The Long Winter

By Beck

My youngest brother came over last night and we watched a really, really funny and rather reprehensible movie (okay, it was Pineapple Express). And as I laughed and laughed, I realized how muted and subdued I’ve been for ages, how brooding and withdrawn I’ve been. Which is boring. Is there anything more boring in the world than someone else talking about their feelings? (no, unless it’s someone else talking about a dream they just had. Zzzz.) So today? Is Talking About My Feelings Day.

I am happy again, pretty much, and as I’ve been feeling better and getting over the black-and-white Russian movie that was my mood this winter, I’ve also been thinking a lot about how my moods are not just my business anymore. I’ve always been a moody person, which should shock exactly no one who reads my blog regularily. Before I had kids, though, my moods were mostly MY problem – but once I crossed that irrevocable line into motherhood, I realized almost instantly that I would have to work pretty darn hard to make sure that MY problem with my moods didn’t become my CHILDREN’S problem with my moods. Being a consistent mother has been the biggest task of motherhood for me, and it’s been a lot of work.

For a long time, I thought it was a thankless type of work, the kind of joyless task that I would only undertake out of stark, unbending love. I would bury my feelings and make playdough and read Pat The Bunny AGAIN and it didn’t occur to me that there was possibly a BETTER way to keep myself from acting like a moody self-centered jerk around my kids, a way that would also make me happy at the same time. And this way – are you ready for my amazing revelation? – was for me to STOP BEING A MOODY SELF-CENTERED JERK, to put an end to my extended, angsty adolescence. So I’ll let you know what that goes.

16 Responses to The Long Winter
  1. Theresa
    April 29, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    I can relate so strongly to the post that it’s almost as if I wrote it…. wow

  2. Theresa
    April 29, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    And hey, on the bright side, at least you aren’t the ONLY moody self-centered jerk!

  3. Nicole
    April 29, 2010 | 3:03 pm

    You’re not a self-centered jerk!

    Being a consistent mother – consistent in all ways – is really hard.

  4. Allie
    April 29, 2010 | 7:02 pm

    This post makes me nervous about if/when I become a mother. Because I already identify with it.

  5. Sue
    April 29, 2010 | 7:11 pm

    Awesome way of expressing it as always, Beck!

  6. Louise
    April 29, 2010 | 8:46 pm

    My epiphany came when I realized I was stressing out so much over the responsibility of raising my kids I wasn’t actually taking time to enjoy them. Or life.

    So I’m working on that. It’s a journey.

  7. tracey
    April 29, 2010 | 9:37 pm

    You and I need a happy light thingy for the winter. Vitamin D is more necessary than I give it credit for.

  8. Hannah
    April 29, 2010 | 11:44 pm

    And wouldn’t it be great if stopping were as easy as deciding to stop? Of course, I quite relate to all this. Today in particular. But here’s a grain of a silver lining for you. If you tend toward moodiness, your children may as well – hello, kind genetics! Maybe as they see you go through the process of accepting yourself, in all your moods, and therefore becoming more accepting of others, they will pick up on things that will serve them well down the line. Maybe they will learn more from your apologies and even thinking out loud, “Guys, this is not the kind of parent I want to be” than if you were bubbly all the time.
    At least, I hope so!

  9. Mary
    April 29, 2010 | 11:52 pm

    I’m more susceptible to hormone-induced mood fluctuations than average, which of course wasn’t exactly helped by pregnancy and nursing.

    I’m with Hannah in that I’m hoping that as I learn (effective) coping mechanisms to even out my moods my daughter will learn too. Since the odds of her inheriting my version of “moodiness” are rather good.

  10. Sara
    May 1, 2010 | 3:57 pm

    I know what you mean. Many afternoons, I have to take a deep breath and struggle through it.

  11. Karen MEG
    May 1, 2010 | 4:55 pm

    I am super melancholy at the best of times, but when there’s stress in my life, the kids know it – they pick up my vibe, and I’ll admit that I’m not too subtle about it most times either. I really need to think about it more often, because although I think it’s important that they know Mom has feelings and everything isn’t always chipper, they need to know that Mom knows how to cope as well.

    (I actually cracked up a lot during Pineapple Express too, if it’s any consolation).

  12. Jenifer
    May 2, 2010 | 4:41 pm

    I love your posts because they are just you, being you and that makes me feel better because, you and me are a lot alike! I have been trying hard not to be that person who is moody and gets stressed over the small details. My Mom says Rosebud is a mini-me because she mimics everything I say and do and oh how humbling to have that around.

    You are a great person miss Beck with blog posts to prove it.

  13. Meagan Francis
    May 3, 2010 | 1:56 pm

    I love this post! Even if being happy comes “naturally” to you having kids to take care of tends to throw up a bunch of little hurdles that can make it so much harder to actually get through to the happy. It’s easy to just give up and figure it doesn’t matter if you’re REALLY happy so long as you survive mothering…after all, you can be happy, you know, LATER…

    So glad to see you’re committing to try a new way. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

  14. Barrie Summy
    May 3, 2010 | 6:33 pm

    Well, I think there was a period of time, maybe even a long period of time, when I was pretty good at keeping my moods under wraps around the kids. Unfortunately, that time has mostly passed. ;( I guess I need to get back on the wagon and pay more attention. Good post.

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  16. Para Ma
    April 14, 2012 | 4:49 pm

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