A “Morally Exhausted” Navel-Gazer

By: Sheana Ochoa

 

I’m writing under duress because my son is crying as my fiancé puts antibiotic drops in his ears.  Once they’re done, he will come to mommy and I will have to stop writing because he is going to want me to rock him or play hide and seek or get him something to drink.  So, here he is and well, I didn’t guess correctly: He wants to read a book.  I’ll be back shortly . . .

When I awoke yesterday morning, I felt resentment towards my son, this baby I chose to have on my own to love and nurture and rear to be a well-adjusted, thoughtful human being.  The feeling was new.  I’d never felt resentment towards him, not when he woke me every two hours to nurse in the beginning, not when he whacks me in the face, not even after the time he embarrassed me in the grocery store screaming because I didn’t give him the cookies he wanted.  Those things are part of being a good, patient mother.

What I resented yesterday was opening an email from a good friend to discover she wouldn’t be attending my wedding because her mother has an operation scheduled in May and she will have to take care of her and that was as far as I read before Noah began screaming at me because I was reading an email instead of watching Jurassic Park with him.  What I resented was that one of my other best girlfriends returned from Germany last weekend. I haven’t seen her in five years or met her two sons and I haven’t had a minute to even talk to her on the phone.  What I resent is that I have this blog due tomorrow morning and I don’t like doing things last-minute (which, as you can see I’m writing now and everything’s okay).  What I resent is I have a good friend from Japan and I haven’t had a chance to call him and see if his family back home is all right.  What I resent is that my eyebrows aren’t plucked, my hair is dirty, the house is a clutter.  I resent that I’m writing this without my glasses and my eyes are burning because I’m afraid if I stand up and look for them, my son will notice me and realize I’m not paying attention to him.

This, like every feeling, will pass.  But, while I’m feeling it, I’m not going to beat myself up.  In desperation yesterday morning, I called a mentor of mine to confess how self-centered I was being and how it was wreaking havoc on my state of mind.  She told me it wasn’t my job to write a blog or clean the house.  My job, she told me, was to be the best mother I could be today.  That made me feel better.  For about an hour.

Another strange phenomenon I’m noticing in addition to the self-centeredness: blame.  I remember when I was in prenatal yoga class with several other moms-to-be who all had significant others except me.  I remember how happy I was throughout my pregnancy even when I couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep or when I couldn’t stand up straight the last month because of Braxton Hicks contractions.  (Ironically, I was just interrupted, not by my two year old, but by my fiancé who needed me to get an itch on his back real quick, which of course called attention to my presence and the fact that I wasn’t paying attention to my son and now he’s whining.)  Where was I?  My point is we all, my fellow yoga mamas and I, had things to complain about –from swollen ankles to sleep deprivation –and what I noticed is these women took it out on their partners.  Why didn’t they help around the house more, massage their feet, make dinner once in a while?  And I, having no one to blame, reveled in the good and the bad of the miracle of life growing inside of me.

Now that I have a significant other, I noticed these past two days that not only was I resentful towards my son, I was angry at my fiancé.  Why?  Because I was, as he said this morning when we woke up, “morally exhausted.”  That got a much needed laugh out of me and put me in my place.  I don’t know why we take things out on the ones we love, but here I have been extremely intolerant, probably even a wee bit irrational with my poor husband-to-be when the problem is me.  I just haven’t been accepting that my un-met agenda is not important enough to ruin my day, or anyone else’s.

Here’s my angel, all three feet of him, staring at me with that puppy-dog plea, actually waiting for me to address him instead of hitting my leg and shouting “Mama!” which is the usual protocol for gaining my attention from the computer. And so I have to go.  It isn’t the best way to end a blog, but I have to go.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Sheana, take a breath. All will be righted and tasks put in their places. We all have days like this without all the things on your plate. A fiance, a wedding, a little one and lots of “things” that must get done. We take out our frustrations on the ones we know that can take it and still love us at the end of the day. Love you lots and wish I could help you with some of your tasks. Let me know if there is anything I can do besides support you to the moon and back.

  2. valerie says

    Lots of love to you and hugs to your son. And you have a fiance- how awesome! Would love to hear the story of how you met, and if you met as a single mom. I need to take step 2 on the dating wheel as an single mom by choice.

  3. Brandy says

    I could have a whole conversation with you over this blog because I relate on so many levels. Just this morning, I felt resentment toward my daughter for yelling and screaming at me for things that were beyond my control at the moment. Children definately reach challenging ages and the good news is that those stages don’t usually last long. I think of it like contractions, they are really difficult and then they subside until they come back again. The important part for me has been to take a breath, understand this too shall pass and balance my life with “me” time (my wife practically forced me to do this.) We can’t feel guilty for doing our blogs/jobs/calls/eyebrows etc, I think our job as a moms is to live a balanced life for our children so that they can see that it’s not just about them, it’s about mommy getting all that she needs out of life too, a loving family, friendhsips, work (if needed), play etc. This has been a challenge for me to embrace but I think I’m better with my daughter when I’m at my personal best. Just wait until Noah yells at you for talking to your fiance/husband….
    Good luck…

  4. says

    Wait until they get older and tell you to go f….. yourself. Yes, they do regardless of how wonderful they are most of the time. Teenagers are the worse but as you say all stages pass but some not fast enough. The best years are after they go away to college and come back and realize you are really smart. Best feeling ever.

  5. Tashia says

    Man, if I had a dime for every time I resented my daughter for not allowing me to get enough sleep (which has been almost every day since she was born just about 18 months ago), or for interrupting me when I had something important to do or say or hear, or for making every trip in the car with her a major headache with her crying and fussing (also almost every day since she was born), or for not allowing me to have time to myself like I so desperately need sometimes, I would be extremely rich and could afford to quit my job and reduce my daily stress level a lot, which contributes to the resentment!

    It doesn’t mean I love her any less – I don’t think I could love her any more than I already do, it’s just immeasurable – but it’s just the reality of raising a baby/toddler (and a fussy/spirited one at that) on my own. And I do feel guilty when I get impatient or frustrated with her, because I know she is too young to act any differently. But I also accept it that it’s normal to feel that way, and I don’t beat myself up about it, since I know that in general I’m a good mom, as you are too, and only a perfect saint would not feel that way sometimes. How many perfect saints do you know? :)

    I find it interesting that you didn’t experience it until Mr. Right came along… but then again, it makes sense that you would be more able to express your frustrations with him around more than what it was just the two of you (the guilt factor since babies/toddlers pretty much can’t help what they do).

  6. Sheana Ochoa says

    Brandy and Tashia, thanks for you experiences. I know it’s human to feel resentment, but it feels better to know other moms can relate. Thanks to everyone for their comments, and Valerie, yes I did meet my finacee as a single mother when Noah was a year old. There’s still good guys out there.

  7. Tashia says

    One thing I should clarify re my response above – the resentment that I feel is *fleeting*, in the moment when something is not going the way I’d like it to, but it’s definitely not something that I feel all the time. Feeling resentful of one’s child constantly may be caused by some underlying issues that need to be addressed. But those brief moments of resentfulness, wishing that this child were not pushing your buttons at that very moment? Absolutely normal.

  8. goodmama says

    Dear Sheana,
    I am so fascinated by your life’s events! Thank you so much for taking the time to share with the rest of us! I am a single mom. I have co-parented with my “ex” since my boy was five months old. He is three and a half now. I often think how hard it must be for single moms who don’t have Wednesdays and every other Fridays completely kid-free. I also feel extreme guilt for being kid-free those days! I often wonder if I will ever happen upon a new partner. I vascilate between being “open to it”, not “open to it”, and “making it happen”. I wonder what it will be like to share parenting with someone who has not been my boy’s dad so far. How on earth will I feel about letting someone else “parent” him. I wonder how you feel about these situations in which your new husband/boyfriend is a disciplinarian, or a nurturer to your son. Sometimes I even worry that I look to my son for companionship and love that I would otherwise be getting from an adult partner. If, and when I finally find another partner, will my son feel displaced? I have a million questions for your, both philosophical and practical. Was Noah sleeping in his own bed when you began dating?? Maybe you could write something for us about how you and Noah are handling all the parenting/sharing issues that may come up from your new life changes.

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