Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sad Mom

I feel like I am made of lead and am slowly sinking into the earth.

Today at day care, one of my favorite little girls was having an end-of-the-day meltdown which focused on her perfectly reasonable desire to remain shoeless and her dad's perfectly reasonable desire to shoe her for the trip home. When he signed her out, she was laying on the floor, out of view, wailing. With shoes on.

Sometimes, that's just what you have to do.

I said, "I've felt like doing that all week."

"But you have to maintain dignity," our wise day-carer said.

"Wouldn't it be great if you didn't? If sometimes, you could just Do That? Have the fit, the tantrum, let it all out and completely lose it, up to and including all control over your limbs? Just have a wail-and-flail?"

For all my wishing, though, I don't think I could manage it even if it were allowed. I find myself being too restrained and feeling that it would be self indulgent to sit and weep for more than a few minutes or even to wallow silently in distressing emotion. And so far, 2012 is testing me.

This is probably why I feel like lead. I don't think I have let enough of it out.

Though wailing on the floor by the sign-out table at day care probably isn't the best option.

Because I am home most days, enjoying the fruits of unemployment*, one would think I could take a moment or two, pop in "Terms of Endearment" or "Steel Magnolias" and just let fly with the tears, but that would be a colossal waste of time when there is a job to look for, a garden to tend, dinner to cook, a house to keep clean, and numerous projects to work on.

I'm kind of an idiot.

So instead, what happened when I got laid off was I got all weepy one night when Pete was at rehearsal and was not the best mom in the world. Or I get all weepy one morning while getting Finn's cereal, when my grandfather has died. Or I randomly cry when I think of my friend Gary or my friend Sean. Or when I break a beloved bowl. Sad Mom is truly tragic. Whenever she crops up and Finn is around, he says, "Mama, are you sad?" And through tears, I will say, "Yes," and he will ask why. First it was that I lost my job, then I lost my mentor, then a friend, and now my grandfather. All reasons for tears, and tears that often can appear when one least expects it.

When you have an observer, you can become more sensitive to your own moods. At least, I have. Now, that doesn't mean that I am any better at controlling them, but any moods that differ from happy or at least even keel become more noticeable because there's your kid watching you be angry or upset or, as it has happened all too often lately, sad.

In general, I pretty much try not to cry, and I divert energy into other things like scanning photos and cleaning and projects. But it bubbles up to the surface sometimes, and there's Finn, sitting there with a weepy mess of mom.

It sucks. But at least he's a good hugger.


Kate said...


I firmly believe that it's important for kids to see you cry. Otherwise, how will Finn learn the best way to express his emotions, and gain empathy for you as a fellow human (rather than just Mom-lady, bringer of food and reader of stories)?

susan smith said...

I agree with Kate--mommies and daddies can't always be happy or perfect and kids can handle that--as Finn shows with hugs etc. And losing 3 people and a job will make anybody cry!!!!! The good news is you have time to indulge yourself with a movie, a lunch or a visit to your friend at the consignment shop. Go Karen!!!