THE VIEW FROM INSIDE
You're exhausted. It's not even 5 am yet. Better get up anyway.
Skip the change of clothes. Put off the shower. Just wait to go to the bathroom. Hurry downstairs to pump before your milk starts leaking.
Go faster, you have to log on and finish a few things before Layla wakes up to eat.
You're not working fast enough. They'll think you are lazy and taking advantage of working from home.
Obsess over whether or not your schedule is an inconvenience to everyone else in the office. Why should you get special treatment? You are being selfish.
You aren't focused, you're going too fast and trying to do too many things at once.
You're going to mess up the report or miss something.
Layla needs to eat. Just make her wait 10 more minutes so you can finish those reports.
You're taking too long to feed her. You're on the clock.
The longer you take the more time you have to make up later. You have so little time.
Hurry and set her down while she's asleep, you'll change her diaper later. You have to get through as much work as you can before Ellie is up. She makes it harder.
Ellie is waking up. Why is she up so early? You need the time without distraction.
Be happy to see her when she comes downstairs.
Get her settled with chocolate milk and a show to watch. Do everything she's asking so she'll let you keep working.
She's crying for cereal now. Hurry and get it.
She must've have pooped. You just want to get back to work. Change it, but make sure you do it fast.
She leaked out the back and onto her pajamas. How long has she been sitting in that? How could you not have noticed?
Wonder if it's on her mattress sheets too. Just more for you to do later.
She's has a rash. You let her eat to much watermelon yesterday. You knew you shouldn't have.
It looks painful. You did this to her.
This is already taking too long, you need to get back to work.
Just put the cream on her. She needs it.
Now she wants a show; hurry and find something for her to watch. You need to get back to work.
You don't want to forget what you were doing and mess something up. It's busy season and you don't do enough as it is.
Don't open that granola bar. It'll make too much noise. Layla will wake up and Ellie will come over to see what you have.
It's 7 am. Other people will be logging on now. You didn't get enough done.
Ellie wants her milk in a green cup now instead of purple. Just give her what she wants, you can't afford a meltdown. You only have an hour left of your shift and you still have so much to do.
Layla is supposed to eat now too. There's no time. See if she can hold out a little longer.
You're milk supply is going to suffer if you keep doing this.
Feel guilty about spoiling Ellie. She's in the habit now of demanding different cups or plates or dishes all the time. It's your fault she's doing this. You give in too easily. More dishes for you to do later too.
If you don't do them Ian will have to. Feel guilty about that too.
If he doesn't do them, get mad.
Feel guilty about getting mad.
Ellie's making a mess with the bowl of water you gave her to play with. Ian is upset. You are just glad she's staying busy. You have to finish these files now.
Layla is getting impatient. Just force the binky on her.
Feel more guilt.
You're getting anxious now. Everything is happening all at once, as usual. Keep putting everything off.
Just get through these reports.
You should write all of these thoughts down. It's too much for one person too feel. You don't have time to do that. You'll probably do it anyway. You're selfish like that.
What's a little more guilt anyway?
File it away for later. Focus on your work.
10 reports left. Just do 6 more. But Layla was supposed to eat an hour ago. And Ellie is playing upstairs by herself. Is there anything dangerous she can get into? Just finish these 6.
What if something happens to her? It won't be worth it. Check on her but don't let her see you. She'll want you to stay and play and you'll have to break her heart because you can't.
There's a lot more to do before your shift is over. Ignore her now so she can have you the rest of the day.
Just finish your shift. You always put work before the girls.
Ian is avoiding you. You broke the rules and both went to bed angry. It's because of things you said and did.
Throw it on the guilt pile.
3 more reports. Layla won't take the pacifier anymore. She needs to eat. Hurry. You can finish them. Selfish.
There. Finished. Now you can feed her. You made her wait so long.
You didn't help enough with the workload. You are unproductive.
You are not doing enough.
Ellie is coming downstairs. She's going to want your attention now that you're not working. But you have to feed Layla. Why does everything always happen at once?
Give Ellie a snack. Whatever she asks for. And turn on the TV for her. Anything to keep her distracted. What's wrong with you?
You feed her junk and let her rot her brain watching TV. What kind of mother are you?
No time to think about that now. Layla is screaming. Nurse her already.
Your pile of guilt is turning into a mountain.
Let it. What's the difference?
Eat breakfast on the couch while you feed Layla. You're getting crumbs everywhere.
Ian just swept and vacuumed. Maybe you'll get around to cleaning it later. You won't.
More Anxiety. Thank heavens people never come over to see how dirty my house is. What do you do all day?
You're not good at this.
Layla's nails need trimming. You should have done it days ago. Why haven't you?
Ignore the guilt. It's not doing you any good.
Write this all down before you forget.
Do it quickly so you can pay attention to the girls.
You'd rather be writing. Selfish.
But more things are coming into your mind. More guilty thoughts. More anxiety. You can't write them down fast enough.
Layla is crying. Change her diaper. How could you have waited this long?
You are not a good mother.
This is so hard. Ellie is crying. You didn't turn on the right show.
Layla is smiling up at you. You made her happy just by existing.
This is all worth it.
Help Ellie. She's forgotten about the show already and wants to play on the out on deck.
You're so lucky she self plays. You couldn't handle it otherwise.
You're barely cut out for this.
Wonder how Ian's first day of work at his new job is going. Judging by this morning, probably not great.
His week started off badly. It's because of you.
Why can't you be a better wife? You think you have it so bad but you give him nothing these days.
You're relieved work is done but you should probably log on later to see if they need help. It's so busy now. You should be more willing to help.
Maybe if you didn't spend your free time writing or watching TV you would be able to help out at work more... and not ignore the girls so much... and clean the house... and make yourself look presentable.
But those are your escapes. They help you feel sane, and to unwind, and retain a sense of identity.
How is there so little time to do all these things? Every day feels like eternity. The circles under your eyes are evidence of that. You look awful. But keep it to yourself. Don't burden others with your problems. They hate hearing this kind of thing.
Layla wants to be held. Independent babies are a good thing, just look at how well Ellie does.
She's a baby, you can't spoil her. Feel guilty again.
Pick her up.
Now Ellie wants attention too. Put Layla in the swing and put down your phone. Play the coins in the piggy bank game with Ellie. It's such a simple thing and it makes her so happy.
The coins are gone. Time to empty the bank. This one is a pain.
You should buy her a new one. What's wrong with you? This one is fine. Why are you so frivolous?
Make her laugh. It's medicine for your soul. There's too much darkness this morning.
Give yourself some light.
She's handing you a coin, look at her hands. they're so chapped and the skin broken, it must be so itchy and uncomfortable for her. Your heart breaks. Why can't you stay on top of putting on her eczema cream?
What are you doing with your time?
You spend all day telling yourself these things, why aren't you making changes?
Why aren't things getting better?
Other women manage. They do more than you even. Why can't you be more like them?
Stop, Whitney. This isn't healthy.
You can cry and feel sorry for yourself later. There's so much more you need to be doing right now.
It's only 10 am.
I am sharing this because as raw as it is, IT'S REAL.
And because I know I am not the only one.
These may be my thoughts written here, but I'm willing to bet they are shared by many.
This is not a cry for help. It was written on a particularly hard day. The kind I believe parents, primarily mothers, around the world frequently have themselves.
I share this, not to highlight the negative thoughts themselves, but to shine light on the hundreds of negative thoughts mothers spend combating and railing against every day.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I SEE YOU.