5 Reasons Motherhood is a Lot Like Prison.

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*Advanced apologies to any actual prison inmates, employees, etc… This is just the ranting of a SAHM.

I feel like a prisoner.

Maybe its because I’ve been binge watching Prison Break on Netflix but my 14 month old son is that asshole guard Bellick.  Really, my 14 month old is not an asshole.  He is sweet and adorable and smiles and laughs at me all day and I wouldn’t smile nearly as much if I didn’t have all of his joy to reflect.  (I just had to take him away from digging in the trash – seriously his favorite thing to do.)  But the mofo is stuck on me like glue…maybe Bellick is the wrong comparison but it is because of this guy that I cannot do a damn thing in peace or privacy, so it kind of feels like prison.

The other 3 kids could be inmates, guards, wardens, corrupt members of the legal system….it doesn’t really matter who you analogize them to be, it feels like they are all ruining my life.  No.  I don’t mean that.  The guilt I feel for thinking, saying or typing that is immeasurable – only I truly can’t even shit alone, so it kind of feels like I’m in prison (without all the impending doom I imagine).

  1. I don’t get to set my own schedule. Wake up time is when the youngest wakes up. His demands of, “Up! I wanna walk!” (which sounds like “ehhh!!!! onna awlk!!!!”) incite me into action before he’ll alert the other inmates (children) or warden (husband) with his insubordination.
  2. The food sucks! Some might say that at least I get to pick what I eat, but the reality is:  I can spend time making something I like (whilst tripping over a toddler and fending off a hundred other unwanted advances), only for the kids to refuse to eat it and demand 87 other things. By the time I get any leftovers, they are cold, unappealing and I’m too damn tired to eat anyway. Or they actually like the food and clear their plates, requesting seconds before I have a chance to sit down, and when I finally find the time to make myself a plate, the pan is empty. My calories mostly come from the leftovers I scrape from the high chair tray and wine (where there is no doubt, my life is full of a beautiful freedom of choice between dry reds, fruity whites, bubbly mixes, and everything in between!).
  3. Yard time is mandatory. Like it or not, we are going outside. Just listen to the toddler yell “Ow-ide!!!” (“outside”) as he deftly flips the deadbolt and sprints across the yard (barefoot and wearing nothing but a diaper nonetheless!). Unfortunately, these outings don’t follow a routine schedule (see #1) and frequently occur when I am on the phone, the toilet, or otherwise indisposed.
  4. I’m subject to unannounced searches. The things I ‘hide’ in my nightstand drawer do not remain hidden. If i take the time to brush my teeth, a minor will take the time to rifle through my drawers and that is an awkward conversation! Likewise, that candy bar I stealthily purchased at the grocery store and swiftly stowed away inside my purse was promptly discovered when I was desperately trying to distract my screaming child in the doctor’s waiting room.
  5. Don’t drop the soap! This might not be as painful in my life as it is in prison, but it is probably equally unpleasant. While bending over to retrieve dropped soap in prison can lead to a violation, dropping the soap with a toddler in tow will lead to said toddler man-handling said soap. Anyone who has ever Googled home remedies for constipation knows soap = defecation. This is a lose-lose situation either way!

I’m only 10 years into a life sentence, and I gotta say, solitary confinement doesn’t sound so bad!

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Motherhood is Tearing Me Apart

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Today started like any other day.

I tried to sneak out of bed quietly and limit the number of chit’lins I was up against – failed miserably.
Picked up the baby, went to the girls’ room and told them to get dressed and come downstairs. Pretended the 3 year old was still asleep and went downstairs myself (baby in tow, of course – myself is actually a synonym now meaning me+baby).

I prepared an awesome home lunch for the kindergartner (I included a Ziploc of blueberries to round out the Lunchable) and thought we would make it out the door in plenty of time, but was thwarted by a 10 year old who insisted it was okay to wear flip flops to school, despite having been specifically instructed otherwise just yesterday morning. The girls disembarked from the minivan 2 minutes AFTER the last bell – for the 2nd time this week (and it’s only Wed.)

Needing stress relief, I came home and indulged in 2 bowls of cocoa puffs which I keep hidden on the top shelf behind some bags of dried soup in the pantry. I felt a twinge of guilt as I left my 3 year old watching cartoons on Netflix while I went upstairs to put the baby down for a nap, but did it anyway. Tried to make up for it by snuggling with him on the couch when I got back downstairs, but was torn by the feeling I should be using that time to handle a few of the to-do’s I never get around to when the baby is up. The rest of the day went on like that – feeling torn between the things I wanted to do, the things I needed to do, and the things they wanted.

I’ve come to realize I can really only do TWO things adequately at any given time. I can 1) take care of my family, and 2) maintain my home, or I can 1) take care of my family, and 2) do my job*. Like any mother, I am usually worrying about whether or not the way I ‘take care of my family’ is good enough; shouldn’t the kids be in extracurricular activities for enrichment? Shouldn’t they be given more freedom and independence and time outside? Shouldn’t they be more closely supervised? Shouldn’t they be doing more around the house? Shouldn’t they be on an organic diet/getting more exercise/reading more/having less screen time, etc…? And where is my husband in all of this? Shouldn’t he be getting some play (literally and figuratively!)? And in addition to my three major responsibilities (family, home, work), there are eleventy billion other demands chiming in (why the hell am I wearing yoga pants if I haven’t ever done yoga?).

Where does that leave us (see, I speak in plural sometimes because I am never alone – and I hope, I beg, and I pray that you can relate so the “us” is even more applicable)? Being a mother has given meaning to my life, but it is coming at a very serious cost.

Have you figured out how to budget your time?

*my “job” is a beautifully flexible part-time arrangement of working from home as a writer/social media marketer