It's Thursday evening and mommy is having her weekly mental breakdown. My therapist pointed out that every Friday morning when I see her, I have a tale to tell about my breakdown the night before. She wondered if it might have something to do with me needing to have something to talk about in therapy. But that's not it. The reason I break down every Thursday evening around dinner time is because this is when I realize that I am a failure.
At least this is what I tell myself, over and over again, like clockwork.
At the end of every day, I feel like a failure as a mother. I never feel like I've done enough. I haven't paid enough attention; I haven't played enough, read enough, taught her enough. I've let her be alone too much; let her watch too much television. Way too much television. I've yelled too much, gotten too angry too often. I have failed her in every way.
I don't feel like this in the beginning of the week. Every Monday I start off thinking this new week is going to be different. That I'm going to be better, that I'm going to be the best mom I can be. By three o'clock I start to feel that slipping through my fingers and reality starts to set in.
The reality is that I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I know how to feed her, care for here when she's sick, make sure she's safe, the basics of care. But I don't know how to play with her. I don't know how to entertain her, educate her. It's just the two of us, all day long, and I don't know what to do. We can't go anywhere since we don't have a car. We have no yard. And I've essentially isolated us from any friends she might have.
So she plays alone. A lot. She reads. She watches too much television. I try to do things with her, but she has the attention span of a flea and apparently I have forgotten how to just play. We read, we splash in the kiddie pool. But by three o'clock I have run out of ideas for both of us. And then the clock starts ticking, counting down until her dad gets home. Because he'll know what to do. He knows how to play, how to be silly, how to be and do all the things she needs. And I've got three hours to kill until then.
By the time Thursday comes around, I am done. Used up. And this is when the voice starts telling me that I am not enough. That I am a failure. And I become frantic, panicky, trying to tell the voice it's wrong, trying to prove it's wrong. All this leads to is frustration, irritation, anxiety and usually lots of yelling. And then the voice sits back and quietly laughs, because I have just proven it right.
I know I need something just for me, and school is starting soon, so I'll have that. But I feel like that's just going to be more time that I'm not giving her. And it doesn't do anything for her. And it still won't teach me how to be a good mom. I don't know that I have that in me. I love her to pieces, but most of the time I feel like she deserves more than I have to give. She deserves a better mom, not a failure. And I don't know how to fix it.