Hi, I am Jessica. Millennial mommy is a place where we can be free to be honest, share our thoughts we’re too afraid to admit, and be our true, hardworking, career-oriented, and super lost selves who are just trying to figure it all out, keep their kids alive and happy, and survive another day.
It’s no secret that toddlers are a pain in the ass. They’re demanding, emotional, and full of energy that is unobtainable for thirty-something parents. If we’re lucky, a couple of coffees can fuel us just long enough to chase them around the yard for two laps before our everything hurts.
Raising two toddlers at once – while also being in close proximity to a third – is no easy feat. If you thought the newborn stage was rough on us, you were wrong. That stage was like a bouquet of daisies compared to when the aptly-named Terrible Two’s kicked in.
Back then, we had time for things like cooking, self-care, hot coffee, and yes, even blogging. It’s no coincidence that this website suffered a lull around the same time the girls approached their second year.
Toddlers are brutal.
They now understand the word “no” and use it liberally. The multiple protests we see on the daily, they’re real.
They cling to our legs, hollering for snacks or to be picked up.
They get into places they don’t belong, like cupboards and drawers, pulling out all the things and throwing them without regard like confetti.
They squirm and wrestle with you when we attempt to change their diapers. Changing diapers was never an exhausting task until you’ve done it 6 to 8 times a day while pinning down a thirty-pound human.
When it comes to nap and bed times, it’s not unusual to redirect them multiple times to their room before they successfully remain in bed. Oh. And it almost always is followed by a demand for water. They go the whole day with drinks at their disposal, but when it’s time for lights out, they become so dehydrated you’d think they just spent the day in the sun.
Every meal we eat is accompanied by a parade of feet, two pleading sets of eyes, and monkey-like body scaling you’d be surprised to witness in real life. Their food thievery is worse than a begging dog, since the children have the ability to literally steal your fork and food while you’re fending off the second child’s hands.
I’m exhausted just typing this.
But exhausting doesn’t equal bad, it’s just that when it comes to doing other things in our life, we have reached the point of not wanting to do anything at all in lieu of resting. Going to bed early is our normal state of bliss.
And the giggles. ALL. THE. GIGGLES.
Toddlers can be funny. Hilarious even! There are moments throughout the day where we can’t stand them, but other moments where we forget about their troubling phase and melt from their smiles, new phrases, and belly laughs.
Those belly laughs. Sometimes we don’t know why they find certain things as hilarious as they do, but for the most part, we don’t mind. They can go on finding humour in fighting with each other, playing with our flabby bellies, and stealing our glasses.
But there’s one thing that they find funny that I am SO not cool with.
Yaw, for real. They love to poke my eyeballs.
And the joy they experience while doing it – even with my multiple fly-swat attempts, dodges of four hands of fingers coming at me, and my continuous pleas to stop – is… confusing. And evil.
I don’t know what has convinced them that poking eyeballs is a fun pastime, but yo. This is the worst.
Give me a diaper blowout any day. No problem. So long as it means that I don’t have to endure wee little germ-infested fingers making contact with my soft-tissued organs.
I’m not sure they understand just how much I find this new interest of theirs to be my own personal form of torture, but my goodness, hell is real. And in it lives eye-poking toddlers.
I’ve attempted all of my parenting go-to’s to get them to stop:
reasoning (“Mommy doesn’t like it when you do that.”)
bribery (“Stop right now and I’ll give you a cookie!”)
empathy (“You’re making mommy cry!” and “You’re giving mommy a boo boo!”)
yelling (yep, I do that, too), and even,
acceptance (*show no reaction and they’ll no longer find it amusing. Just let is happen – *poke, poke* – oh lord, please end this*)
Of course, I could just stand up. Normally, when the eyeball attacks happen, it’s when I am sitting around. I’m either enjoying a coffee or meal, watching TV or scrolling through my phone, or even just having fun with them. But the point is: I’m low and within reach.
It always starts with Sophie pushing up my glasses to the top of my head, which makes her proud for some reason.
” I did it!” she exclaims, followed by a couple of hand claps.
And then as I take in her sweet smile and gestures, Chloe is behind me going in full speed for the jab.
They’ve coordinated their attacks, like velociraptors.
I say, “No poking!” and they respond with, “Yes, pokee!” and chuckles.
I do and say everything I can to get them to fend off their claws before I finally turn into Chris Pratt and give them something to fear.
And then the fun is over. They’ve ruined it. For me, at least. They continue to laugh at their own joke, while I am forced to stand in a corner wiping tears from my eyes.
I’ve lost yet another battle between twins and an outnumbered parent.
It may not come as a surprise to learn that another mother has been hit by this mental burden called depression, but it’s something that is entirely misunderstood by everyone, including the ones who suffer from it. I’m not about to go into the reasons why everyone should sympathize with sad and lost mothers, but I would like to shed some light on what it’s like.
Your life, without children, is the life you’ve always known. You’ve had many features of your life revolve around you in your little bubble; your needs, your wants, your hopes, your dreams, your career, your relationships. Everything you’ve ever done has been to benefit you, even when it comes to being compassionate or completing selfless acts.
Even if you are an entirely unselfish person, you are still living your life on your own terms, worrying – in the long run – about yourself and the people you love. If a relationship or job brings you down, you simply plan an escape from it in order to be a happier and healthier version of yourself, chalking it up to a learning experience.
Children make your personal bubble no longer a sole focus. Each child becomes a new bubble to absorb and carry upon your shoulders, adding additional pressure, worry, and responsibility.
While other relationships are notably important to us – spouses, parents, siblings, friends – their bubbles remain their own, and they are a mere feature in ours. Children, on the other hand, start out with a very tiny bubble that will continue to grow under our supervision until they can carry the weight of it on their own.
When a woman has children, everything that was in her own bubble expands beyond its limit, increasingly becoming stretched to a point that even the smallest of additions can cause it to burst. We juggle and balance and do our best to repair even the tiniest of holes and pretend that it’s not too much weight to carry, but we eventually run out of tape and glue and the bubble pops, and so goes our strength.
When the bubbles pop and everything in them lay scattered at our feet, we feel awful for not being strong enough to support it all. We feel empty and lost without the bubble and everything it contained, and so we also feel vulnerable and detached because we have nothing to cling to.
Our relationships with our loved ones become distant and any bond we felt with our babies are more difficult to locate, as it was the newest and smallest part of our bubble.
The guilt of crumbling and being unable to pick up the pieces of ourselves is what ultimately labels our dull feeling of being depressed. We have become a failure in our own lives, and so we feel like we’re failures as mothers, unable to focus on anything but overcompensating and offsetting the exhaustion and anxiety that cripples us in trying to find our old selves while also raising very small, dependant humans.
We feel paranoid and scared and anxious and completely derailed because we have lost touch with ourselves in trying to manage very fragile entities, like the individual bubbles of other people. We can’t find anything we used to enjoy, because it’s all part of the mess that lay at our feet.
As a mother, we’re constantly told what to do and how to do it by mothers before us and doctors who monitor every milestone. Every answer we seek is given to us by someone else, leaving us to constantly question ourselves as a competent parent. In trying to do right by our children, we end up failing. This adds even more doubt and paranoia to our spiralling world and makes us want to escape it all.
We pray for a giant reset button to correct the mess because we’ve realized that we can’t do it ourselves.
Being a good mom means having your shit together.
I was once prescribed medication to simply seal the shit in tupperware and create new and artificial happiness, when other avenues were exhausted and didn’t quite cut it.
The best thing I’ve realized in coming to terms with depression and admitting it to myself is that if you are motivated enough to get out of your pile of shit, there are always people who will grab your excrement-covered hands and heave you up to tackle it one piece at a time.
Fill yourself with a community who will not only help fill your bubbles with air and life, but will also create a new foundation for your bubbles to sit upon; one that is rooted in cement and fastened with the best adhesive you can get – love.