I do not consider myself an overly emotional person. I don’t remember ever crying in a movie. And I remember being once able to examine emotional events, by taking a step back, with a cool level head without losing my calm. I used to be all about self-preservation – pretty efficient at warding off negative emotions.
That was before I became a mother. Now, a year into motherhood, I feel as though I am somehow being subjected to a psychological experiment on how-many-emotions-can-a-human-feel-in-a-day. On a typical day, these are some of the emotions I routinely feel these days: boredom, anxiety, fear, anger, guilt, sulkiness, carelessness, appreciation, amazement and love. In fact, I can go full circle around Plutchik’s wheel of emotions on most days.
Bored, grumpy, lousy and afraid – Every morning when I open my eyes. The very thought of getting up and going through another day pulls me right into the whirlpool of emotions as the day breaks. I am physically exhausted and would go back to bed right away. Yet, I must get up and get going.
Anxious and worried – I spend much of my day worrying these days. My son is growing up so fast, how is it possible that it’s been already a year? He seems a happy baby but is he really? Am I failing him? Am I doing enough? I am worried that I am doing something wrong when he doesn’t he listen when I say “no”? Am I feeding him enough? Is he getting enough nutrition? I am anxious about his interest in everything in the kitchen. I imagine all sorts of accidents that may happen especially when I am not at home and am sick with worry when I am away.
Guilt and Sadness – I don’t even want to get started on this one. The other day after coming back from work, I wasted the entire evening running errands, doing groceries and other stuff. When I got back home, he was already asleep. The grip of guilt and sadness was vise-like on my heart that day. I’d left even before he’d had his breakfast in the morning and now I’d missed his dinner and putting him to bed. That day, I didn’t do anything I normally do after he sleeps, I just cuddled against his sleeping form. Every morning he cries when I leave for work leaving him behind. My heart breaks of sadness and guilt everytime I see his eyes, silently begging me to stay, to not go. Motherhood is just too hard.
Sulkiness and Carelessness – I cannot remember the last time I had time to paint my nails. My clothes are all stained with milk or applesauce or some other random baby food, snots and drools. And they are wrinkled because I do not have time to iron them (heck, I barely have time to throw them in the washing machine). But I could not care less. I have about three hundred things to do, clean, wrinkle free clothes feature at about 288th place on the list. Yet, I sulk inwardly when the gorgeously sundress-ed woman with perfectly manicured nails sits beside me on the train and try to hide my hideous cuticles while burying my face in the book I had been pretending to read. I used to be little obsessive about the cleanliness and aesthetic of my house. But I have given up on that. I am perfectly nonchalant when I trip over a broken train car. Even though, sometimes I feel like I am living in the aftermath of an explosion in my house, I can look at the photo frames fingerprinted with four little fingers or the floor strewn with clothes, bibs, washcloths, puffs, toys and other random items with disinterest. Yet, when I see how beautiful and organized other people’s houses are, I seethe. Where has my immaculate home gone? But, then I know, I don’t care. I would not have any other way.
Happiness, Amazement and Gratefulness – You think that this is given right? Mothers are always gushing about how happy they are, right? But trust me they are not saying enough. Even I don’t know where to start and how I can ever sum up the feeling of joy I experience everytime he gives me a smile. So I will skim over it, but just know that I am happy, happy like I have never been before just by looking at that little face that lights up everytime it sees mine.
Woozy and Teary and Sensitive and Hyper Aware – Since I have had my son, I have cried more than perhaps the rest of my life. Any news of cruelty and brutality against children makes me cry. Orphaned children, children separated from their parents at the borders make my eyes swell up. I am more patient and empathetic towards the harassed looking woman standing on line before me rummaging through her black-hole like bag. For all I know, she has a baby who she left screaming at home.