Being a mother is a never-ending job. It doesn't matter how tired or crabby you may feel, you are still "on" if your kids need you. If your spouse or a friend needs something from you, the option is there to tell them, "Not right now. I'm exhausted and I can't help you."
For small children that tactic doesn't work very well. They keep coming and coming, with the tenacity of the tide pushing up to the shore. I crammed too much into my day yesterday and hit a wall of fatigue about 5:30 pm.
I was trying to re-read my first assigned magazine article and found myself frustrated with the flow of the piece. It's outside of my comfort zone to write a researched article on a topic without personal commentary. It's a good thing to be stretched and feel slightly out of our depth, but at the time it's hard on the self confidence.
I just really wanted to focus, to get the article done and off my to-do list. William had other ideas. "Mom, look at this. Guess what I stored inside my pirate ship? Ava won't share her Polly mall with me and I want to make the elevator go up and down!" And on and on it went. I focus for 30 seconds, and am interrupted. I long for the day when I can settle down with my ideas and my pen for longer than 30 second increments.
Then I tried again to get my eyebrows waxed in the evening, after attempting to get them done in the afternoon, and both times the person wasn't available to do them. A small frustration, to be sure, but often the smallest inconveniences add up to create the worst moods. I came home, sat back down at the computer, and found my mind wouldn't work properly so I couldn't fix the problems with my article.
I flopped onto the couch to watch American Idol and zone out. I wanted no more little voices or demands on me. Suddenly William started crying out from his room, "I don't want mommy to go get her eyebrows done...I want mommy to stay here with me!" He was literally wailing, and I felt smothered by his transparent need for me.
Ava's independence is comfortable for me; William's desperation is not. I told Jason last night that William is not going to be able to function in the world the way he is now. He's too vulnerable and needy. I keep trying to offer him security so he will have the confidence to make his way in the world, and then he wails for me like he did last night, and I feel like I'm failing in my job as a parent.
I know we all need each other in life, but William takes it to the extreme. I have to remember that he is only 4 years old, but some days I'm not sure age is going to matter with him. Being a mom means digging deep and finding that last bit of energy and patience that you didn't know you possessed. It's sacrificing your own needs so your child's will be met. It's often unnoticed, thankless and exhausting. It's motherhood, and it's important.