Monday, January 13, 2014

Mom confessions

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone who reads this blog, saying that she'd noticed that I hadn't written in a while and that she wanted an update. It made me laugh to think about, as I guess I assume most people don't read this one, especially because I am too lazy to upload pictures and tend instead to write about whatever random thoughts are swirling in my head.

I haven't been writing because lately I've felt like I should keep my thoughts more to myself. I have a tendency to complain and to be very transparent with my emotions, and lately I've been thinking that the majority of the people I admire are more poised and private. There have been many times where I've felt isolated and wondered if it is because I speak too readily what is on my mind when I should be more reserved.

But that is the thing about writing -- while some things do stay private, the goal of a writer is to tell his or her truth. And the (sometimes unfortunate) thing about blogging is that you don't need anyone's permission to tell that truth -- you can just click 'publish' and anyone can read it. Whether or not they will is a different story. But today I need to speak to more than just the empty pages of my journal, even if my audience is only theoretical. Some days you just need to unload. So here, in no particular order, are the things on my mind today:

* I get so tired of the "working-mom/stay-at-home mom" division. There are people I was friends with that won't even hold a conversation with me now that I work. And along with that, I am tired of the widely held conception that moms who work are doing it for selfish motives. Every single day away from my son is difficult. Are there aspects of working that I enjoy? Of course there are. Yes, it is personally fulfilling. Yes, it is nice sometimes to be gone for nap time battles and diaper blowouts. But that doesn't mean that I'm doing it out of selfishness. I'm working for many reasons, but the main one is because we need money to buy food. Also, it isn't a break to work a 12-hour shift where a single mistake can cost a child his or her life, where I am hand-in-hand with intense physical and emotional suffering and my primary role is to alleviate that suffering any way I can (and sometimes, many times, I can't).

* Today, all I ate were Cost-co muffins.

*There is nothing better than saying a tearful prayer with Cal on my lap and then feeling his little hand on my face (granted, a few seconds later he raked my face with those nails I didn't have time to trim today... but it was still sweet for a moment there).

* Speaking of that tearful prayer -- I can't figure Cal out these days. He used to be really easygoing and not prone to tantrums. He also used to eat anything I put in front of him. Lately he won't eat, will only take one nap but desperately needs two, and dissolves into tears and screams when he doesn't get his own way. I feel like a delinquent parent because I feel like he is too young to understand the concept of sharing. I always try to reinforce, "That toy isn't yours, you need to ask," or "You should share your toys," but it doesn't seem to be coming through yet. I feel like all these failings are my fault, piled on top of the guilt I feel for not having a natural childbirth, not being able to breastfeed exclusively, having the baby blues, and on and on it goes. A woman speaking in one of my residency classes said, "Along with the placenta, you get this huge bag of guilt" and the image has stayed with me. I don't remember what she lectured on, but I will forever remember that because, so true.

* Speaking of residency classes, residency is almost over. This is such a liberating and also terrifying idea. My entire nursing career has consisted of my being with a mentor, from nursing school on into these early days of employment. In just two weeks, I am not going to have someone checking up on me anymore. In many ways I feel that I am ready for it but there are moments when I have my doubts.

* There is nothing like the roller coaster of parenting a toddler. One minute, I am having the aforesaid tearful prayer -- the next minute, I am giggling at the silliness of my boy. (Some highlights today include him making a fishy face at me and laughing, watching his delight as he pushed shapes through a shape sorter for the first time, and seeing him laugh as he goes down the slide).

It's never easy, but despite some of the hard pieces of my life, I know that I am so blessed. I am grateful to be married to an amazing, driven man. I am grateful that I have a healthy, (mostly) happy child. And I am grateful for my job, for the fact that I had five months of intensive training from one of the best programs in the nation. None of it is easy, and I think it is easy for me to fall into the trap of obsessing over my failings. Half of this post was me obsessing over my failings. But even as I worry about the imperfections I have, I also see the reverse side of those trials and the way I am so blessed. Today I have had to frequently stop what I'm doing and say a prayer that I will get through the next five minutes, which sounds a little extreme but is nonetheless true. But I guess as long as I can get through the next five minutes, I'll make it.


  1. Hey Lorren! I just want to say you're doing an awesome job as working mom! I was working for a while because we also needed money and it was really hard. It is really hard to stay at home all the time too ;) I totally understand the tantrum and food thing too. Emerson is the same. It is just part of the process of growing up I think. You're doing great and don't let yourself or anyone else tell you otherwise!

  2. Love you Lor. You are so right. Parenting a toddler is a total roller coaster. And while some moments I think Will is the cutest child in the world, the next I want to slap him in the face. (No really, sometimes I want to slap him in the face... as if that would do any good hah). You are a wonderful mother, I miss you and I love you.


  3. I love this post. I love when moms are honest about parenting because it can be SO hard. That doesn't mean you love your child less. It just means be responsible for a little person (or people) can take a lot out of you. And I admire you for working. You are working because you love Cal and want the best for him. You're doing great!

  4. I love this post so much! I related to what you said about being so transparent with your emotions- I am the SAME way!! I just want to share what's on my insides all the time. I really appreciate that you did.

    I was so shocked to read about that"working mom/stay-at-home" mom division, and that with you working now, some of them won't even talk to you! How sad!! I think you are doing an incredible thing for you family! What a sacrifice to have to leave your son everyday and give your energy and time to others. In both roles, at home and at work, you are such a sacrificing person.

    Also, I really relate to you on the feelings of guilt. Like how you felt guilty about not doing a natural birth, not being able to breastfeed exclusively, etc., and it's hard to shake those feelings. I am so similar! I just recently realized this prone to guilt in myself, and I hadn't been aware of it before, but I absorb everything and convert it into guilty feelings towards myself! I really appreciate that you shared this. I relate so much.

    I just look at you and see this amazing, loving, intelligent woman, who is doing an INCREDIBLE job at being a mom, a wife, and a working woman! You are wonderful!

  5. Hi Lorren! Your post popped up in my reader, and I'm so glad-- I feel so much better to know that I am not alone in feeling so many similar things. Toddlers.... seriously. My 2-year-old has changed in the last few months, and it hasn't been for the better. :) The guilt and the frustration (which adds to the guilt) are tough. When I get down on myself, I try to ask, "Is this what God wants me to feel, or Satan?" It's not easy, but hang in there! You are a great mom!

  6. Lorren, I really wish I lived closer so we could be mommy friends. I relate to this post in so many ways, and it's refreshing. This transition to toddler business has turned my sweet tempered infant into Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There are parts that are so fulfilling, and then there are times I feel like I'm going crazy. Something he's a great napper, and then other times he won't sleep more than 45 minutes the whole day. It's hard to have patience with him when I know all he needs is sleep.

    And my heart feels for your nursing worries, too! Those feelings are all too familiar. I know probably everyone says this to you, but I'll say it anyway. You are going to be fabulous! I would definitely want you as my child's oncology nurse. I've always been so impressed with your combination of brains and compassion.

    Hang in there!


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