I am suffering from a condition I am referring to as "The Overwhelming." My entire life is in some way touched by this malady and it really, really sucks.
We've had some upsetting medical news recently which has shaken up our lives, as well as our diet, and stresses me the eff out when it comes to figuring out what to make for dinner every night. With my husband going to work and school and leaving the house around 3 p.m. five days a week, getting dinner done by 2 o'clock was already daunting and now I have to, like, meal plan and stuff and think hard about what I'm feeding everyone and I don't have the mental energy for that all the time.
I was on a major writing streak up until two weeks ago. I was getting pieces accepted, making a little money and gaining hundreds of new readers. And now I've been in a dark pit of a valley which makes me think that all this writing stuff is just a waste of time and I should go back to extreme couponing, because there's no reason to waste my nights typing out these pithy things that no one cares about and no wants to read and no big site is ever going to like so what's the point of all this work and agony?
My children are at impossible ages. My son is 21 months and my daughter will be 3 in May and they suck the life right out of me. Yesterday, I made it until 9 a.m. before I was feeling the heavy weight of The Overwhelming crush my chest and force my airways to constrict. It was hours away from nap time, and I felt I had already exhausted all of my options for what to do with them. I was low on energy and imagination, they were tired and cranky and it made for a really crappy day. I felt lost. I felt alone. I felt like an awful mom. I didn't want to be around them, but I couldn't not be around them, and the guilt of being around them but not engaging with them was too much. There's no balance. It's just pure exhaustion from sun up to sun down.
I love my kids so much, but there are days lately where I'm positive I'm not meant to be a stay-at-home mom. I don't think I'm good at it. It's not my gift. But the alternative -- going back to work at a 9 to 5 job -- sounds even more shitty, so I don't want to do that either.
So I feel stuck. Trapped. Overwhelmed with my life.
AND, because I've been suffering from The Overwhelming, I've been treating my body like crap, too. I wait until the kids go to bed, wait until my husband's at work, and then I make enough nachos (chips + cheese + salsa verde) to feed three normal-sized people and scarf it down while watching a couple episodes of Friends. Then I get up in the morning and feel awful-physically and emotionally-for treating my body like that. But salt and fat triggers the feel good part of your brain and I need something to make me feel good, damnit.
But, I'm also smart enough to know that working out will help me feel better. Endorphins and all that jazz. However. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WORK OUT WITH TWO SMALL CHILDREN PULLING ME IN TWO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS ALL DAY LONG? I don't drive. Taking the bus with two toddlers is laughable considering my current mental state. So I need to work out at home, which is a great idea until it requires me to get out of bed earlier than I already do (yawn) or working out while the kids are awake (hahahahaha) or working out after they go to bed, which will only energize me and keep me awake longer than my regular insomnia already does.
This is my life. This is my life in full color. No filters. No airbrushing. I am overwhelmed by literally every aspect of my life and it sucks and I hate it and I don't know what to do about it other than bitch to all of you.
So thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for helping me feel less crazy. Thank you for being with me and reminding me that these are struggles everyone goes through. Maybe not all at once, but we all have these moments in life.
Thank you for reminding me I'm not alone.
This piece originally appeared on Is It Bedtime Yet?
You can find more from Toni Hammer at Is It Bedtime Yet, on Facebook, and on Twitter.