commiseration

Last Thursday, the day I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to a raging bladder infection, I drove Lyd to her dance class at 4pm, and as usual, Jujubee tagged along.  The dance teacher happened to leave the door open to the class, so Jujubee and I stood near the doorway and watched the girls doing their organized warm ups.  I had planned to go home and start supper, but Jujubee was intently watching what her big sister was doing, and I didn’t want to end the experience for her.  And, frankly, I was really tired, and standing there seemed like less work than walking back to the car and driving home.

As I was standing there, another mom whom I’ve seen before outside this dance class touched my arm and said, “Hello.”  I turned and greeted her back, and she said, “I’m sorry, but I’ve forgotten your name.”  I told her my name, and then said that I’d forgotten hers, too.  She reminded me of her name, G, and then I asked her where her kids were.  Being moms who both have daughters in the same dance class, we’ve chatted before.  Her daughter is in first grade, just like Lyd, her son is just a few months younger than Jujubee, and she has a baby boy who just turned one.  On this day, her kids were at home with her husband, so she was more free to chat than usual.  We ended up sitting on one of the couches in the lobby and having a good conversation, while Jujubee played at the toy table and then made some friends with some rambunctious boys who were also waiting in the lobby.  Jujubee had a good time. 🙂

I ended up having a much-needed heartwarming conversation with G.  We commiserated over how busy and tired we were.  I said that for the past month, I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to get my feet under me.  I can’t get meals planned, I am only getting the basics done around the house, and outside of planning for birthday parties and pastor parties and household guests, nothing else special is really getting done.  The bills are getting paid on time, but my receipts and paperwork, which I should be keeping organized on a weekly, if not daily, basis, are all being tossed into a box that is already overly full.  It just seems like I can’t get caught up, and definitely can’t get ahead.  “And,” I added, “Now I just had a miscarriage which is exhausting on so many levels, and this morning I woke up with a bladder infection.  All I want to do is get away from everything for a while.”

She listened, and then shared stories of her own.  She, too, has felt swamped lately, and while her story is not mine to tell, she shared with me her own unique situation.  I know I can be chatty, but I’m pretty sure I kept my mouth shut enough to give her at least as much talking time as me, and I was proud of that.  It was good to know that I’m not the only mother feeling overwhelmed, and just the knowledge that I am not alone was incredibly helpful to me.

I’ve felt like a bit of a failure as a homemaker lately.  I don’t feel like a failure as a mother, because my kids are doing well and are emotionally healthy and I’m so proud of them.  And meals are getting made, dishes are getting washed regularly, clothes are being washed and dried, and the bills are getting paid, so I’m not a failure in that department.  But the whole “making a home” thing is not seeming to happen at all.  And I wish it could happen.  I have dreams of what our home could be like, but I can’t seem to turn them into reality.  Frankly, I’m not sure if I even know how to make them a reality.

I was rereading the book “Anne of Ingleside” recently (I bring that book out about once a year), and as I read, I pondered what a difference it would be to have a “Susan” living with me, like Anne did.  To have another woman around all the time, to help out with the cooking and cleaning.  If I had that, I’d probably be rested enough that I, too, could have six kids by this time, just like Anne does in that book.  I’d love the companionship and commiseration, and I would love the implicit accountability that comes from having another woman around.

That’s not likely to happen; I’m not likely to get my own “Susan.”  But it’s good to have another mother to talk to who is in the trenches of motherhood like me, trying to give her kids a decent childhood.

My new mom friend asked me if she could put my phone number in her cell phone.  I hope she actually does give me a call sometime.  I’d like to get to know her better.  And it’s always nice to make a new friend.  Talking to someone usually doesn’t solve any problems, but it certainly makes them easier to bear.

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