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I Never Knew Being A Mother Would Be So Hard For You

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Hi, my name is Kate and I am 36 and I’m having a serious case of lost identity. Or maybe it’s a midlife crisis. Or a little post-partum depression. Or maybe I’m just tired, overweight and mentally drained.

Who knows which one.

I have three boys, a husband, a home, and a job I love. I am beyond blessed.

I have devoted my life to the humans in my life. And again, most days, I am happy to do it. But some days, some weeks, I don’t feel that way. I feel like I have lost myself along the way.

I look in the mirror and I hardly recognize myself anymore. And as I approach middle agedness, that is really scary.

It’s not that I necessary look old. It’s that I look like someone I don’t even recognize. I look tired. I look like I’ve let myself go. I look angry. I look really rushed.

Rushed to shower. Rushed to eat. Rushed at stoplights. Rushed at pick up and drop off. Rushed to get dinner on the table. Even rushed at Target.

Rushed to type this because a baby is screaming and one is getting off the bus in 11 minutes.

And that can’t possibly be me. Rushed. I’m typically unrattled. I’m the one who can handle anything. The boy mom. The special needs mom. The happy one. The positive one. I always smile. I always find the joy.

But lately, I feel almost empty.

When I’m with my kids I feel guilty for not working and when I’m working I feel guilty for not playing with my kids more. It’s a lose-lose at times.

In a way I feel like I wasted my education.

I feel like a housekeeper, a cook, a chauffer, and a ring leader. I feel like I always have sick kids and I can’t finish the laundry or squeeze my butt into my fat jeans.

I know I’m a good mom. I don’t doubt myself in that department. But I also feel like all I am is a mom sometimes.

I feel like I’m disappearing into nothing. Some days I am shocked at what upsets me. I didn’t know I could be jealous of my husband for getting to poop alone. He’ll be in the bathroom, on his phone, and I’ll be angry.

I’ll yell for him to hurry up as one kid is crying, the other one needs to be fed and the phone is ringing.

The other day my husband and I drew straws to determine who got to go upstairs and change the pee sheets. Because it meant 5 minutes alone. I lost.

That’s what it’s come too.

I didn’t know that I could consider a shower a luxury either. Or not have time to do it. It blows my mind.

I am a very capable woman and I can’t find time to shower. I laugh even as I type it.

But with a baby, a very socially active and at times emotional 7 year old and a severely autistic child, showers have to be before 5 am or after 10 pm. And by that point, this mama is exhausted.

I used to care about how I looked. Like really care.

I ate well. I exercised. I showered. I put makeup on. I’d peek at hashtags on Instagram like ‘outfits for summer’ and pin cute outfits.

Now, I wear hoodies. Dirty ones. Grey t-shirts.

I grab my clothes off of the floor every morning.

And the sad part is I almost don’t care. I’m too tired to care. There are so many more important things to do than look cute. Like sleep. Or get my job done. Or go to Sawyer’s baseball game. And I choose those things with happiness.

But then, I see myself, and feel sad. I feel like I’ve lost myself. Almost entirely.

I have no hobbies. I used to of course. And I have things I love to do but if given the choice I would most likely choose a nap.

I have no time to do anything. I just care for kids. For my home. I keep the ship going.

I watch tv shows in 15 minute increments. I stare at my phone for entertainment. I answer text messages three days late.

I’m nonstop busy and yet bored at the same time. It’s a bizarre way to feel.

I don’t know how to fix this funk I’m in. But I’m working on it. I just want to stand still. I want to sit. I want to walk. I want to remember who I am. And what I like to do.

I want to slow down so I can enjoy this. Because I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to resent it.

I don’t want to be angry. What I’ve learned is that there is only so much of me. And I need to find balance.

This year I will find balance in motherhood, marriage, my job, my home and my sanity. That’s my goal. Learn to laugh more too and give myself grace whenever I can.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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