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Mommy Needs a Break

Today, after my two-and-a-half-year-old whined and cried all day over everything and my seventh-month-old would not quiet or nap for a moment to let me catch my breath, I called my husband and told him what has been swirling in my head for a few weeks now.

“I can’t do it,” I told him in between my sobs, my two-year-old’s sobs, and my seventh-month-old’s screams.

“Hard day?” I can hear him shift plans or papers or something on his desk. He’s paying attention to me, really, he is, but I can detect a hint of here we go again.

“I need them to start daycare fulltime—earlier than November 13th.” I start teaching all week November 17th, so it was already planned that the boys would go to daycare fulltime—eventually. “Maybe the start of November.”

By now, my two-year-old has given up on me paying attention to him and is watching TV. The TV is always on at my house; either Noggin’ (I thank God for Noggin’!) or one of my shows. But it’s a lifesaver lately. I can drown out my kids or they can drown me out—or we all drown each other out at the same time, like now.

“I know it’ll mean more money.” I hate that my inability to take care of the kids is costing us money that I can’t bring in with my teaching. “I just ...” No need to finish because he knows what I just can’t do anymore.

I feel for my husband. Some days I honestly don’t know why he has stayed with me. Why he hasn’t just taken the boys and left me. I feel like I contribute less and less these days, and I live in fear that one day he will just lash out at me and tell me that I need to suck it up and get over myself, my depression or whatever it is that day that I am stewing about.

I feel like ever since my first was born, I have quickly gone from able-to-function to barely-want-to-get-out-of-bed-and-shower. Okay, I’m never able to stay in bed all day, my gosh, I have two sons to take care of, but that’s what I wish for when I hear the first morning’s squawks from my baby. I roll over, put the pillow to my head, and wish that Mary Poppins would fly down our chimney (okay, we don’t have a chimney, but you get the picture) and whisk my baby boy into her arms, lull him back to sleep, get my oldest’s breakfast ready and have him sit quietly until mommy has had enough sleep.

I can here it now, “Just a spoonful of sugar ...” And she’d snap her fingers and the toys would immediatly come to life and march to their rightful place of rest. And mommy, oh yes, poor tired, frazzled, depressed mommy could be at home, but not really be at home because she could drift from bed to hot bubble bath to lunch to watching her soaps to the dinner table and a nice already prepared hot meal and tuck her wee-ones into bed with giant hugs and kisses for poor old mommy.

Pish-posh, I say. There’s no such thing as a Mary Poppins! No such thing as a mother who can stay at home and really feel put-together and alive and happy and not like she was just sucked up into the engine of a Boeing 747. All these stay at home moms I know must really be miserable because they always have a smile plastered on their faces and barely raise their voice above a whisper when correcting their child, who has now stuffed god knows what down their toilet or hit her or their sibling (or both) with a devilish grin and a wicked laugh. I want to shake this mother and yell, “My god, woman, yell, stomp, throw your arms up in defeat or do something that shows you are in there somewhere in that Stepford body.” But I don’t. I just smile and watch and envy her composure when I know if it were me, I’d be snapping and pouting and crying and calling my husband to get home because, “I just can’t do it anymore.”

So, the decision has been made. My husband has notified the daycare that my two very lovable and really good and normal children (they truly are very good kids—I am just not a very good mother) will start fulltime next week. And mommy will get her break.

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