I have not been blogging much. Life with twin toddlers, homeschooling, and my job has really been a lot, and to be honest, I struggle with my mental health on an almost daily basis. The days that I’m home with the kids without my wife I find especially taxing. I often cry. I am so sensory defensive, that the constant noise and touch really puts me on edge. I also have a hard time with visual clutter, and I’m sure that you can imagine there is SO MUCH mess and clutter with four kids! We did clean out our garage and back patio to use as space, which was helpful, but it is also more space to clean up. It seems impossible to keep on top of everything.
I used to be the type of mom who prided myself on taking the girls on adventures, learning from exploring our local area as well as places farther away. It is just too much with all four. Even the trips we have taken have felt almost unbearable and miserable to me. I never dreamed I’d be the type of mother who finds mothering so painful. I might be getting old… I feel I’ve aged 10 years or more since the twins were born. My face in the mirror is one I hardly know. My energy is always low. I feel it’s hard to get up and get moving all day long. I’ve had labs done, and nothing physical has shown up. I’ve lost over 20 pounds, and I still don’t feel better. I have a job that for the most part I like, and find fulfilling enough. It’s not like it’s an amazing dream job, but it’s good enough that I’m content to stay there for a long time. I have a wonderful, happy marriage. I enjoy homeschooling, planning the curriculum, learning alongside the girls, and spending much more time with them than I would get to if they went to school.
But I struggle. I struggle so much. The mess, the screaming and shrieking, and the toddlers clawing or jumping on me really make me feel a sort of insanity. I often burst into tears when they make yet another huge mess. I feel knots in my stomach thinking of spending a whole day doing that. Do other twin moms (or any moms) also feel the same? Maybe we are all sitting in our homes, silently drowning. Maybe it would have been easier if my sister, friends, or other family members were around. Maybe I have developed more mental health problems than I had the first time I had a toddler. It’s hard to say.
I have stopped writing. I stopped blogging or journaling. I have stopped sharing myself much with the world, except for some facebook posts of events or shared instagrams about certain topics of interest. There just isn’t much to share. The same droning on and on, mindless venting and complaining about toddlers, messes, finances, and all of my parenting mistakes. I have stopped wanting to travel, or at least the thought of traveling with all the kids is a strong deterrent. There are some places in this country I’d like to see, but I no longer care if I go to other countries. This was such a huge desire for my whole life until recently, it feels shocking to write it, but also it is very true. I have stopped enjoying it when I do travel. I just want to go home and be done. I am unable to financially afford 6 plane tickets to anywhere, in any case, even to make it home to see family in Michigan. I have developed a fear of flying that I never used to have. I feel like avoiding it altogether. On my days off, I have started wanting to just… stay home. Not go to parks or museums or anywhere. Just stay home, and bear it. Everything feels much too hard.
I got a certain journal for Christmas that I wanted, and have yet to even open it. I can only rarely do things I like (read a book, do a puzzle, sit quietly in nature) so most of my “down time” is spent on screens. I sometimes want only one thing: to sleep. Sleep just a little more. I am often very homesick, but not for any home that exists anymore. I miss my grandma’s house, my grandparents, knowing that I could “go home” and they would be there. I miss lying in the comfortable saggy old bed in the parlour bedroom, listening to the news from the livingroom that my grandparents were watching, moonlight coming in through the window over our fields. I miss feeling that I was walking on the blades of grass, small stones and dirt paths, that my ancestors walked upon, and knowing I was in my place. I miss the smell of Midwestern rain, the crisp fall breeze, the damp grass in the morning, the silence of a snowy day. Sometimes it feels like I will never truly be home again. Certainly, the property being sold to people I don’t like, makes it impossible to even think of that place as home even by association.
Mostly, I miss feeling that I am a person of my own. That I have a self. It is hard to remember that feeling, even. Who was that person that loved to travel? That sang along passionately to favorite songs? Who liked to do things, got excited, had things to write about? I barely know.
This is perhaps just what it means to grow old. Maybe my grandmother felt the same sense of loss and distance from her younger self as her children got older. Maybe by the time they were grown she was someone else entirely. Maybe she wished she could get a little bit of the younger woman back, or maybe by the time she was my grandma, she no longer wanted to. I wish she was here to ask.