The Conundrum of Motherhood

It’s Mother’s Day in America, a holiday I often avoid. This sounds ridiculous if you know me -or, at least, know of my progeny. I’m currently carrying my sixth child. Most of the time, I raise five others. Even this far into the job, however, I dislike identifying as a mother. I don’t even see myself as one.

Still ridiculous, right?

This conundrum of thought, turmoil of inner peace, and mental confusion of purpose has haunted me since I first agreed to carry a child. I’ve had great support from my husband; that’s not the problem. I’ve had relatives agree with my familial decisions; that’s not the problem, either. I’ve had many women to look to as examples, who balance children and a career; which also doesn’t seem to be the problem.

The only conclusion I’ve been able to make is that I am discontent. Me, who can and does make children, is unhappy doing so. Ungrateful.

…which, I hope, has more to do with life plans contrary to domesticity and not with despising the progeny I’ve made. Although, we did discover, last night, that one of my children carved a hole in his bedroom wall in order to conceal a laptop computer. *sigh*

I just …thought I’d …DO something in life. Something important.

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My husband, and many others, say raising children is the most important thing. Logically, I understand that. After all, who will live on the world if not the offspring of those willing to make them? Just …raising children is not, personally, fulfilling to me.

In some ways it is -ways like teaching my sons to read. My heart swells whenever I see them sitting, intently, reading a novel on their own. Or, whenever I see that look in their eyes when they bake their own bread. When they score a goal on the soccer team. When they help each other and are happy.

On days like that, I love being their mother.

On other days, though; days where I’m stuck inside with only their brawlings and their dishes and their laundry and their holes-in-the-walls for company, my mental health takes a beating. I dip into a dark hole of regret, wondering where the light comes from.

So, if you feel similarly, I get you. In fact, maybe we should get holes next to each other and call out supportive aphorisms. Or, throw each other some chocolate.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with my working plan -that of keeping at this mothering thing and sneaking a few, me-time things in here and there. You know, like writing.

On that note, happy Mother’s Day. Right? 🙂

©2021 Chel Owens

Midnight Reflections on Motherhood

Back in my college days, I watched a documentary on the animals of the Galápagos Islands. Zoologists observed strange, heartless behavior in a bird there:

The Nazca booby, a Galápagos Island seabird, emerges from its shell ready to kill its brother or sister (Science Daily).

In the video, I saw the evidence. If a mother had more than one offspring, the larger one shoved the smaller out. Where it died.

Biologists have linked the murderous behavior to high levels of testosterone and other male hormones found in the hatchlings (Science Daily).

Sometimes, when I watch my children (all boys) interact, this clip comes to mind. Especially the last bit. See, the shocked zoologists tried stepping in; stopping Little Billy Booby from ousting Little-er Harry.

What happened? The mother died. She just couldn’t keep up with feeding that extra mouth.

…..

Well, I’d best go tuck all my boobies into bed…

©2021 Chel Owens

Baby Blues (Eyes)

Baby blues see
searching seeking
roving room for mother’s eyes.

Baby blues
‘tween flop-eyed wand’rings
stare steadfastly into brown.

Baby blues close
shuffling snoozing
dreaming milkmade happy times.

Baby blues
what are you thinking?
closed-lid dancing; furrowed frown.

Baby blues
so deep and changing
knowing sagely I love you.

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Photo Credit: Brandon Day

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Morning Mom is Coming to Town

You better sit up;
Better open your eyes-
Better get up
‘Fore you get a surprise.
Morning Mom is stomping the ground.

She’s opened your blinds;
Yelled at you twice-
Gonna come give you sched’ling advice.
Morning Mom is starting to frown.

She knew when you weren’t sleeping,
Staying up to read, instead.
And now she’s leaning over you
And her breath could curdle bread.

Oh! You better sit up;
Better open your eyes-
Better get up
‘Fore she brings in the ice.
Morning Mom is layin’ it down…

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Also posted at my motherhood site.

Parenting: The Fine Line

I’m no expert at parenting. My life plan was not to be a mother; I use this as an excuse whenever raising offspring is difficult.

Still, I care about my kids. I care that they aren’t psychopaths or sociopaths. I care that they know how to cook, clean, and respect authority. They’ll definitely put the seat down.

Training my spawn involves a lot of strain, some of which comes from doubt:

Am I doing the right thing by making his friend send him home to finish a job?

Should I have yelled when my sweet, little pre-teen gave me attitude?

Was that too harsh to make him walk to school because he slept in and refused to get ready on time?

(In case you wonder at the masculine pronouns, I have all boys.)

I thought about the fine line of parenting today. I believe I thought about it the third time I prepared for vocal conflict with my most difficult son.

Me in the driver’s seat, patiently, “So, you threw the carseat into the back, yet say it’s #4’s fault because it hit his head before hitting #3?”

Him, mimicking my patient manner, “Yes. #4 made a dumb decision to climb over the seat. If he hadn’t done that, #3 wouldn’t have been hit.”

Believe it or not, this exchange went on for a good ten minutes. He refused responsibility for the thrown-carseat injuries; I refused to let him dodge said responsibility.

The Line here is Respect vs. “pick your battles.” Almost all of my lines are Something vs. “pick your battles.” My choice to engage (or not) goes back to that no-sociopath thing.

*Sigh*

I know not all of you have children -at least, not currently. Whether you have or not, have you felt the strain of walking a line? What did you choose? Was it worth it?

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Here’s what went down this past week:
Wednesday, October 16: Wrote “Where, Oh Where Should My Blogging Go?

Thursday, October 17: Throwback to my first post, “Hello, My Name Is.”

Friday, October 18: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to MagicQuill17!

Saturday, October 19: Announced the 48th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is the Old West. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 20: Shared Carrot Ranch‘s 3rd rodeo. Another one’s coming tomorrow!

Also wrote “The Wife Stands Alone” for Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge.

Monday, October 21: An inspirational quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Tuesday, October 22: “Since the Bombs Fell: One,” the first in a dystopian series.

Wednesday, October 23: Today.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Except for the Exceptions

Midnight. Same as eleven. Same as ten. Same as nine eight seven six…
Except she yawned. She blinked a few more times than earlier.

Water the plants. Water the children. Water the trees vegetables flowers weeds…
Except for every other day. Except for the vegetables; they were every day.

Socks, folded. Same as shirts. Same as pants socks pajamas undies…
Except there were no exceptions.

“You should try a vacation,” they said. “I want you to be happy,” he said.
Except for when it affects me, he thought.

Except for when her happiness interferes with everyone else’s.

Summer Days Ain’t Lazy at All

I realized that somewhere near …July June 25 I became lost in life and was not able to keep up with my regular blog reading. Instead of conceding defeat, I kept telling myself I would catch up. The same happened with writing my own posts. In fact; the same happened with the housework, meal plans, summer schedules, vacation plans, homework, etc.

I should have just closed shop for the summer.

The main problem has been my children, both those out of me and the one in me. I’ve had enough on my plate trying to motivate and manage myself. After First Bathroom stop, First Breakfast, Second Bathroom Stop, Second Breakfast, and showering; the day’s nearly half over and I realize I ought to get the boys out of bed and doing activities.

For their part, they’re just fine sleeping in and playing all day. I’d be fine with that, too, if it weren’t for the dishes’ habit of piling up when The Magic Fairy doesn’t wash them. That lazy Fairy’s neglected everything from yard work to laundry to budgeting since I became impregnated.

It’s like she’s hoping to get fired or something.

So, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not posting regularly. I’m sorry for not reading regularly. I’m sorry for how boring I’ve been, complaining about a situation that SUCKS BECAUSE I’VE BEEN CONSTANTLY SICK SINCE MID-APRIL.

My creativity is shot. It’s lying on the ground with several empty bags of snack food and the remains of the clothing that I can’t wear anymore. And curled up on the pile by 1:00 p.m. every day is my current energy level.

I think I’m dreaming of about a year from now…

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Still, I kind-of wrote stuff this past week:
Wednesday, July 17: “Frilled Shark, a terrible poem.”

Thursday, July 18: “The Strangest Pregnant Animal Ever.” This was the last in a series of pregnant animal poems, in tribute to the Terrible Poetry theme for that week.

Friday, July 19: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Peregrine Arc!

Saturday, July 20: Announced the 35th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a limerick of poets who take themselves way too seriously. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, July 21: Answered Kevin’s questions with “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Blogger ‘Awards.'”

Monday, July 22: An inspirational quote from Kira’s site.

Tuesday, July 23: Nothing!

Wednesday, July 24: Today. Happy Pioneer Day from my home state.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Stop and Smell the Bindweed,” “Everyone Needs to Get Messy, Especially Kids,” and “A Parent’s Poetic Lament.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

I Actually Won Something

Great news! I won second place for the poem I submitted to the Annual Bloggers Bash!

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…I’m a bit miffed that “Silent but Tardy” wasn’t a contender, but totally stoked that I actually won something! I’ve included the winning entry below, which I submitted from my motherhood site.

 

Five More Minutes

Five more minutes to sleep alone,
To dress in peace,
To check a phone.

Five more minutes to eat my food,
To eat it warm,
To eat it chewed.

Five more minutes to sit right here,
To read a book,
To disappear.

Five more minutes is not that long,
To feel the guilt,
To feel the wrong;

When

Five more minutes is what I seek

Five more minutes is all I need

Five more minutes, or maybe three,

Is all I long for, to just be me.

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Photo Credit:
Jordan Whitt

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Really Big News of a Non-Writing Kind

I have not been feeling well lately. For about six weeks now, I’ve been nauseated and exhausted all day. It’s worse in the evenings.

That is because this week marks my twelfth of being pregnant.

Surprise!

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Frankly, this was a surprise for us as well. After four kids; yes, I know how it works. Just trust me that the pregnancy was a surprise.

I’ve also been on bed rest for the last 2-3 weeks due to a chorionic hematoma. Basically. Good times and all that. But, things are looking up and the included pictures are the latest as of today.

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Besides a baby, look what else I’ve made:
Wednesday, June 5: Wrote “I’m Not Soliciting Ma’am…

Thursday, June 6: Nothing

Friday, June 7: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Peregrine Arc!

Saturday, June 8: Announced the 29th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is whatever you wish. PLEASE ENTER! Please spread the word!

Sunday, June 9: Responded to Irene Waters’ reminiscence series with “Washroom Stories.”

And “No Girls Allowed at Dead Man’s Crick,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, June 10: An inspirational quote by Evan Esar.

Tuesday, June 11: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Six.”

Wednesday, June 12: Today.

I also posted at my motherhood site. I wrote “NeverEnding Laundry… Na na na na na na na na naaaa,” “A Bona Fide Reason to Cook with Your Kids,” and “Boy Mom Bathroom Haiku.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens