Losing Suction

It’s been a rough few days (weeks?).  I wish there was a good reason why – that might make it better, or understandable anyway – but there’s not.  I’m just miserable for no good reason.  Irritable because I have angst.  Angst-ridden because I have hormones and a crippling sense of self-awareness? (Thank you, Virgo)

There have been days I have camped out with my laptop for hours.  Stared out the window waiting for the light to change.  Held myself because it was the only thing to do.

And then the strains of PBS children’s programming came to me.

The minutes and hours marked by Arthur and Thomas, Maya and Miguel rather than numbers.

And I knew I should move.  I knew I should engage.  I should scoop up that little wonder of a child and take her out into the world.

One day, we did.  We traipsed around the yard, trekked to the mailbox, tried to imagine the garden in full bloom.  But the mailbox was empty and spring was still a ways off.

Yesterday, we shut off all electronic devices and ate lunch together.  We sat side by side, but I buried my nose in some manner of printed matter.

Today, we compared notes on the types of yogurt we ate; she turning her nose up at my Greek with honey, me trying to convince her she ate blue banana.  green guava.  purple passion.

The silly word games I remember playing with my first baby when I was a first time mama.

Learning colors through the culinary.

Exploring math while masticating.

And for the first time in a long time, my sense memory elicited a positive response. Bubbles of laughter reminding  me that I know how to do this.  I know how to make it fun.  I know how to enjoy it.

All it takes to make it enjoyable is a little more effort.  An invitation to join me as I move about my day.  A question here, a comment there.  Inclusion.  When all I’ve been is insular.


I’ve so needed space for me, I’ve been pulling back.  But all I’ve done is created a vacuum, a void they notice and try all the more vehemently to cross.  Perhaps if I reach across the void, giving them what they need, I will get what I want.

Joy and peace of mind.

Being able to lay my head on the pillow at night knowing I’ve done my best and not feeling guilty at the time I set aside for myself.

There’s no sense doing a job you hate.  And there’s no reason to make mothering more onerous than it is.  That wouldn’t just create a vacuum; that would suck.

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  1. Bethany

     /  March 1, 2013

    I love reading your blog. Every week I feel like you are inside my mind! It must be that we are both virgos and have 3 kids 🙂 It’s nice to read that I am not alone 🙂 This post really hit home because I often feel I do not spend as much time and energy with my 3rd baby.


    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  March 1, 2013

      At least we’re not alone in our angst! And now I feel guilty that my middle child is not getting what I did with the first and have finally remembered with the third. We never reach the standards we set for ourselves and yet we never relax in our slackness. Why do we do this to ourselves!?


  2. Nikki

     /  March 1, 2013

    Don’t underestimate the power of sunshine. Short cloudy days bring on a host of depressive symptoms. There are lamps for that – there is also a giant orb in the sky to turn your face towards.


    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  March 1, 2013

      Yes, I think I may need to channel Timothy Green (as in the odd life of)!



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