It's Just Not Funny

It's been quiet around here. I wish I was talking about my house, but unfortunately I'm talking about the ol' blog. And I wish my silence was due to the fact that I'm soooo busy living this full, vibrant life that I don't possibly have time to write, but nothing could be further from the truth. To be honest, I've been in a pretty big slump lately.  I mean, how many times can I write about laundry? Or various messes? I've been blogging here for over two years now. And the phrase "same shit, different day" was obviously created to perfectly sum up my life. Go back to my archives - what was I blogging about? The same stuff. Housework. Children. Unwanted hair. A body that the gestation of three children has ravaged until it is sagged, stretched, and ripply in places I didn't even know could freaking ripple.

My life isn't about me. I'm not even sure who I am any more. I feel like someone else is driving, and that I'm just sitting in the back seat, staring out the window as the world quickly passes me by. I used to have ambition, but I can't seem to find it any more. Every dream I ever had - even the ones that I once felt were well within my reach - now make up this vague list of "things I would like to do that will most likely never happen." The ambitious girl I once was seems to have retreated into this gray area that I can no longer access. Obscurity and mediocrity. Existence versus living.

This morning, within an hour of getting up, I was in tears. I stayed in bed for a few extra minutes with the baby asleep beside me, even though Colin and Cameron were already up; what a mistake. I woke up to cereal (with milk) on the couch, cat puke on the floor, and pee in Cameron's bed (yet his nighttime Pull-Up was completely dry; go figure). By the time I cleaned everything up, my morning schedule was already lagging far behind. Then there was a lost shoe that we never did find. We were later than usual getting to school, which will throw Colin off - because he does best on a regular schedule. Which means that, undoubtedly, I will get yet another note from the teacher in his planner tonight. "Colin had a bad day ..."

I could go on and on about the same old stuff, you know? About how I feel like I work my ass off with absolutely nothing to show for it. I'm forever cleaning something, yet my house is never as spotless and sparkling as I want it to be. The laundry? I do it daily, often more than once. Yet there are always dirty clothes piling up somewhere. I'm perpetually frustrated. All this work. All this effort. Endless. And for what? Certainly not an effing paycheck.

I can't even put into words how disappointed I am with myself, with the grown-up that I became. If you had asked me at sixteen or seventeen what I'd be doing at thirty, I'd have outlined a clear plan that included a college degree, and at least one published book under my belt. I would never have said, "Well, gee, I'll be a housewife-slash-occasional writer who wipes butts and provides 24/7 maid and laundry service." I never thought I'd lose my passion for writing, but I barely even enjoy doing it any more, because the things I write to bring in money aren't the things I want to write. I feel like it's not even worth doing. My husband works very hard at his job, and he enjoys it. It fulfills him. He complains sometimes, but he's very good at what he does. He gets to go on business trips. He gets promotions. He gets emails from his boss about what a valuable asset to the team he is. He brings home the bacon. And I? Am just ... here.

I feel like I've traded in the life I'd planned for this. Like, I don't know how to be a person and a wife and mother: I can only do one or the other. But I'm so afraid to complain. I don't even know if I'm going to publish this, and if I do, I'm afraid to leave the comments enabled. Because, yeah, I'm aware that it could be worse. I'm aware that I could have lost my house - or worse, my family - in a tornado or an earthquake or a tsunami; I thank God that I didn't, and pray for those who have. And I'm not saying I don't love my husband and our kids, or that I wish I'd done something different. I just wish I knew how to be me, still.

I'm trying to look on the bright side. I know it doesn't sound like it here, but I'm trying. When you feel like you've left behind all that you ever thought you'd be, though, and that you're failing at life in general ... it's hard. I feel like a shadow of my former self. A lukewarm wife. A mediocre mother. Treading water. Going nowhere. Contributing nothing significant. Mothering is not enough, and even if it were, I don't do it all that well - believe me.

I'm scared to death that I'll get old, look back on my life and see so much wasted time. If I keep on this way, that's exactly what's going to happen. Yet I don't even know where to begin to change it ... what I can do to make it different. Because if I saw a solution, I would've done it already.

I'm sorry if you came here today to read something funny. I just don't have any funny in me right now. I feel like an abandoned house: empty, deteriorated ... waiting. 
                     

30 comments:

  1. That wasted time you'll see when you get older? That's called BLOGGING. Seriously, keep your head up and your butt low. That's the best advice I can give you. I've been in a bit of slump for almost a year now, and while mine isn't accented by kids defecating or throwing up on my personal effects, it's about to be. The best writing advice I can give you is to keep chugging along. I've said it once and I'll say it again. You're the only "mom" blogger that I even bother to read anymore, so that has to count for something. Also, if you want a return guest blog to liven it up around here, holla at ya boy.

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  2. I feel like I feel what youa re going through. I feel like almost every human mother who stays at home has felt this before. I mean I have been in a slump too and I write about imaginary wishes most of the time and those are even lost on my right now. I was supposed to be illustrating books by now and am not at all I started writting myown children's book but lost the heart for it. I don't know why I wrote such a long comment all I really wanted to say was you're not alone and if I find a way through the funk myself I will be more than willing to share the secret with you.

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  3. Anonymous3/5/11

    We are the same...but I'm looking down the barrel to 40. The other day I was dressed for a funeral and I asked my husband if I looked "Grown Up". He said,"You're 39, you are grown up"> Bummed me out for the rest of the day. Good post, keep it real.

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  4. Anonymous3/5/11

    I don't normally throw these things out there, but: If you have a chance, I would very highly recommend reading the *whole* book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Whether you come from that background or not, it speaks very practically in a straightforward way about these exact issues - no fluff. It may help. Worth a shot, huh?

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  5. You're only saying what the rest of us are feeling. If this is what I'm supposed to be doing than why is it so stinking hard???

    Sorry you're in the dumps and I wish I could tell you the way out of it but know that you're not alone in feeling how you feel.

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  6. Okay, first let me say I am glad you not just wrote this and hit the "publish" button, but also enabled your comments. For one thing, I am sure you touched the very core of many, many, many readers you have. They have either "been there" or "are there" and, if not, they will probably "be there" at some point in time. It is the nature of the life cycle. And it helps to know there are others who have experienced it. And, while this is all good and intended in good, probably none of it helps how you are feeling right now.

    But I say this because I have passed through this stage in my life. I remember being in my late 20s/early 30s and thinking "my life is going to be half over and I will have nothing to show for it, I won't be able to accomplish anything." Truth is, I did (and you know this already in the back of your head) accomplish something huge, as my children as adults are amazing people, and they will bless not just my life but others for a long time to come, as will yours.

    But then I found out this even more amazing and rewarding thing, I didn't lose all those years where I felt I was moving nowhere, I actually was building an education that would help me for my life now. Returning to school to finish (as I imagine you will too) was truly the beginning of a second life for me and I am enjoying and accomplishing all I had wanted and even more, things I had never dreamed of. I enjoy, embrace and seek after everything. I am having a wonderful time and I feel very entitled to it (I would have never felt that way when I was younger). I will be (gag) 50 in less than a year and it can be scary as hell, but yet, I feel better and more inspired than any other time in my life.

    And don't worry, you don't have to wait 20 years either. Once the baby starts school, you will start to feel that freedom. It starts slowly as you still are playing maid, taxi driver and social director, but by the time they reach their teens you will start to find yourself again. It is a process, but I PROMISE it comes.

    I know this is long-winded and probably not too helpful, but I just want to assure you that the best is still yet to come.... and in the meantime, I LOVE reading about your daily challenges, even the poop and puke! It brings me back to my memories and makes remember to enjoy the time of life I am at now as well. HUGS!

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  7. I believe you are preaching to the choir on this one. I feel the exact same. In that case, amen. (((hug)))

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  8. FOR REAL YO!!! I sat in my driveway and cried this morning!!! You are not alone and I think it is very normal to feel that way. I feel hopeless and wasted as well. Having kids may have not been all we thought it would be (absolutely life changing and moreso than even life changing sounds) but it is what it is and they will love you and everything you did for them for the rest of their lives. You are now the matriarch of what will be a huge family and all of their good memories in life will spawn from you. That is a pretty big deal.

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  9. Anonymous3/5/11

    I think all primary caregivers of young children feel this way at times(and it's mostly moms.) I am home with the little ones and have the same feelings you have. What keeps me going is that my children are thriving (as it seems yours are) and i look at my mom and other ladies in their 40s, 50s nad even 60s, and they have awesome lives now, interesting careers or hobbies, personal time at the gym or spa, time with grandbabies, and they survived these days of little ones and remember what it was like.

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  10. I could've written this eloquent post about a year ago. I was in a dead end job, no college degree, mom to a toddler, a 10 year old, and step-mom to a 9, 14, and 17 year old, and T-totally miserable. I was in the biggest slump of the 30 years I'd been in existence. Something had to change, and it did.

    I put myself first for once. A dear friend got in my face and told me the old adage "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." And she wasn't sugar coating anything. And didn't say it in the most polite voice. But she knew I needed to hear it.

    My dream was to become a nurse. I applied for school, and started back part time. Last March, I lost my job, and started going full time. Even though school kicks my ass most semesters, I feel like someone again. I know that my dream will become a reality. But...I feel alive again.

    Is there a class you could take at a local collage, maybe? Or a hobby that you enjoy that meets once or twice a month? Just enough time for you to get out of the house and feel like a grown up, and have conversation that don't involve poop and boogers?

    Not gonna lie...it wasn't easy at first. But once I had my entire family on board, and had their help we have gotten into a nice routine.

    And I feel alive.

    And my family feels and sees it.

    Keep your chin up. We all get in these slumps, and that's why I so love reading blogs such as these. It affirms that life isn't all about butterflies and unicorns. People struggle. It's normal. But we have others to help lift us up and keep going. You're making a huge step by posting this, and allowing comments.

    Thank you.

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  11. I can't honestly say I am exactly there (I am the one who gets to go to work each day...) but the rest is true. It is hard. I don't know how women have done it forever. The chores are endless and everything is so exhausting. It is OK.

    As for your Blog- We all enjoy the same rants, 'cause guess what? we are all there too.

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  12. Virtual hugs coming your way, lady.

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  13. Anonymous3/5/11

    I have been giving my husband this rant every other day for the past several months! I stay home with my 3 year old son and 18 month old daughter and I so hear you! I am a musician and I didn't think I'd be "just" doing this all day every day either. It's really hard. And the messes NEVER END! ARGH! Hang in there and blame it on the weather if you have to! haha.. I live in Minnesota and it's been horrific and depressing BIG TIME. You are inspiring to me and the highlight of my day sometimes is reading your blog. HUGS! Candice

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  14. Hmmm....sounds like somebody needs to start taking a jazzercise class.

    (HA HA HA! Just wanted to be the most USELESS comment you get today and I'm pretty sure I succeeded!)

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  15. Ok, I was totally kidding with that last comment...just trying to make you smile a bit. Sounds like you need to.

    I do find the timing of this post ironic for me because I just put in my 2 weeks notice at my job so I could be a SAHM to my 4 boys (ages 7 and under). So while I have fantasized about not having to go to a useless, meaningless job every day, where YES I get an "effing paycheck" but certainly no accolades from my boss, you ache for something more and most likely outside the home. The grass is ALWAYS greener, for sure.

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  16. You are 100% normal. I don't really think I have anything new, or better to add to all the comments already given here. Thing is, lifes a bitch. We have highs, we have lows. I SO know the lows right now. BUT, the good news is, these things pass, and we can look back at that hard times, the sad days, the whatevers and realize we learned something, or grew from the experience.

    It's ok to not be funny all the time. I have to tell myself that too. It's ok to be real, to have real emotions and sadness.

    Just know that you ARE clearly a great Mom. You are doing the greatest job and service there possibly is, in being at home with your children. Someday (much sooner than we realize) they will be thanking you for always being there and taking such good care of them.

    Hang in there friend.
    Oh, and also, I agree with those that say you need to get out and do something for yourself. At some point, you just have to say....screw it people. Mama needs ALONE time and make it happen.

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  17. It must be in the air. I just published today about who I am today compared with who I thought I'd be when I thought of my adult self as a child. Some things are different. Some things seemed to have turned out similar. But it's just life.

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  18. Rita, some of your exact words I bawled to my husband about 6 mos ago. It may not have been that long, but it was right around the last time I emailed you about the post you wrote about your Grandma being proud of her home and that's why she always worked so hard at it. I was going through a really rough period and it sounded a lot like yours now. You are not alone and what you're doing is the most important job you will ever have. Glamorous, no. But important, yes! I am going to use your words about your husbands job to get my point across: You work very hard at your job. It is worth doing! You are good at what you do (albeit taking care of the kids (hey, everyone is alive and well, right!? or writing.) You are good at what you do! You are the most valuable asset to your team! They would never "win" without you! And he may bring home most of the bacon, but you bring some home AND cook it! DO NOT SHORT CHANGE WHAT YOU DO!!! It is who you are right now. It will not be what you always are. Luckily we get many stages to change through out our lives, otherwise we would be stuck as useless infants, and never make it to the know-it-all teenagers or self- centered 20 somethings. Keep your chin up! Find something to laugh about or someone to laugh at! It will help. And you'll get your groove back. Give yourself time. Your readers aren't going anywhere! : )

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  19. You have gotten some great comments today, mainly because you put out there how you feel and a ton of us feel this way. thanks for your honesty I could have written that post, but I don't have the guts all of the time. I blog, own a small business, have been interviewing for a job cuz we need more money and just had the same talk with my husband about cleaning, feeling worthless, why do I do what I do for my kids? etc.

    Hang in there pretty lady. Keep your chin up, if you can...but go get alone time, it's the only thing that makes me feel better after venting!

    Love the blog, don't stop you are amazing!

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  20. I wonder if anyone's life ever really turns out the way they imagined it as a child? Mine certainly hasn't! But I can honestly say I've had almost everything I ever truly longed for,just not all at the same time. I thought by now I'd have at least one book on the best-seller list, be financially able to retire and travel, and still have a great body. Those things haven't happened, but that doesn't mean they can't still happen. Just gives me more things to look forward to!

    You're doing a great job in this very busy and self-sacrificing phase of your life. The universal problem with most moms - including you - is that while we're great at nurturing others, we aren't so adept at nurturing ourselves. Now that the weather is getting warmer and daylight is longer, take an hour or two a week to just go somewhere and write by yourself. Sit in a park....or in a parking lot! Just enjoy the silence where you can collect your own thoughts. And call your mother....she's been right where you are. I love you!XXXOOO

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  21. It's never too late to go back to school (and yes, I have students with a bunch of kids too!) - but it's way cheaper if you already know what you want, so make sure you decide that in advance :) Good luck!

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  22. I understand. I was supposed to have my p.H.D in Archeology and be in some foreign country digging up evidence of past civilization and making fabulous discoveries about human kind right now... That was the plan. I feel for you, it is so easy to lose yourself, especially when the babies start coming. Looking up one day and going "Who in the eff am I and how did I get here?" really sucks. A (((hug))) for you

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  23. It sucks. It's not funny. You do feel like you're wasting your life and who you are as a person.

    And you're not alone. It doesn't make it any better, but you aren't alone.

    And as crazy as it sounds to you: you're normal! ROFL

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  24. As I read this, my heart broke for you. But, as I read further all the things you feel inadequate about are things I want! You are a wife, a mom and keep a household. How COOL is that? I mean back in the day it used to take a village to raise a child. I'm pretty sure you are doing a spectacular job (with husband).

    Yes, you are funny.
    Yes you have uphill battles to climb.
    There might be boulders in the way, but nothing you can't walk around or climb over.

    What's really in your way to chasing your dreams? Time? Money? A husband who doesn't support your dreams? Those things are all roadblocks that can be overcome. So I say, lean on your blogger friends and put a small TO DO list together of things you want to accomplish. Start small and choose things that are obtainable. Nothing better than crossing things off and feeling completed. Heck, if you only have one blogger supporter, lean on me. But, I doubt I will be the only person. My guess is you'll have an army of cheerleaders.

    Don't let the blues or your sadness get in the way. Trust me. I just hit 35 and while it has taken me a LONG while to obtain some of my dreams, I don't ever want to stop believing [insert Journey lyrics here].

    Keep your head up, kid.

    Best,
    AmericanBridget

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  25. Yep. Ditto. And ditto. And ditto. I get exhausted sometimes picking the same 27 effing toys off the floor for the 87th time. Being a mom is the most natural thing in the world, right? It should be easy. But its not. It's hard, and sometimes it's very rewarding, but mostly it's just... expected that we do all these things for everyone else. I'd offer advice, but I don't have any. I'm just putting this out there so you know you're not alone. You're not.

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  26. Anonymous5/5/11

    As a mom to 3 small children and another on the way, I just wanted to say that I know exactly how you feel. Expressed to my husband JUST last night that I really don't even know what I do everyday. I do it, but I don't even really know what I DO. There are so many things I'd love to be able to do, that I just can't because someone has to watch, feed, change, clean up after, and discipline the children. We're in the process of buying a house and my husband gets to do all the "grown up" things and I'm "stuck" watching kids...I don't feel like a grown-up most of the time because I don't get to DO grown-up things. Life sucks sometimes, but...take pride in knowing your boys are happy and healthy. It'll keep you going...

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  27. Wow, you could have been inside my head and written out my feelings exactly with this post. Its so re-assuring that nearly everyone else feels the same way too. No Advise here as i feel lost without answers also, I just want something else and its not this....

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  28. I'm so glad that I read this, maybe if I read it a few days ago, I'd be like, fine... Rita has shit to deal with too, just like me... I need to suck it up.

    Grass is greener, la-la-la. We both know the story.

    Chin up.

    I'm trying.

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  29. (delurking) I exist in both yours and your husband's worlds - I have a job outside of the home, I get praised by my boss, still waiting for the raise though. I also come home and wipe noses and butts. I also feel like all I do is continually clean. And I also feel like I'm a mediocre wife and mom. And I don't particularly like to write. But I've lost my muse for life. I know a lot of us who feel the same, yet we've got slightly different circumstances. I keep hoping that if the sun would come out for more than a day at a time it will get better. I don't think the grass is greener, I just think it's different. We just have to keep trying.

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  30. It is good to know others feel the same or have felt the same. I know I've been feeling this way recently as well as a stay-at-home mom of two boys. I'm also a new blogger and for what it's worth, your blog is one that inspired me to start, so thanks!

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