— -- It’s Memorial Day weekend. We are up at the cabin with family. A time where we are supposed to be resting and relaxing. A time of thankfulness. A time of remembering those who have given their lives for our freedom.
My husband has been working overtime and doing freelance work, so we’ve been looking forward to this trip for weeks. We even bought our twin 2-year-olds their first fishing poles and planned a treasure hunt.
And then there’s me.
A massive ball of, “just take me to the sanitarium."
I mean, one of my boys just looked at me and said, “Mama’s tired.” Yes. Yes, Bennett. Mama is tired. Mama is reeeaaal tired. I do my best to keep my emotional issues from my boys but they are getting older and more perceptive and there is only so much “fake it ’til ya make it” I can get away with. And I am realizing that you don’t just have to have a mental illness like I do for this to be an issue. This world will make you crazy if you aren’t there already.
I am dead serious.
We are all just out there slogging it out. Doing our best to raise our kids. To keep them safe. To protect them from the big bad world.
But what happens when the world tells you that you are the problem? That you’re not being careful enough. Aware enough. Diligent enough.
That was my biggest fear coming into motherhood. In fact, for a majority of my life I was adamant that I was not going to have children. I didn’t think, given my own childhood and my issues with anxiety and depression, that I would be fit for the job. And I think the current cultural climate does not help. Too many rules. And honestly, by these standards, no one is fit.
The night before we left I read an article about a study that had been done about the worst types of sunscreen to use on children and adults. Sure enough, the stuff I just bought a while back was No. 1 and No. 2. Of course. Of course it is. Do I throw it out and waste the $30, which is no small sum for us? Then go out and buy the good stuff, the lotion made by tiny fairy angels who infuse it with love and eternal life, for the low low price of my left ovary? And, by the by, it’s only available in California, because that’s where the fairy angels live. Or do I go ahead and lather my children up in this toxic death cream because I obviously, according to this article, don’t care about them?
I hate life.
I am tired, people. And it’s not just because my husband is working a lot. Or because I have twin toddlers that only function at 0 percent or 120 percent. They live on what I like to call, Captain Me Planet. There is zero visibility and they are flying at 100 mph anyways. No big deal. I got this.
Please don’t call CPS.
I am just sick and tired of all the rules. Rules about food. Rules about hygiene. Rules about clothing. Rules about schooling/education. Rules about development. Rules about medication. Rules about sleep methods/co-sleeping. Rules about playtime. Rules about friends. Rules about car seats. Rules about breast feeding. Rules about child wearing. Rules about television. Rules about the rules.
And you can exchange other words for rules. Opinions. Lessons. Studies. Guidelines. Lists. Programs. Beliefs. Standards. Policies. Ad nauseam.
I’ve had it. Please, and I mean this from the bottom of my overly exhausted heart, take your scientific pie chart and shove it.
I never realized in all the years of my anxiety and worrying about having kids, that maybe I would not be the problem after all. That loving my boys and doing my best to just provide for them with the resources that are available to me, without losing my mind or breaking the bank, was what a responsible parent looks like.
That being bi-polar or on medication is not what would keep me up at night. Instead I’m awake wondering if I washed the boys new clothes we just bought before they wore them today because I read an article about them having toxic chemicals in them that are bad for their skin.
Can we just go ahead and say that everything everywhere is trying to kill us? Always? And just get it over with? Move on? We’re all gonna die someday anyhow. This has gotten out of hand.
Instead, I want to feed my children one meal. Just one meal, and not have that little voice in the back of my head gnawing at me about whether or not what they are ingesting is possibly the feast of Satan. I just don’t know it yet because I haven’t had the time in my super flexible schedule to research all the ingredients on the packaging.
I am not saying being proactive is wrong. I am not saying caring about these issues is wrong. I am not saying having a voice is wrong. Do what you can. When you can. I know I do. For all you Mamas knocking it out of the park with this stuff, right on. You have my utmost respect. Truly. You are to be commended.
I’m just tired. Tired of it all. I look at my boys when I put them to bed every night and they are the sweetest, happiest, healthiest people that I have ever met. So far, they are the best thing I have ever done. This is the one thing in my life that I know that I’m getting right. Whether the latest mommy trends agree or not. And sometimes I wish I lived in a time where I wasn't inundated with these daily articles.
My father and stepmother run an after care facility for trafficked children in Thailand. Two weeks ago they took in a 3 year old. I repeat, a 3 year old. She has never spoken and is completely malnourished. Only God knows what she has seen, endured. Meanwhile, we here in the West are getting bent out of shape about what time we put our kids to bed.
So that’s it. Post all the scathing articles. Share the latest revelations. I’ll pass for now. Life is hard enough. I’m going to live and soak in each moment with my boys instead. When I see, “10 Things You Had No Idea Were in the Air You Are Breathing Right Now,” or, “Did You Know That Opening Your Eyeballs Can Be Fatal?” I am going to shut my computer and go to sleep. And dream about our next camping trip. Or hiking adventure. Because I’m tired. Really, really, tired. And I’m more interested in living each day with my children than dying with them.
Thank you and good night.
(Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 2, 2016. It originally appeared on Sarah Kallies' website. It has been reprinted here with permission.)