Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Seven Deadly Sins of Motherhood: ENVY

I was browsing the library during a break yesterday and came across a series of books exploring the philosophical representations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Having grown up Catholic and attending Catholic School and always being kind of fascinated by the concepts of the faith (if not actually practicing any of them), I came home and began thinking about how fucked I am if there is actually a heaven and hell. 

For me, it is easy to see how the Seven Deadly Sins run rampant in my life.  And so I have decided to explore the idea of the Seven Deadly Sins and how I am guilty of each of them in relation to my imperfect mothering.  Additionally, it occurred to me just how much a role all of these things appear to play in my current mental state, which is not good. 

The easiest one for me is where I am starting.  But I intend to explore them all in more or less depth in the weeks to come.


Envy - The desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.

I have a serious ENVY problem. Not that I don’t have enough in my life. I do. I have a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in and a child who is healthy and functioning. I have a lot to be grateful for and a lot that other people would love to have.

I ENVY “normal” mothers. Now, before you go yelling at me about how “normal” is subjective, hear me out. I have zero desire to be one of the supermoms. I have accepted the part of myself that just doesn’t care about having a spotless house and hosting 8 playdates a month and likes to do fantastical crafts that end up in the pages of Martha Stewart Living. I truly don’t think those mothers are the normal (and perhaps they are slightly insane) and so that isn’t what I am talking about.

I ENVY normal mothers.  I want to be normal, in that I don’t feel like I am drowning in my own self-absorbed misery all the time.  I want to wake up feeling like I can face the day without collapsing from exhaustion before dinner. I want to not snap at my kid when she’s doing normal (annoying) three year old stuff. I want to not lose my temper and break down into crying jags over spilled chocolate milk on a blanket that can be simply thrown into the wash. I want to not feel like I have to pep talk myself just to take a shower. I want to care that my legs haven’t been shaved in months and that my hair hasn’t been out of a ponytail since 2007. I want to actually have some desire to play with Lila, even when I really just sit there and let her orchestrate whatever activity we’re supposed to be doing. I want to not feel like grocery shopping takes so much energy that I literally need a nap when I come home. I want to not have to fake migraines so that I can hide in my bed as soon as her father gets home. I want to be able to do more than one thing in a given day. I want my kid to think I am okay and not to worry about whether she has done something to make me feel sad all the time.

I know that other moms out there can do these things, and that they only feel that way when they have the flu and even then they manage to at least make dinner. I have seen them and heard from them in their comments on my blog. I ENVY that they can do all these things and I have been unable to find anything that helps to pull me out of this for more than a few weeks at a time. I ENVY that their kids seem happy and look well-rested. I ENVY that they don’t have dark circles under their eyes after getting a full night’s sleep. Hell, I ENVY the fact that they sleep!

I ENVY that they know how to do a time out. I ENVY that their kids go to bed without them and without having to be told 400 times to stay still and go to sleep. I ENVY that they don’t worry excessively that they their children are going to be fucked up and insane because everyone in their families is. I ENVY that they manage to function.


  1. Actually, I'm kind of tickled that someone might, just might, envy me. I'd feel sad for you if you did, though.

    Today was a day, like many others, where I sat at the computer or hid behind my phone while kiddo played by herself or watched videos.

    The day's accomplishment? Weeded front yard while kid watched me...scrubbed cabinet doors while kid watched me...and all the while she's babbling nonstop. She refused to help me each time I asked, so I just tuned her out.

    Some days, I think I'm a good, hands-on, engaged mom. Other days, I try to beat my previous solitaire score.

    Envy's a bitch.

  2. First of all, everything about this:

    "Having grown up Catholic and attending Catholic School and always being kind of fascinated by the concepts of the faith (if not actually practicing any of them), I came home and began thinking about how fucked I am if there is actually a heaven and hell. "

    ....applies to me as well.

    As for the rest, we all go through our shit, we all have skeletons in our closet. None of us, and I mean NONE of us are truly deserving of anyone's envy as fellow parents. We all have guilt for varying reasons, we all fuck up constantly - some just don't know it yet. Most of us aren't brave enough to put it all out there for others to read and relate to.

    And that, my dear, is what I envy about YOU.

  3. JLK: Thank you! This really made my day.

  4. I work 2 jobs and feel like I never get to see my girls or spend quality time. I fear they don't need me, they are daddy's girls and I am just the vessel that got them here for him. I envy the want you have to be a good mom, and the hands on, emotionally attached mother that you are. Your blog has really helped me to see I'm not the only one out here who feels like this. I think my kids could give a damn if I was even alive but their existence is all I think about to the point I fear I am at risk of losing myself.
    Envy, guilt,stress, and the feeling like you're never as good as that other kids mom seem to be part of motherhood for me. I just try to remember that I'm just figuring it out as I go and there's gotta be room for fixing shit later. My mom just tells me if all I can do right now is keep them alive and healthy I'm doin ok because they wont even remember these early years when things were rough and their mama was just faking it to make it.
    you got this lady!


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