relaxed or done any yoga. Taking care of me sometimes becomes just another chore on the endless list of things I need to accomplish.

It is at this point that I know I need a break.

These are such a precious commodity in motherhood, these breaks where we reconnect to ourselves.  And they are all the more important because we have to claim time for them from the never ending list of tasks we must complete for others.  It is territory that we cannot cede to dutiful side, the part that wants to subsume itself in the relentless demands of motherhood, because let’s face it, we love our children with every piece of ourselves.  We love them with every breath and every heartbeat and every ounce of energy we have.  It is a herculean task to hold some of that back so that we have enough for ourselves, so that we can continue to pour ourselves into motherhood with such passion that they never doubt the intensity of our love for them.  We fear that if they forget, they will be damaged and it will be our fault.

But what if we forget? What if we forget that in order to love them with the intensity of the sun, we must not lose our inner spark? What if we forget that we are worthy of our time? Will the women we used to be disappear? Will there be a mother left to love them?

If we disappear underneath the load of motherhood, there will not be a mother left to love them.  We will be a shadow, teaching them that they must always come last to the demands of others and that losing ourselves is ok.  And it’s not.

Kids don’t know how to love us like we need to be loved.  That’s our job.

And so, maybe today I have been reminded again that in order to be the mother I wish to be, I must first take time to nurture the person that I am.

This is a lesson we return to over and over again.  We get it, and then it slips away.  Then we relearn it, and it slips away again.  These are the seasons of life, of motherhood.

I forget sometimes, I know you do too.

It’s okay.  You’re not alone.

And neither am I.

3 thoughts on “The Inertia of Overwhelm

Add yours

  1. I tweeted and then I thought, I should reblog this. It’s very well written and even though my children are quite grown and flown, it resonates to my very core. I guess what I’d like to share as a grandmother to eight lovely little people (and a couple aren’t so little anymore) is that they will in all likelihood be finer than fine despite or because of all your care and worry. However, self-care is critical. You are right when you say that if you disappear there will be no mother for them and hence no mothering. Just keep chanting … I am good enough/I am a good enough mother. It kept me alive and probably those six little people who were in my care much of the time. Best to you, Stephanie…you are doing just fine.

    1. Thank you so much for the reblog 🙂 I know it’s a journey, and I have learned it’s better to share than to keep it to myself. This is part of my path. To help others realize that these things they feel are normal and that we all feel them.

      The entry itself could use a bit of an edit for typos, but I almost feel like they underscore the overwhelm so I want to leave them 🙂

  2. Good reminder. Shared with my daughter on Facebook…it will resonate with her and I imagine many of her friends. I needed this when I was raising kids..

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