I’m having lunch with two really great friends - all three of us working moms in our mid/late thirties. One of my friends has twins (read “saint”), and the other is pregnant with her second. We look as tired as we are, discussing our lives, the great moments and the hard moments, while eating overpriced salads in the pretentious downtown Vancouver restaurant.
“It’s The Grind. At least that’s what G and I call it,” my friend says, explaining how she and her husband have labelled this time in our lives. And we nod along, as you do when someone is speaking a deep truth.
When I tell people I have three kids, and I’m working full time, and I’m doing a second coaching certification, and I write/run this website, they’ll often say some variation of,
“Wow, I don’t know how you do it.”
You know what? I’m not. I am not fucking doing it.
My house is a constant mess. The layer of dust on the bookshelf is now measurable with a ruler, and the toilet hasn’t been cleaned in three weeks.
I haven’t been to the gym in two years. I don’t meditate anymore. Most of my meals are cold or eaten standing up.
My kids have been sick off and on for the past month and I have no idea why. The worrying keeps me up at night, wondering if they might have an allergy that I haven’t identified, or if I’m feeding them something terrible, or what I’ve done wrong that they’re just not getting better. Is “Sleep PTSD” a thing? I feel anxious going to bed each night, worrying about whether or not I’ll be woken up at 2am because someone is vomiting again.
I’m so sleep deprived I’ve been making mistakes at work. I’m behind on my certification homework and I’m worried I won’t get it all done in time.
I have unanswered emails in my inbox, and I’m so late on responding to texts I’ve decided to just pretend I didn’t get them.
Most days I’m barely making it, just putting one foot in front of the other on a relentless treadmill of “get up, make lunches, go to work, come home, feed kids, play with kids, put kids to bed, do something with husband, sleep, get up, do it again”, without a single quiet moment to connect with myself.
And I know it gets better. And yes, of course there are lovely moments with young kids. But honestly, most days I wonder what the hell I’m doing and why I even signed up for this.
I was talking to Rachel the other day, confessing that I’ve been avoiding writing because I feel like such a downer lately. Then we shared all of our terrible stories, and laughed and laughed and laughed because we’re going through the exact same stuff, and that’s when I got it.
Holy shit! This is exactly the stuff to share. Nobody wants to hear all of my awesome parenting stories with happy endings. We all just want to know that what we’re going through is normal.
And it is. If you’re deep in The Grind, and you’re frustrated, and sad, and stressed, I’m with you.