Sometimes I think why can’t you just stop and
in this moment
and be here
all of your attention
and sometimes I feel like screaming because
there are two of them
and I
can’t no matter how hard I
try but
let’s not lie
sometimes I don’t
try as hard as
I should

Sometimes when I’m at work I
want to be home and sometimes when I’m home I
want to be at work
or at least somewhere
with adults
and the luxury
of not doing the eight million things
I wish I didn’t have to do when I am
doing them
that I wish I were able to do
when I am

I don’t feel particularly
good at
any of my

Sometimes I feel so restless and
bored and
I wish I could just
go to the
bookstore or the
without the back and forth and the favors and the tick tick ticking clock while I’m gone
and the moment I see
someone else’s child when I’m on my own I
feel guilty and sad and I miss them and
sometimes when I get home I think how I just want to
all over

Sometimes I tell myself over and over that it will be easier when they’re
and isn’t that nice how I am
wishing away these years I will never
get back

This weekend I felt like I was pacing in my
life like a zoo animal
trapped and wild-eyed
and I was frustrated with one child for being
the short story is
for being 19 months old
and I was angry with the other child for
refusing to eat and he started whining and something in me gave way
all at once
like a rotted old barn
and I reached out and grabbed his shirt and pulled him
across the kitchen bench and yanked him to his feet and
my voice was
it was
(I don’t even want to remember)
so loud
and all I wanted in that moment was for him to feel
just as miserable as I did
I could have
slapped him
until my hand ached
(I did not)
and it was all over
later when I could
breathe I
realized that if I’d felt trapped
by neediness and fussing and the confines of parenthood
that was nothing compared to the feeling of
what kind of person you are capable
of being
and you can’t take it back
(you can say you are sorry)
(but you can’t)
(go back)
(and make it unhappen)
I felt like one of those Russian dolls where every successively smaller part of me was
held inside
another and they were all
broken and

Sometimes I am lifted by them
scattered in the air like a million spinning dandelion seeds
blown by my child
(who calls them
candle flowers)
and sometimes I am held fast to the earth
counting the minutes
until I can escape
everything I hold closest to my heart

I am ashamed that
sometimes I turn on the TV because I just want them to

Sometimes it seems relentless
and I can only see the side of the coin with the
like that which I am most proud of
is a jail sentence that goes on and on and
oh what a
fucked up
way to look at it
because the other side
is indescribable
in its beauty
and if you must endure one to be gifted with the other
such is

Sometimes these bad moments feel
but sometimes
(most of the time)
(most of you understand)
they are not


194 Responses to “Through it and out the other side”

  1. Marion on September 15th, 2009 12:23 am

    As I read this I kept thinking “been there” over and over again. Till the end, where I found I was holding my breath and the simple act of inhaling brounght me to tears.

    Hang in there Linda – it’s the circle of life and while you may think you are careening through it, you are doing a marvelous job….the bad moments are far between – just remember that this too shall pass.

  2. Kathie on September 15th, 2009 12:47 am

    This actually made me cry because it is exactly what I struggle with on a daily basis, and the permanent guilt is horrible, just horrible. It helps to read this though, at least to know I’m not alone…

  3. jenn on September 15th, 2009 4:59 am

    Oh yeah, I am there on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing this.

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  5. Michelle Whitehurst on September 15th, 2009 5:39 am

    That was so beautiful and hit the nail right on the head for anyone who has been a mother. Thank you so much.

  6. Amy on September 15th, 2009 5:46 am

    WOW!!! I could have written this myself. Well, not really, because I’m a shitty writer, but you know what i mean. THank you for sharing!!!

  7. Taoist Biker on September 15th, 2009 5:51 am

    Found through “Mars is Heaven” – holy crap, yes I have been there, and was nearly there again on Sunday. Self-recrimination galore.

    Bravo for the expression of such a confusing and bedeviling emotion!

  8. Naomi Nye on September 15th, 2009 5:57 am

    yes, totally agree. have to go kids, need me but thanks for making me feel not alone.

  9. Cheryl S. on September 15th, 2009 6:03 am


  10. Danielle on September 15th, 2009 6:04 am

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have said more than once that sometimes the fantasy of being a mom doesn’t match my reality. Thank you for understanding.

  11. Cate on September 15th, 2009 6:50 am

    For heaven’s sake, stop it with the food battles. You are only making it worse for yourself and for Riley. Let it go. He will eat when he wants to eat. In our house, our kids sit with us when we eat. If they don’t like what’s on our plate, we tell them that they can have something else when we are done eating. Sometimes they are so hungry that they will eat whatever is in front of them. If not, they can only have toast or oatmeal. Either way, we NEVER force them to eat. It’s totally normal for preschoolers to go through this non-eating or picky-eating stage. Pick your battles and you will experience less stress in your life. Best of luck.

  12. Christine on September 15th, 2009 7:03 am

    Linda you are a good mother and while you lost your patience with the kids, I promise when they look back on their childhood the few instances you lost your patience will not stick out in their mind. You are doing wonderfully.

  13. Jen on September 15th, 2009 7:25 am

    Your ability to write and share moments like this is why I love you.

  14. KF on September 15th, 2009 7:35 am

    Honestly it’s hard to know what’s more important: your words, Sundry, or those of your commenters. As a whole though, this entire collection of emotions and thoughts comprises something that does not get written about or shared enough.
    I’m so glad it’s been shared here.

  15. Clueless But Hopeful Mama on September 15th, 2009 7:59 am

    Stunning. This needs to be saved and read and heard and believed.

    Thank you for your honesty. So many have been there. So few can share it so well.

  16. Colleen on September 15th, 2009 8:22 am

    Hi Linda – I’ve been lurking for several months now, meaning to comment (you’re an awesome writer), but this post finally compelled me to do it. I have one boy, 3 years old, and he is the joy of my life – one success out of five pregancies – but your writing today captured EXACTLY what I sometimes feel – wanting to escape sometimes, feeling guilty about it; yelling and being SO VERY ANGRY sometimes, and then feeling like crap afterwards, but also enjoying the little moments, like B wanting to take my temperature after I’d been taking his for two days, and calling himself Dr. B…

    Thank you for your wonderful blog – especially the honesty of it. Motherhood is hard, but rewarding and I’m so glad to know I’m not alone when I’m struggling.

  17. Corinne on September 15th, 2009 8:43 am

    Thanks for saying it for me, the things I think but can’t say.

  18. melissa on September 15th, 2009 8:48 am

    if i had a blog i would have written this yesterday…although not nearly as well! i’m in the midst of an internal battle over whether to give up freelancing for a much more stable part-time position with a company that is more than flexible and generous. the guilt i feel for even thinking about leaving my 13-month-old in someone else’s care is staggering even though i know with absolute certainty i’m not doing the best i can with him. ugh.

  19. Amy on September 15th, 2009 9:12 am

    I’ve said it so many times and I’ll say it again – all of you mothers out there are amazing. From someone who doesn’t have kids, I don’t know HOW you ladies do it. I salute you.

  20. Diana on September 15th, 2009 10:05 am

    WOW. Thank you! Just how i am feeling today and more and more and more. I keep wondering if there is something wrong with me, and what I can do to change it…i guess some things are just the way they are and that is it.
    Thank you for making me feel like a normal human being.

  21. MelV on September 15th, 2009 10:27 am

    Thank you Linda. Thank you for narrating my life like i could never do.
    Boy, dont i wish i could have a couple of take-backs with my kids but youre right, we cant ever undo it.
    I yelled at my 4 y.o. so loud and harshly the other day (over something stupid and unnecessary Im sure) that it scared the toddler in to a terrified fit of tears. All i could think was “wow, i am an ass”

    Thank you for being out there for all of us.

  22. e bridget on September 15th, 2009 10:28 am

    I quit my job 3 months ago after my maternity leave with #2 was over. Your words are so, so on the mark. There are days when I feel so lucky to be with my guys, but there are other days that all I want to do is run screaming out the door to an office. There is no perfect solution, so we must muddle through and appreciate that so many others are right there with us. Thanks, Linda.

  23. Kelly on September 15th, 2009 10:58 am

    Hell yes.

    Before I had kids, Oprah did a show about the “ugly” side of motherhood, where moms explained how life with kids isn’t flowers and rainbows and perfect shit. I get this, but I still feel guilty.

    How awesome of you to take my thoughts, as I’ve experience each line you wrote and give moms a gift like this. We’re not alone, and we don’t suck at being a mom if we feel fucking miserable sometimes.

  24. Tracy on September 15th, 2009 11:10 am

    This is why I read blogs. Thank you for helping me realize I’m not alone, I’m not the worst mother in the world and I don’t need professional help.
    Keep up the great writing.

  25. melissa on September 15th, 2009 2:54 pm

    thank you, linda, for capturing how motherhood can feel sometimes, and especially for being candid and articulate at the same time.

  26. chasinash on September 15th, 2009 7:57 pm

    I’m teary-eyed at the beauty of that. Yes, I have seen that place and it haunts me, too.

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  28. trope on September 16th, 2009 12:34 am

    I understand.

    I find myself, with my kid, wanting to shout to him, “Why the fuck did you DO that?” and on my very, very, very good days, I can keep all that out of my voice and just hold him. I try to tell him, too: I understand. I’m still working on getting that understanding for myself, though.

  29. kendra! on September 16th, 2009 7:59 am

    Mayhaps one of my favorite Sundry entries ever.

  30. Sally on September 16th, 2009 12:51 pm

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. I understand perfectly.

  31. Lori O on September 16th, 2009 1:52 pm

    I thought something was wrong with me the last few months and that maybe I was depressed or just very ungracious for the wonderful life I have and the blessing of parenthood. You described perfectly my evening episodes after work with my daughter before my husband gets home.

    But now I feel like I’m just a parent, going through the ups and downs, just like you, Linda, and all your readers.

    It is so comforting that these feelings are normal!!!

  32. Carrie @ Who Knew? on September 16th, 2009 3:16 pm

    Wonderful post. Knowing that other moms feel the way I feel is priceless. Thank you.

  33. 180|360 on September 17th, 2009 12:54 am


  34. Rebecca on September 17th, 2009 7:33 am

    I just started reading your blog, and I never comment on any blog I read, but on this I had to. You have peered inside my soul and put it on a page. You are not alone, and I thank you for articulating this so exquisitely.

  35. Dawn on September 17th, 2009 8:04 am

    Yes, yes, exactly. That was my weekend too. Thank you.

  36. TranceJen on September 17th, 2009 8:59 am

    I loved this, every word.

  37. Mama Kat on September 17th, 2009 2:02 pm

    If I copy and paste this onto my blog and tell everyone I wrote it…will you sue me? It’s just that it’s so perfect and right on and relatable…did I write it?

  38. Liz M. on September 18th, 2009 10:21 am

    Thank you — this post puts into words every worry and fear I have about becoming a parent.

    I worry that the miserable parts (and I’ve been a nanny, I know firsthand how miserable they can be) will overwhelm the wonderful parts, and I won’t be able to enjoy — or even recognize — the wonderful moments while in them.

  39. Barb on September 18th, 2009 12:33 pm

    Yes, exactly. I could have killed my 8-year old earlier this week over his socks, feeling at the same time both aware of his sensory integration issues & the need to understand him and the frustration of never getting the kids to school on time & it must be somebody else’s FAULT… anyway, my kids are older & it usually is easier, but yes, we still feel love & insanity at the same time, sometimes. Thank you for expressing it.

  40. Ashleigh Burroughs on September 18th, 2009 3:35 pm

    I feel your pain. You love them and you wish you could escape but you love them and they are awful and you love them and will it ever end? My post for today’s Five Star Friday list might offer some hope. “Courage!”

  41. Jen on September 19th, 2009 7:03 am

    And that. is. motherhood. You have many, many sympathetic women who are nodding at every line in your beautiful writing.

  42. Apryl on September 19th, 2009 10:55 pm

    Mommy guilt…ahh yes the bane of my existence. Friend of mine made me a Mother’s Day gift..had a card attached to it:

    A Mother loves her children even when they least deserve to be loved. – Kate Samperi

  43. ingrid on September 22nd, 2009 4:21 am

    beautiful expression and so honest. thank you.

  44. Wendi on September 25th, 2009 9:37 am

    Thank you a million time over for writing the exact way I am feeling. I’m so glad I’m not the only one.

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