You knew what you signed up for.
“I do, and every soldier knows what they signed up for. I don’t think you understand my job”. (8:52 am). That was the first text I received this morning. I had been having a bad couple of days and I needed him to sit at home with our newborn while I dropped our preschooler off to her school, but he couldn’t. Of course he couldn’t. Work called, he had to do something in the morning and didn’t tell me until right when I was getting ready to head out the door. From there it seemed like the rest of the morning was a disaster. I don’t want to be this miserable stereotype of a military wife, but here I am sitting in my dirty house, still in my underwear…… I just can’t today.
I was supposed to drop our daughter off at 9 am. That’s when she was supposed to be there. He had a class at 9:30, at 8:40 I found out that he wasn’t going to be able to help. So, I rushed to finish making her breakfast…… I rushed to throw on any clothes I could find, I rushed to put my sleeping baby in his car seat. I was clumsy and agitated and I looked like hell. I rushed to brush her teeth and I re-put her shoes and socks on no less than 20 times (She hates keeping her shoes and socks on) Sweater, check. Jacket, check. Car seat cover, check. Put the dogs away, make sure the car is warm, and when I’m kind of in a rhythm, maybe… like when I think I can possibly salvage this morning where she’s already 20 minutes late, she spills her hot chocolate. THE HOT CHOCOLATE. The hot chocolate that she insisted on, the hot chocolate that I already had to reheat once because “it cooled down”
Melt down commence,
and it’s worse because I know the reason she’s so fragile is because she can sense the tension, the negative energy I’m putting out, the energy I seem to be putting out more and more.
Last night, through tears I tried to explain to him. I tried to get him to understand this consuming feeling of being overwhelmed. I tried to explain that I’ve done all the tips that they give to moms. I tried to tell him about how I was trying to incorporate what the pastor said but nothing was working. I tried to tell him about how I’d decided to journal, and exercise but there’s no free time. I’ve tried to make small goals for myself so that I can feel accomplished and get things done. I’ve even prayed and at the end I was still angry. That was a large part of it. I am so angry all the time. I’m struggling through school, while raising my kids and I get to watch my husband create all these adult interactions. ( Aside: I’m sure the grocery clerk and pediatricians are so sick of me being talkative, but they don’t realize they may be the only adult I talk to face to face from sun up to sun down.) I’m looking down at this body that has, through the miracle of childbirth, been made a stranger to me. Don’t get me wrong I’m so happy to be a mom to the best d*** children in the world but I don’t know this body. Its heavier then I remember, its looser. I don’t recognize this house either, this house that I clean every. D###. Day. yet somehow smells and looks like three kids. And I don’t recognize me either, this short tempered, raging witch…
and neither does my husband.
“I needed you to do one thing this morning”. I sent him this… but it’s not just this morning its every morning, and in the afternoons too. I need my husband. I need him more than they do. I know its selfish and I know I can do it on my own, I was a single mom before I met him, and I am no stranger to the struggle or hard work. I understand long nights and early mornings, but I met him and fell in love with him and I need him. He has to go to the field sometimes, deployments, unaccompanied orders… I know about all these things but when he’s here I need him. We all do, and no, I don’t think I KNEW what I signed up for. I couldn’t have. Someone could have explained it a million times and I would not have been prepared for this. And it’s tough, it is. And I’m tired……
When I came home from dropping off my daughter I couldn’t even get out the car. So, I turned it off and sat in the driveway until the car got cold. I felt like I couldn’t go in the house right then, I just needed a moment. I have had depression before, so I try to stay on top of my emotional health. I’m always giving myself little mental health checks. So, recognizing that I’m starting to feel too overwhelmed, I called my church twice. No answer. Then, I called up to counseling services but there were no options for the single adult, only kids and families. So, I sat trying to go through the tri care website for a bit and figure everything out. I just needed someone to talk to, just for a couple weeks until I gained my footing. Nothing. So, I pulled myself together and got me and the baby in the house. I walked past the laundry, I walked past the dogs, I walked past the spilled hot chocolate, I took off all of my clothes and we got in bed.
So, here it is afternoon and I’m in my underwear in bed, looking like every military wife stereotype that’s ever been imagined. In an hour I will have to pick up my daughter, my school ager will come home, and sometime after that my husband. I am strong, I am. Just right now I feel weak, I feel like every morning I try to give myself a fresh start and every morning I sink. I want to be better, but I just can’t seem to pull it together. Us mothers have a unique set of struggles, not impossible to deal with, but very real. And don’t tell me or any other milspouse (or stay at home mom, or wife, OR WOMAN) to get over it, because even with all that we deal with, we’re strong. We’re dealing with little people and running our homes. We will make it. I know that… even in bed at 3 pm. Even through muffled sobs hidden by showers. Just sometimes, the struggle is real..