I Get It.

by Lori Dwyer on February 5, 2013 · 28 comments

Written last Sunday evening, not long after posting this on Twitter


I understand how some mothers can run away and leave their families. Completely. That’s not something I judge anymore, not now that I get it.

It’s an aching, hollow fantasy that reoccurs, mostly unwanted and unbidden. Who wants to think thoughts like that, when those sentiments are the very anti–thesis of what a ‘mother’ is supposed to be?

Because being a ‘bad’ parent is far more acceptable than not being a parent at all.

But on the days when I’ve yelled at my kids and they’ve yelled at me, when I’ve cried and they’ve cried, when my son has told me he hates me and my daughter’s told me “it’s all my fault Mummy, I’m sorry” and the guilt nearly slices me into a thousand bleeding pieces… I understand the mothers who can’t it anymore. Who are on the pointy, willfully bleeding edge of losing their minds. The mothers-women- who can find a way to justify leaving. Who can believe that their kids wouldn’t feel their absence too keenly. Who can believe they would do a better job from afar.

Sometimes I think ‘I could do that, too’. I could, if I let my mind work the twisted physiological magic that everyone is capable of, find a work–around for the guilt, a null point for the pain.

I’d never be quite right again… but I could do it, I’m sure.

People do it all the time.

And on nights like tonight, when I hate myself intensely and I feel like just about the worst person on the face of then planet and I want to weep for the guilt and heartache I’ve probably inflicted on my kids by yelling at them all day (and, of course, sobbing into my hands when they yelled at me), it all seems very plausible. To run away to where no one knows anything of me, and deny any Purple Life– or its painful After– ever happened. To sleep when want, and wake without someone screaming at me. To be able to leave the house as I choose, indulge in the luxury of a late night coffee or an impromptu walk around the block whenever I wish.

A whole day of silence, unbroken and not punctuated by the whinge of “Mu–uuuuuuum!?!!”.

It’s a stupid thing to even think about, and some days it makes the reality of it all seem far worse than it is.

But deep in the darkest, stillness spots of my soul, I don’t think I’ll ever again look harshly upon a woman who’s managed to run away and leave her babies behind.

Maybe, when it comes right down to it… she is just braver than I am.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 8, 2013 at 8:31 am

How did I miss this post? I’ve been having a few of these days recently. We have a 4 yo and almost 2yo. 4yo daughter is a handful. I used to be able to go anywhere with them. Now it seems a guaranteed meltdown when we go to the store by at least one kid, sometimes both, followed by me as I’m mature like that.

I used to read books by an author named AnneTyler from Baltimore, MD,USA. Then I got this book of hers that begins where a mother walks off Into the sun set at the beginning of a family beach vacation. I couldn’t read it.Couldnt relate. My own mother loved it. I get it now. Might be able to read it now.

Hold on…get some metime. God knows, I am long overdue…


Lori Dwyer February 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I may have to look up that book…


Manda February 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Oh man, this is my morning. Sometimes I get on the verge of not even caring if they’d be better off without me, I’D be better off without them!

I just want sleep. Good sleep. For at least sixteen hours straight. Now, please.


Anon for this February 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Hi Lori
I’ve been trying for babies for a long time and the last week has been a futile exercise in hope, weeping, a bit more hope, researching IVF and freaking myself out, and generally just bursting out crying the minute anyone asks me anything about anything.
Just off the phone with a single mother friend of mine who has 3 kids under 5 and who gave me a good pep talk, but it’s also great reading very honest posts like yours because it stops me romanticising too much about how awesome parenthood would be if I could ever actually get there (which I do a lot, glossing over the no sleep, no time to yourself, complete life shift etc), and recognising that it’s actually, at times, the toughest, most challenging and most relentless gig you will ever bloody do. (While also being awesome at times :))
You sound like a great mum regardless and I’m sure all mums have days like this so don’t beat yourself up too much.


The Flying Drunken Monkey February 6, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I get it. I don’t think I could ever do it but there are some days when I just want to run away, at least for a little while. And I only have one and even though I know he’s not home much, I know Mr Monkey will eventually be home to help.

You need a break luv. Another impromptu trip to Melbourne?

P.S loving the new layout!


Drea B February 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I told my husband that if we were ever to divorce, he gets main custody of the kids, he gets to buck the trend and be the dad with primary custody. I’m going to be a weekend parent and have some fun. My mother raised three kids on her own after my father died, no way I’m ever voluntarily signing up for that gig, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for anyone doing the solo parent thing.


Miss Pink February 6, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I have never looked badly on a woman who has done that.
I do think it’s sad, for her, for her kids, for everyone. But I don’t think badly. Maybe it is because I have been faced with the very real reality of a friend wanting that, needing that so badly for herself, and I have paused to realise that it may have been what was best for herself and her child.
I have never myself regretted having my children, but I have recently felt that stiffling affect you have being a parent. The not being able to just do what you want when you want to, like catch up with mates on the spur of the moment, or go for a late night walk or drive or just…kids can be restricting. I won’t say that I have reached a point of wanting to run away, but I have wanted to have some extended time off. Kids are hard and devouring and they definitely know which buttons to push.


Sapphyre February 6, 2013 at 11:09 am

When I first got to know my husband, I found out two of his housemates were mothers who had left their families. One of them waited until the youngest had finished school. The other talked to hers regularly but didn’t see them often. I couldn’t understand them.

These days I know two women who left their families and I think they did the wrong thing.

That said, I know one woman who struggles with two autistic intellectually disabled children, as well as 14yo boy who was turning into a compulsive liar and a toddler. I wonder why she doesn’t leave a lot of the time.

At my worst points I’ve also considered leaving. Occasionally I daydream about being single with few responsibilities and only one pet (instead of four). But when I realise this requires my husband to die or leave and my children to grow up, then I usually stop myself. Because I don’t want to go there. I know of a woman at my last job who lost her husband and only child in a car crash. So don’t want to go there.

I think the secret is to leave, but come back. My carer support group suggested I have a ‘weekend off’ once a month. I laughed. But then I’ve tried to at least have a night off and stay elsewhere once a month. Haven’t done it in a while, but then again, things have been better as hubby is not currently depressed… he’s working on getting there though ;(

Thanks for posting this Lori. You always open up for us and we find we are not as different or alone as we thought were.


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Thanks for your comment, Sapphyre. The bit about your workmate who lost their family in a car accident… that’s perspective for bad days xxxx


Tegan February 6, 2013 at 10:03 am

I have thought about running away more as an adult than I ever did as a child. This mother gig is fucking hard. You never quite switch off. Even when they are sleeping you have one ear listening out for them. When my son finally falls asleep I feel a sense of relief…then dread as I know I will have to do it all over again tomorrow.


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Isn’t it funny… all those times I was planning to run away as a kid my mum was probably thinking “Not if I go first…” :p xx


Alisha W. February 6, 2013 at 8:14 am

I thought I was the only one who felt this way sometimes. I love my children dearly, but sometimes I feel like running back to my former life. I sometimes miss my FREE days, and I miss not being tied down to a husband and 3 little girls under 5 years old :( then I feel horrible for feeling this way. Thanks for letting me know Im not alone in this feeling!


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Oh wow Alisha. Three girls under five…? I’m imagining you deal with a *lot* of pink…?


Lisa February 6, 2013 at 6:10 am

Thank you for once again writing what I am feeling. It makes me feel less insane.


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one, too- every time I think I must be horribly unique, I discover I’m not. And that’s quite a comfort :) x


Sharon @ Funken Wagnel February 5, 2013 at 11:41 pm

It’s just a thought Lori, and thoughts float in and out of our brains all day long. No need to regret that.


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Sharon, you sound so much like my shrink :p


Melissa February 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Oh Lori – I’ve never commented before but this just got to me. I get it too! I so get it & I have absolutely no reason to want to run – whereas you do. I think all mothers must get it – you are just the only honest one!


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm

“I think all mothers must get it”
I’m starting to think this, too…?


Amy February 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Thank you for writing this.


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Thanks for reading, Amy x


Woah Molly! February 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Everyone, every mother i know has these moments. I can’t relate, not at all even for a second, but I empathise so much. I hope you are feeling better and that things are more calm and in control again.

(In fact, one of my biggest fears and deterrents to being a mother is, quite simply, I’m afraid I’d be too overwhelmed, too angry, to close to losing my shit at all and any moments. Everyone who knows me says, “You’d make the best mum,” but really, I’m not so sure…)


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

“You’d make the best mum,”…
No pressure. At all. Right Molly…? ;)


Michelle K February 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I get it too.
Just last week, Miss 11.5 going on 25 had me at my witts end. I was on the phone to hubby TWICE at while he was at work with me in tears.
You’re not alone with those feelings.


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm

It kind of worries me that this still goes on.. till eleven. Maybe forever? Good grief ;) x


Carol February 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Yes – it IS forever – for as long as we’re mums & after. BUT (isn’t there always a BUT), the “bad” days of yelling, “I hate you!!”, “It’s my fault, I’m sorry”, become less frequent. They do leave home… eventually… (don’t they????)


Moxy February 5, 2013 at 8:43 am

Thank you for this post. Thank you, so much.


Lori Dwyer February 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Anytime, Moxy :) xx


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