Q: Ever feel like you’re failing at everything?
A: Yes. It’s a superpower, really, and I’m writing a book about it. Whether it makes me a hero or a villain is up to my readers.
The line between sanity and insanity is a fine one. I’m also convinced the line itself moves, thus I find myself teetering on the wrong side without even knowing how it happened. Motherhood’ll test you like that.
Fortunately for me I have a friend with whom I can be honest about the messiness of it all. Without judgement we both understand how close we can come to losing it, and how dark some of the days may seem. I’ve shared with her stories I felt almost too harrowing to articulate only to have her interrupt and say “me too.” Not only does it reassure me that maybe I’m not the monster I think I am, but there’s so much comfort in companionship.
We have a pact. At any given time in the future either of us could call the other and say “pack your bags, I’ll be there in ten minutes.” Without asking any questions, we would know the other would be ready. Off we would be without kids, without husbands, without warning.
We would probably go to a cabin in the woods, spend our days reading and hiking, and our nights sleeping uninterruptedly (I would even wear ear plugs.) We likely wouldn’t talk much, except perhaps to blow off steam over the precipitating incident. Questions and explanations are unnecessary because we’ve answered them a million times before. We consider it a given how close to the edge a mother can be.
The other day I said to her “we need a barre date.” For a brief moment she thought I meant a bar date, and while neither of us drink anything other than water except the occasional herbal tea, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “sure, I could do that.” Sometimes motherhood is like that. Nothing shocks us.
Plan A, of course, is to find a way to make the current situation workable. We do love our children and our husbands and the lives we have created. But Plan B is to make a quick getaway before something unredeemable happens. For me, just knowing I have a Plan B helps me stick it out in Plan A. That way I’m choosing to stay instead of feeling stuck and hopeless and without a voice. I’ve never had to use Plan B and I hope I never will. I do, however, text my Plan B friend often.
Solidarity, sisters. As rewarding as motherhood can be, it can also be so incredibly tough. We need each other to make it through.