Behind the mask of every mother there is at some point an undefinable emotion curdling under the surface that reeks of sour milk.
It hits each of us at random times, and no matter what – we, as women, refuse to talk about it with anyone but our closest friends – and sometimes we dont even trust them worried that they will think if we reveal our feelings, they will think we are an ass. Instead, we put on our happy faces, cart the kids to school, show up at their games and performances, cook them dinner, wash their laundry and smile and coo as much as possible – hoping that no one will notice. We even take it one step further by perpetuating our lies and denying our feelings that along the parental path we are slowly but surely forgetting who we are by defining ourselves by our children.
This emotion, this state of mind if you will is called “the Mom Funk!”
Unfortunately, the mom funk hits and then suddenly all of those day-to-day duties such as changing diapers and filling the fridge with yummy foods and kissing sweet-smelling foreheads goodnight, doesn’t make us all that happy. Even children laughing in another room and colorful drawings brought home from a kindergarten classroom can do little to stir the soul of a mother who is in the mom funk.
Sadly, because we are nearly forced and programmed by societal expectations to always be grateful, loving creatures, who are supposed to feel constantly showered with blessings from above simply because we have children to call our own, the mom funk goes without cure.
And moms in the funk, ashamed of feeling sick and tired of doing everything for everyone (but herself) hides behind the mask of motherhood and pretends that she is happy. Still smiling on cue. Still pretending to listen. Still getting up in the morning and cutting the crust off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so that no one will notice she is fading on the inside like a shadow does when thunderclouds roll in.
I know this. I have been in the mom funk many times. I am currently in the mom funk, where I wish I could lock myself away for a 3 day stretch and do nothing that involves doing something for anyone else. At this very moment, I resent spending my entire waking hours doing for others, driving my kids around, and feel caught up in a scene from GroundHog day the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning. It’s hard to be excited about the day ahead when you know exactly what to expect – and have become so regimented that you even drink your coffee at the same time each day.
Truth is, that just because you feel the mom funk from time to time, doesn’t mean you are an awful person or horrible undeserving mom. You are, after all, a human being – separate from your children.
But as moms, we cannot easily endure the mom funk without beating themselves into smithereens.
We tend to take the mom funk even further and internalize every sad story we have ever heard to make ourselves feel even worse about feeling stuck in the mom funk. We start wondering what kind of asshole could be tired of holding hands with her daughter, or having in-depth conversations with her teenager – especially when there are so many women in this world without kids, with sick kids, or who have lost kids. Then we wonder what the hell is wrong with us for feeling so ungrateful, so tired, so exhausted and so unenthused about motherhood. Every god damn book we have ever read prepares us for the notion that motherhood is the mack -daddy experience of a good life, right? So we face palm ourselves even further into the mom funk.
I am huge proponent of the fact that we shouldnt find our own gratitude by measuring another’s misfortune.
And I also believe, wholeheartedly, that if we were a little more honest with one another and sent out the “hey I am in the mom funk signal” to other women – we would be able to get passed this phase before it turns into depression, or before we lose ourselves.
We would realize that we are normal to have these feelings.
We would be able to understand that in order to GIVE to others, we have to first GIVE to ourselves. Just like when our cars are out of gas they don’t run, when moms are out of fuel – they too break down on the side of the motherhood road.
So many of us remain quiet and dishonest and ashamed of feeling what we feel.
And I am here to tell you that it is okay. It is okay to sit down some days and wonder why in the world you had kids. It is okay to not feel like talking to your children, and it is okay to be overwhelmed and frustrated and bored with motherhood. There is a major difference between being busy, and being fulfilled. Most of us are busy. Not as many are fulfilled. And your children cannot do that for you – only you can do that for yourself.
With experience and several bouts of the mom funk, I now realize that in order to be the mom I want to be, I have to take time to recharge me. Sure, this may mean that there a few days where the kids don’t get as much mommy attention – because mommy is trying to pay attention to herself. We have to rearrange our thinking to see this hiatus as not selfish, but as a way to stop being SELF-LESS. Think about the difference between being selfish and SELF-LESS. When you are self-less, what is it that you have to earnestly offer your children.
I am working through my current mom funk as best I can. And in a few days, or maybe a few hours – it will pass. Your own mom funk will pass, if you pay those feelings attention and commit to doing something for yourself. And by all means – cut yourself a break.
If you are in a mom funk, then don’t mull around and beat yourself up. If you cannot admit it to your friends or your husband than email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work through it together. I promise, I won’t judge. Because the mom funk my friends is REAL!!!!!