10 October 2012

Should I Be a Mom? - Pour Your Heart Out

Should I have ever had the boys?  Do I really have what it takes to be a mom?

These questions have been going through my mind since... well, honestly, since the day I found out I was pregnant with Teddy.  But for some reason, they've been circling my brain more than usual lately.  And I want it to stop.

I love my boys.  I truly do.  When Teddy comes up to me at night and says, "Mama, I want to snuggle!", my heart expands with love.  When Pete practically jumps in my arms and says, "You're the best mommy in the whole world!", I know that there is no love in the world like what I feel for these little ones. And those are the times that I'm so grateful for what I have.

But then there are the times I sit back and look at my behavior and am convinced that I should just walk out the door because it would be better for Rich and the boys in the long run.  Times when I see my anger, my depression, my spending, my procrastination as insurmountable problems rather than something that I'll find a way through.  There are times when I see the same personality struggle between me and Teddy that my mom and I had, and it scares me.  Because, for all that I love my mother, we would anger lock each other and have the hardest time breaking out of it.  My mom said things when she was angry that hurt me for a long, long time, eating away at my psyche until I started talk therapy and was able to deal with it a bit more.

Those times, the times I get anger locked, are the ones that scare me the most.  Because I'll hear myself say such hurtful things to whichever of the boys is pissing me off at the moment and, at the moment I say it, I mean it.  Or rather, the anger means it.  When I tell them I want to give them away or that I should never have had them.  When I tell them that they're not stupid, so why do they have to act like it all the time.  Or when I swear uncontrollably at the top of my voice.

When I was a kid, after one of these soul-scaring arguments with my mom, I swore that I would never treat my kids the way I was treated.  I would never say hurtful things. I would never let my anger get the better of me.  I was going to be an understanding mom, a calm mom.  I wasn't going to fight with my kids the way my mom and I fought.  And yet here I am, screaming at the top of my lungs, physically holding back a hand that wants to fly out and smack them hard (at least I have enough strength of mind to not hit them even when I want to), saying more hateful things than my mother ever said to me.

I don't know how to fix it.  And that scares me.  I take medication to help with my depression and anxiety, but they don't always seem to work. I need to get in to talk therapy again, but I have such a difficult time making that initial call.  Rich has talked about getting a durable medical power of attorney so he can make these calls for me, but we haven't done it yet.  

I've tried to find a stress-outlet, since I know that it's a big part of what makes me shorter tempered, but I haven't found one that I can do regularly enough. For awhile, I went to Starbucks to read a book and sip a drink while Rich watched the boys, but then money got tight.  I've tried taking a bath with a book and a glass of wine, but I always have the kids wanting to come in and talk to me.  I've tried journaling, but like so many things I get gung-ho about, it ends up falling by the wayside within a couple of weeks.

This, of course, feeds into my depression.  Maybe I don't want to change?  Maybe there's a part of me that likes being a bullying bitch to my kids, hurting them when I'm hurting inside myself because I've got to share the pain?  Maybe I should never have had them in the first place and then they wouldn't have to worry about having a psycho mommy?

All I know is that I've got to do something.  Because I do love these boys more than I love myself and I hate what I'm doing to them by getting into this cycle of self-hate.  They need a strong mommy, one who loves them and treats them right.  One that doesn't show them when she gets angry.  One that doesn't need to apologize when she gets angry because she doesn't get angry.

In my heart, I know that I'm the best mom for these boys.  There are still far more times of hugs and fun and silliness than there are times of anger and hurt.  There are still many times when I control my anger and talk things through with them.  I know their quirks and foibles, what makes them laugh and how to comfort them when they are sad.  And I love them so much that it hurts.  But I want... no, I need to be a better mommy before it's too late.  Even when they get on my last nerve, destroying a living room in 10 minutes that I worked for four hours to get immaculate or being demanding and contrary, my heart can't hold any more love for them than I do now.  And I want them to always remember me as a loving mommy.  They need that touchstone, and I need to leave that legacy.

*edited to add: I just took a first step.  I called and made an appointment with a talk therapist.  They can't get me in until the end of November, but it's an appointment made.  Now it's just finding ways to cope between now and then.