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.