I’m hiding away at my new favorite spot, a little french cafe a few towns over from Max’s preschool.  It has just enough noise to calm my thoughts, and just enough calm to stir the noise inside enough to form some very “writerly” things.

My cafe also has an entire bakery counter of deliciousness.  Things like chocolate croissants and raspberry tarts and tiny almond cakes.  And of course homemade granola with yogurt and fruit, which I always get because it’s the healthiest.  OK.  That’s a lie.  I stand in front of the huge menu and stare at the chocolate chip madeleines and the pecan sticky buns and the goat cheese quiche, and for a moment I am completely lost and can’t figure out which craving to give in to.  So I order the yogurt.  Damn you, yogurt.  With a sticky bun to go.

I’ve been needing the moments of quiet lately.  I love that Max loves his preschool, but I also love that it gives me a few short hours to decompress.

I’m embarassed to say that I’ve been feeling a little a lot down lately.  My son is sleeping through the night.  I had to wake him up for preschool this morning.  At 8:30 am.  Who is this child?  We live in a beautiful town that saw more than it’s fair share of sunshine this weekend.  I get to stay at home to mother my little guy in the best way that I know how.  Why does that life of privilege feel dark and dreary sometimes?  Mothering can be a lonely endeavor.

I have an amazing son.  It’s not his fault.

Dark and dreary has always followed me.  As hard as I try to paint away the occasional sadness with shiny new lip gloss and big bold earrings, there’s always been a tiny storm brewing inside of me.  Always.  Writing helps to wash the mudslides away.  But it’s hard to write about some of this here.  I fear being misunderstood.  I fear being judged.  I fear the scoffs of those who don’t know me well, and wonder how can this all be so hard when your life is so damn easy?

Random Tangent:  I am watching a perfectly coiffed Ann Taylor-dressed late-50ish woman stand in front of the three bins in the cafe labeled compost/landfill/recycle.  She has been standing there for a good three minutes.  Holding her receipt and her straw wrapper, trying to decide which bin to drop them in.  She pauses.  She looks at the other trash in the bins.  She looks around for someone to help her.  She finally walks away because she can’t decide.  Oh California, how I love you.

But back to the dark and dreary.  It’s mine to own.  After the adolescent onslaught of rollercoaster emotions, I learned to live with it and make the tiny whispers of depression my bitch.  I’ll ride WITH you, I thought.  I’d put my seatbelt on and prepare for the fast rush of wind that blew past me on the way down, and the surge of adrenaline that always brought me back up.   I never craved the escape of alcohol or the blurred lines of drugs.  I could self-medicate in other ways…..with brand new outfits and nights spent out with my girlfriends.  With the intensity of new relationships and the hope in starting life over again.  And over again.  And over again.

I knew that when I finally settled into motherhood, that the depths of my past would beckon.  I knew that I would feel lost sometimes, like when our Nanny asks me why my “dancing shoes” are in the garage.  I used to wear silver glitter shoes.  They thrilled me.  Life was so interesting then, and I can’t bear to throw them away.

Random Tangent:  The lady sitting next to me is crying HYSTERICALLY to her mother.  WAILING about something.  In the cafe.  Now as dark and dreary as I feel, and as much as I love to cry while talking to my own mother (because that’s what you do with moms, and on top of that, she’s a real life therapist), please for the love of god lady, GO OUTSIDE.  Even my own mother, who has seen me cry in restaurants, and makes a living out of telling people to embrace their emotions, would say “Good lord woman, pull yourself together!  There are people trying to enjoy their Croque Monseiurs in here!”  Perhaps it is not such a good idea that I try to make this cafe my new writing home.  Anyways….

I am not dissapointed.  I am not mourning the loss of my old self.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy this mothering thing.  MAX is wonderful.  My husband is wonderful.  This life is wonderful.  I have wonderful friends and a wonderful future that unravels unfolds every day.  Yesterday Max and I played outside in the backyard, and the cool ocean air ruffled his hair and wafted through our jackets.  The neighbor blasted some Christina Aguilera from his outside speakers (don’t ask) and Max danced a little groove thing at the top of his slide.  As we ran through the grass together, I looked down to find the tiny red button of a ladybug hiding between the blades.  We knelt together, my sweet-cheeked boy and I, and I let the ladybug travel up my finger and into Max’s palm.  We spent long minutes sitting knee to knee in that grass, plucking the ladybug out of it’s hiding place every time it tried to escape.  Max’s tiny voice imploring “Come here wittle guy….it ok.  You climb on my finger!”  Joy.  The backyard at 4 pm, with my kind, gentle (almost) three year old.  I was so grateful for that damn ladybug, because for those few minutes, it brought me back to earth.  To what is truly important.

But sometimes the dark and dreary beckons.  When I was 22 I used to the shut the door to my room in the apartment that Susie and I shared.  I would sprawl out across the bed and write and write and write, long cursive strokes in my journal.  Now….my legs are stretched out in front of me at the cafe with the neon colored macaroons.  A huge bowl of coffee sends a smoky SOS from beside my laptop.  There will be brighter days.  There will be ladybugs.  There will be joy.  But for now, I sit and write.

We’re talking on BlogHer about how we get happy….so come join us and share what soothes your dark and dreary. You can also enter to win an IPod touch!

Here’s to hoping that a little Max Music will brighten your day….


12 Replies to “Dark and Dreary”

  1. Ok, so I kinda feel like I’m stalking you, but I really enjoy reading your blog! And I take comfort in your words because I feel like they could be my own.
    Some days I feel like the worst mom ever because I don’t have the energy, emotionally or physically, to get myself and two kids ready to leave the house. But then I look at their beautiful little faces and I try to pull it together, for them. I put on a happy face and pretend all is well inside me. Basically I fake it til I make it. This mothering shit is hard! And if anyone wants to judge me, or you, or any other stay at home mom, well, fuck them. Yes, I drop f-bombs too…judge away. 🙂

    1. Thank you thank you thank you for this. It helps so much to know that I’m not the only one, and I am so appreciative of your honesty and the way that you’ve reached out 🙂 I was reading your comment with tears in my eyes, thinking “Seriously???!!! You too??!” So no, you’re not stalking me at all 😉 And of course I love the F-bombs….drop them any time!

  2. What is in the air? I have been feeling this too. You said it – “mothering can be a lonely endeavor” – and it doesn’t have to be that anything is wrong! It’s just the nature of the animal. Please don’t be embarrassed to admit it, you don’t whine about it or take any of the great parts of your life for granted. Thank you for having the courage to say that some days are dark and dreary – it makes it easier for me to say the same.

    1. Thank you Carinn! It was your post last week that actually gave me the courage to say something 😉 And I appreciate you saying that I don’t whine about it…because sometimes I feel like I do. A little 🙂

  3. Ah, how I hear you about the storms brewing inside of us. Tiny, yet there. Writing has been my therapy to keep them at bay, to keep them calm enough so I can look bright on the outside.

    1. I love how writing helps….it’s something special that’s just for you (not work, kids, spouse, etc.). Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I believe the gigantic moon brought this feeling out in many of us! I try to pull myself through these periods through humor – even if I’m faking it. I’m glad to see I’m not alone in this!

    1. Yes, what a great reminder that humor helps so much! Thanks for keeping it in perspective…and I’m glad I found your blog!

  5. I feel like a sadness bandwagon jumper, but I’m w/you on this one. I have waves of sad that envelop me and I try my best to just ride them out. I do, however, also tend to ride them out with the assistance of Jose Cuervo. He hasn’t been helping me as much as he used to, though. Asshole.

    Whenever I think “how can this all be so hard when your life is so damn easy?” I remind myself that there are so many levels to easy. Right now, my life is about 25 miles over the THIS SHIT AIN’T EASY limit, but I know there are others worse off. I know that, but I don’t always embrace it (b/c knowing it doesn’t make my sadness/issues magically disappear).

    And then I had to giggle at “pull yourself together” b/c I had a vision of The Incredibles’ Edna Mode smacking Elastagirl upside the head saying that. And now I am smiling, so I guess thanks for that. :o)

    1. Seriously, your comments make me nod my head in agreement, and then laugh out loud. All the time 😉 You’re not a bandwagon jumper, you’re a great mama with alot on your plate. “25 miles over”? Now I’m worried about you…I hope that you’re ok.

      1. I’m ok (relatively speaking, because I know it could all be so much worse). But thanks; don’t worry. I am trying to bright side my thinking. It just doesn’t always work when/how I want it to and when I hint toward the hardness of it all I come off sounding way more killmenow than I intended.

  6. Kim, I just recently discovered your blog & I must say, I am 100% hooked on it. I feel like I can relate so much with how much you love your children & how you feel like your losing you mind sometimes. Thank you for reminding mothers like us that we aren’t the worst moms possible!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU… Sincerely, Laura

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