I spend a lot of time on my bathroom floor. I hide there, usually with music playing on my phone, trying to be by myself to think while simultaneously trying to avoid thinking too much. I do it because when I am outside of the bathroom I am a mom and I can’t fall apart and it takes so much energy right now. I take baths, sometimes multiple a day, because I think the idea is relaxing and I am hoping somehow the warmth will stay with me, but it never lasts for long. Sometimes I cry big fat tear drops onto my knees, but only for a brief moment until I remember what’s outside the door, and then I gather up all the tears and eat them. A lot of times I strip naked and stand on the scale to make sure it isn’t lying to me.
I feel like I don’t belong here. I shouldn’t have had kids. Not because I don’t love them, I love them more than I ever knew was possible, but because I don’t deserve them. They are too good, too pure, too innocent and I feel like I’m going to wreck it somehow. I shouldn’t have gotten married, or had a family. I should be alone somewhere where I can think and crumble and not have to worry about the people I’m potentially hurting when it happens.
I like to think I am an ok mom. I am incredibly sensitive to my children’s feelings, I validate their experiences, I am affectionate and open and frequently remind them how loved they are. I also fall short constantly. I lose my patience and raise my voice, I am inconsistent with consequences and rules, and when I am not doing well myself, I feel like I don’t have the capacity to be there. Like really be there. I smile at the cute things they do and laugh at their jokes and tell them that picture looks beautiful, but I am somewhere else. They deserve better than I have to give. It’s breaking my heart.
I should have been alone.