like a run-on sentence

March 3, 2012

I received an email from a mother struggling with her drinking and it inspired my last post. I wanted to share her story with you and she gave me permission to do so. Please offer her some support by reading her words. I remember so clearly exactly how it felt to feel what she feels in the fight to get to 5 o’clock and the fight to stop. We all need a better understanding of this very personal  and painful struggle. Thank you.

 

I’m keeping this mother’s identity anonymous:

(sorry for the really small text at the beginning. I just can’t seem to get it to get bigger.)

You are almost 2 and 1/2. You are a good – sweet – amazing girl, but today – this week – you have been extremely emotional and aggressive. I myself have been feeling the same. The weather is turning, you are growing and I am dealing with a heavy head every single day. The hangovers keep getting worse, like a run-on-sentence….

Today was going to be the day. It was planned. Daddy working late the next 3 nights so I thought I would get a head-start. 3 days under my belt, build up strength to go a whole week. Build it up when he wasn’t home to see me writhe and squirm and feel out of sorts – out of myself. See me struggle.

Maybe then I could stop without him knowing I even had a problem.

We went to the zoo. We played and it was fun and good. And I started to get excited because it was after 3pm when we left. With the 45 minute drive home, that meant we would hit the house at 3:45. So close to 4pm…..I wouldn’t have to wait.

But then I remembered. I was stopping today. I was going to try really hard.
Got home – you were cranky and I was too. I secretly was relieved (I had an excuse now –  a long, hard day – if I decided I needed one). You hit me in the face hard when I tried to change your diaper. You tried to kick me. This is very unlike you and it hurt my feelings more than my face.
We played blocks, played farm – all the while the clock crept to 5:25 and I felt PROUD. I haven’t made it to 5:25 since forever.
You haven’t napped and your hungry and you lash out by hitting me. I tell you “NO HIT” you do it again, but harder. I remain in control. Moments later you want to play “tickle me, mommy!” so we do. You get over excited and you kick me square in the face. It hurt. So many things hurt.
You want juice. I give you water, as its too late in the evening for juice. You throw the sippy cup and it hits my head. Hard. I cry out. “OUCH”. I yell at you. I put you in time out. I try to explain that you have hurt mommy – “that HURTS MOMMY”. So many things have hurt and no one understands. Ever. No one listens, especially not a 2 year old.
I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to deal with the hurt. I cant make you understand that you hurt me – of course I cant, your only 2! I cant do feelings – I don’t know how to because they overwhelm me. I prefer numb. But this is the story of my life.
YOU have hurt me and I need to make you SEE that. But it never happens. So I nurse my hurt with a bottle of wine. The wine makes it all feel better – erases the hurt feelings, the guilt over yelling at my 2 year old beautiful, innocent daughter. The fear I have that I cannot control my life, that my LIFE AND myself is out of control. The fear that I am subtly teaching my daughter the same issues….
So I have a glass, then another. I feel better and I realise that I am trying to fight a battle with my 2 year old that has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me. The wine calms me and makes me feel more in control. I am a better, paitent, more fun mommy.  I hug and kiss you and everything is alright for now.
I put on Yo Gabba Gabba and step outside to smoke a cigarette and calm myself down.
Despite everything, I am still able to put it aside and be a mom. Get things done. Dinner, bath, books, bed. Love. So much love. Probably too much love than you can handle.
What will happen when I don’t have a buffer?
:::::
Thank you, Mama, for your courage in sharing with me and allowing me to share you with the friends of this space. You are stronger than you think you are. I’m sure of it.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

tara pohlkotte March 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

oh, the strength in your honesty. I am inspired. my daughter can get like that too, and I hate being misunderstood…so I know the desperate attempt to get them to understand, only to feel low when you realize it’s not them that needs to understand.
tara pohlkotte recently posted..Broken Eves

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Robin | Farewell, Stranger March 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Bravo to her for sharing. You’re right, Heather, we all need a better understanding. Thank you for sharing as well.
Robin | Farewell, Stranger recently posted..Writing Dangerously

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Kim Van Brunt March 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Such beautiful honesty. Thank you for sharing your struggle with us — it helped me understand so much better. I can completely identify with the hurt feelings that a toddler can bring; even my 1-year-old son can bring tears to my eyes and leave me defeated when he gets mad and I feel like I never handle it well. I see in myself ways that I cope, ways that I’m kind to myself, and it’s not that different. Loved this. It made me see myself, and helped me see you.
Kim Van Brunt recently posted..{Honestly} Adoption: It doesn’t get easier the second time

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Alison@Mama Wants This March 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Oh such pain, such raw emotions, such honesty. Thank you for sharing this.
Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..My ‘Chair’

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Tricia (irishsamom) March 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm

You are so brave, to write this so honestly and with such raw emotion. You can do this. You will need the help of others, but you can do it. So many have reached this point and they have reached out and it will get better. I can promise you there is help out there for you, I hope you can find it. Please don’t beat yourself up. You are such a loving mama and you have so much ahead of you. You can do this.

Love and hugs to you xxx

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Fionnuala March 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm

You are amazing, strong, resourceful, brilliant, intelligent. Seriously. Amazing. Share your story, your heart, and your hurt… until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

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angela March 4, 2012 at 9:50 am

Thank you for sharing this brave and honest post. It can be overcome.
angela recently posted..Running Back – Get Fit Update

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But Why Mommy March 4, 2012 at 10:55 am

Thank you for sharing this. It took a lot of courage for her to write this, hopefully it is a good first step.
But Why Mommy recently posted..Unknown

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Cheairs March 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm

To the the beautiful mother who wrote this e-mail to Heather…..you words are are honest, brave and full of courage. Every word your wrote I know to the core of my being….waiting for the five oclock….one glass of wine turning to one bottle of wine then two bottles of wine….wanting to stop…..but so afraid of giving up this drink that had become my best friend…..thinking that the glass of wine was my oxygen mask…..helping me to survive when it was really choking me.
So please know that you are not alone. I have now been sober for two and a half years and your pain, your loneliness, your fear….I know it. Heather’s blog and her honest writing about her drinking and her road to recovery has been such a gift to me. There is also a book called Drinking a Love Story that was instrumental in helping me to ask for help.
Here is the link to the book.
http://www.amazon.com/Drinking-Love-Story-Caroline-Knapp/dp/0385315546

Thank you for your email to Heather …..and Heather thank you for sharing the e-mail. I hold you both tonight in my prayers.

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Galit Breen March 5, 2012 at 12:07 am

Heather? Thank you for sharing this.

It’s brave and raw and real – and oh my, yes – we all need to read and learn more.
Galit Breen recently posted..Practical Parenting

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The Mommy Psychologist March 5, 2012 at 2:53 am

It’s been five years since I did the five o’clock struggle. There are SOOOOOO many times that I think about drinking after I tuck my three year old in at night. Being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done and that’s saying alot because I’ve had a hard life. There are so many times that I miss the buffer. But then I really remember what it was like….

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Jessica March 5, 2012 at 6:55 am

What a difficult struggle and such honesty in sharing her story. I wish her her nothing but strength and support as she fights this battle.
Jessica recently posted..Outside the Lines

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Sue M March 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Oh honey. What I felt as I read this was that you are putting way too much pressure on yourself to be the perfect mom and playmate. Guess what? You will go absolutely freaking insane if you hold yourself to this standard.

I remember when I just had one child and I tried holding myself to this standard and I was miserable and felt guilty for being miserable. I was trying SO HARD to do it right. My drug of choice was food and I gained 80 pounds in one year. The days felt thousands of hours long, even though I adored my baby girl. It was a recipe for frustration and depression and life got much better for all of us once I became a little more realistic. Speaking as the mom to four kids (aged 2 – 10) who are happy, healthy, smart, and thriving can I offer a big heaping helping of totally unsolicited advice that is unrelated to the drinking issue? Because my heart really went out to you re: the pressure you’re putting on yourself. So – my advice….

– You do not need to play with your kid for hours every day. Maybe 45 minutes of quality mom/kid playtime every day. Some reading time. Some talking time. The rest of the time? They need to learn how to entertain THEMSELVES. Yes, even at two. I do not want to raise a self-centered kid who thinks my world revolves around entertaining him. Do I love him? Yes. Does he know he is important to me? Yes. Do I consider it my job to entertain him all day long? Absolutely not. Do I tell him to go play? Yep. At no time in the history of the WORLD have mothers put more pressure upon themselves to be playmates for their children. It’s crazy.
– Make a routine. When I have been a SAHM, routines saved my sanity. They gave order to my day and made the whole thing feel less endless. And it can’t be a routine based on self-sacrifice – it has to be workable and realistic.
– Include some things that YOU enjoy and that are good for YOU in that routine – going to the gym, or getting a babysitter for an hour each day while you take a class or volunteer or what-have-you. Find a kid-loving teenager or pre-teen in your neighborhood and use her services. A happy, healthy mom is able to be a happy, healthy mom for her kids. A depressed, bored, unsatsified, and overwhelmed mom – well, you know what I’m saying here.. Your child, as darling as she is, can’t be your whole world. I remember when I felt like I was selfish for taking a solitary shower, but guess what? SO NOT SELFISH.
– When you do play with your kid one on one? Make it something YOU enjoy. I liked hide and seek. I like reading. I like going to the park. I refused to play barbies or little people because I found it insanely boring. Little people (or whatever) are toys for kids, designed to entertain kids. Not enjoying endless hours of kids games doesn’t mean you are a bad mom. It means you are a NORMAL ADULT. (See above, re: Kids need to learn how to entertain themselves.)
– Playgroup. Whether it’s playgroup where you socialize with other moms, or (even better) drop-off playgroup it can be a sanity saver.

My heart really goes out to you. Being home with your kiddo shouldn’t be a prison sentence. You have to create a life that works for BOTH of you.
Sue M recently posted..ROOOOOBOTS

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Diana April 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I hear this and see myself in there. I’ve been sober for eight days–the longest I’ve been sober in six years. I have so many blessings in my life but still felt that emptiness I thought only wine could fill. My half bottle quickly turned into a whole bottle; staying up after my husband and kids were sound asleep to have just one more glass so I could feel the world spin and my burdens lift. I felt so ashamed but my when I brought it up to my family that I thought I was drinking too much, I heard “But you don’t drink during the day” and “You are such a good mom and need a way to unwind.” It took screaming “It’s not okay. I’m not okay. This is not fine.” In the end I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of. Thank you for sharing your story and you’re not alone.

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