Snatches from the Trenches of Motherhood, 2002
Here I will try to exorcise the demon that is fermenting my stomach acid and making me feel ill. I am unhappy. There is no point in blaming anyone, including myself I suppose. But the fact is that I am full of regret and discontent. Is it because I am ungrateful? Do I always look at the glass half empty? I have a loving husband that I adore, a new baby girl who is my true elf spawn a small house to call my own, the dog I always dreamed of as a girl, a sensible reliable comfortable car, a neighbourhood full of restaurants and coffee shops and antique stores, and a year off to become acquainted with my little one and a part time job newly secured for when I return to work. With all of these things, how can I possibly ask for more? Am I unsatisfiable?
I have been talking to my mother about my depression as she has suffered from it for most of her life, but today when I spoke to her I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her that I feel like shit. Funny, I think she felt the same way, trying to sound positive and smiling while hiding the ugly grey funk and I think both of us are just tired of listening to the drone of why we feel the way we do. Perhaps your own depression is always boring.
So that brings me hedging up to my list of perpetual complaints. God I can’t even seem to begin. Let’s instead take today as an example of what is wrong with my life. I woke up to the sound of Amelie’s call from the living room. She doesn’t have her own room yet and so sleeps in her pram in the living room at night and naps in the bedroom during the day. It is 9 am and I get her up and change her diaper and clothes, wash her face to try to ease the drool rash she has on her chin.
The dog has gotten up and is now begging for her breakfast. She barks at me until I yell and put her in her cage for a time out. Amelie and I are smiling at each other and having a pretty good time so far. I let the dog out and feed her breakfast while Amelie hangs out in her exer-saucer in the kitchen. I start piling dishes into the dishwasher from dinner the night before, but the dishwasher is already full and I have forgotten to put it on before I went to bed. I over-stuff it, put it on, scrub pots in the sink and wipe down the table and counters.
Amelie is getting frustrated with her situation and her complaints are getting louder. I stave her off to try to complete the tidy up but know that she is probably waking up my husband who is trying to sleep in the next room. Amelie hasn’t eaten and is probably hungry by now so I put a kettle on for tea and a little boiled water for her rice cereal. I creep into the bedroom to get her rubber backed bib from the dirty laundry as I have fallen behind on laundry over the weekend and a huge mound has grown at the foot of the bed. Jonathan cracks an eye at me. He is sore and exhausted from dirt biking yesterday.
It’s Monday and the start of his work week so I know that I will be seeing less of him than I did over the weekend and can’t help but feel that I haven’t seen much of him this weekend at all. I feed Amelie half of her cereal and she looks so beautiful that I wish Jonathan could experience how fun it is to see her opening her mouth eagerly like a little bird. I take Amelie out of her chair and peak into the bedroom. Jonathan is awake so we go in to see him. Amelie squeals with delight at her dad and I slip away to go pee and make tea. I come back and ask him shyly if he would like to feed her the rest of her breakfast. He says that he needs to have a shower and get on with his day.
After his shower, I tuck Amelie into the bed as I gather up clothes to wear today and duck into the bathroom for a quick wash and change. Jonathan decides to go out and buy the new computer monitor we have decided to splurge on so I get breakfast started while he is out. He comes home with a huge box and we have fun opening it up together. I have to drag him away from installations to eat with me. I want to see what he is doing, how the set up works and what the software looks like for the new video card, but can’t help but feel that my back seat driving and questions annoy him and I can’t really understand what he is doing as I read more slowly than he does.
I get the baby down for a nap in our bed so that I can get the laundry pile out and bring it downstairs. If I had put her to sleep in her pram in the bedroom then she blocks my access to the laundry pile. I get the laundry going and feel quite ingenious about having been able to accomplish this. Amelie is up again and Jonathan is now playing the video game he bought. I feel myself sinking lower. The last thing I want is to be the nagging wife who stands between her husband and the things he loves to do. I don’t want to become that. Yet I feel jealous.
How can he find time to play a game when he doesn’t have time to feed his daughter or spend any time with me? I want him to stop playing that stupid game right now. There is only half an hour left before he leaves for work and the week begins and I say goodbye to him again. I feel the sadness and loneliness well up in me again. I decide that there is no point in having this conversation again. There is so little time left and nothing to gain by standing around feeling shitty. He senses that I am unhappy and asks if I am ok.
I don’t even want to go into it again. If he hasn’t heard me by now, then he must be stone deaf and I don’t want to feel like a jealous child pulling on his shirt tails for attention anymore. I decide to go out for a walk. He says, “You don’t want me to play this videogame, do you?” I say, “No that’s not it. I have to get out of here!” He comes outside as I am trying to get away from him and asks if I need help getting the stroller down the stairs. No I don’t. I am being a drama queen with my running out of the house without saying goodbye. On the other hand I am also trying not to barf my anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment and loss on him by turning away and holding it in.