Invisible

Have you ever felt alone in a house full of people? Have you ever felt like their lives are moving forward while yours is stuck in one place? Have you ever felt sad or even depressed but you don’t know why? Have you ever wondered if you were invisible? What I mean is, do the people around you notice your life and what is going on in it or do they go about their own lives and just assume all is well with you?

My life is hectic to say the least. I am married with four children. My wife and I both work fulltime jobs on opposite shifts. We get one day off together each week, but it’s usually a busy day scheduled with doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping. My oldest son is in school 5 days a week and when my wife is at work, I am home with the 3 younger children. What usually happens is that my youngest (6 month old daughter) is needing to be fed when I don’t really want to still be awake. It’s either too late at night or way too early in the morning. My two youngest boys (2 and 4 years old) run around when they should be in bed, laughing and playing through the night. My wife and oldest son are asleep in their rooms in preparation for their school and work days in the morning. I just stay awake and think. I stay awake until I curl up on the couch, not wanting to wake my wife by crawling back into bed after everyone is asleep.

More often than not, I am fine. I just read the news or some sports stories online and check my WordPress site. I pass some time that way and eventually drift off to sleep once the children have all settled down. But then there are nights like tonight where I am troubled. I am uneasy. I am a bit lonely and I wonder what I am doing with my life. I should be happy all the time, but a house full of children is both a joy and a fulltime migraine. Spending less and less time with my wife is the new routine. It comes with a full house I suppose, but it can be tough. When I am wide awake, listening to the quietness of the night within the four walls of my house, I begin to wish life was different. I begin to wish for better days, without stress and without loneliness. I don’t wish for a single life or a life without children. I just wish there was a better way to get through each day.

It’s not easy to be a parent, as any parent will tell you. There are challenges with every child and when you’ve got four, the challenges are sometimes hard to endure. Each child needs a different thing at all times. It gets to the point where you feel like a butler or a referee instead of a parent. You are either cleaning up after them or telling them to clean up after themselves. Either way, there is always a mess to clean up. Toys and food in places they shouldn’t be. One child needing to be wiped while the other runs around without pants on. All while the baby girl is crying for another meal or a new diaper for herself. Then the two youngest boys are fighting over something and need to be talked to. I am happy to do these things because I love them, but do they see me as a father or do they see me as a maid? Am I just an on-demand food and drink dispenser or am I Daddy? Am I their loving Dad or just the mean man who sent them to their room for fighting?

I have my own stress. I have my own fears, doubts, frustrations and emotional baggage just like anyone else. I just feel like because I am the Dad, the husband, the “man of the house”, I am supposed to be a rock. I am supposed to be strong and “just deal” with the obstacles in front of me without showing any signs of weakness. I am the budget manager of the house, which means all the finances go through me. If I screw up then the results are my fault and are for me to fix. I am the landscaper, lawnmower, snow remover, wood stacker, leaf raker and handyman of the house, so all those chores are on me as well. For the most part I enjoy them, but at times, I just want a break. I feel like it’s just expected of me so I go about my business and get it done…mostly without complaining.

I think the hardest thing for me right now is nighttime. I am alone for far too many nights with nothing but my thoughts to keep me company. It seems like the world around me is asleep while I go through my worries, my fears, my doubts, my regrets and just feel sorry for myself. Too much time alone in your thoughts can be a bad thing. I don’t think anyone really knows what goes on in my head. I don’t think my kids or my wife know how much the weight of the world on me is often bringing me down. I don’t think they know how alone I feel sometimes when I am in the same room with them. Everyone going about their business without a care while I overanalyze just about everything and stress over the littlest thing. I know that I can make more of an effort to not feel that way, but sometimes I wonder, how much am I supposed to do? How much is my responsibility to fix a stressful situation?

I guess this is not really so much a post as it is a rant. It is a venting session from someone who tends to hold it all in. This is my way of admitting that I am human and I have just as many emotions as anyone else, but I tend to keep them bottled up. This is not a cry for help, nor is it a plea for pity. It is simply me being real and saying that there are people who seem to have it all together, but who feel like life is unraveling on the inside. Life is far too short to take it on by yourself. Changes can be made to make tough situations better and no one should feel alone in a house with a large happy family in it.

The days of a parent and spouse are filled with a lot of responsibility and juggling family life with work life and your own personal needs is a challenge. My parents fought all the time and yelling was the best way for my dad to communicate with us kids. I always wanted better for my wife and my kids. And I think I’ve succeeded for the most part. My wife and I don’t fight as much as my parents did and I don’t yell quite as much as my dad did. Any is too much, but sometimes kids just don’t listen. No one is ever really prepared for raising a family and maintaining a marriage. You need to learn and adapt as you go along because every situation is different. It needs to be a team effort to make things work and go smoothly.

So am I invisible? No. But I do feel that way sometimes. I sometimes feel like I am just a fixture. Sometimes I feel like I’m just a gear in this familial machine. I just keep spinning because I am expected to. I keep functioning without fail so that this machine keeps on chugging along. But if I’m being honest, I’m cracking. This gear has too much stress on it and too much wear and tear. I just wish that someone would check the gears every now and then without having to be asked. Maybe just do an inspection once and awhile to make sure things are in order and not about to break down. That’s it. Routine maintenance shared by all.

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22 thoughts on “Invisible

    1. No, not a hero. Just someone who is a bit tired and frustrated…and tired of being frustrated. πŸ™‚

      Life just keeps piling it on and it can be overwhelming. Sometimes it just feels good to let it out. Now that I have, I can get back to work with a smile on my face.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly what I thought.

        For what it’s worth, I remember those days. .. now it’s lovely and quiet most of the time. Hubby and I look back on all those years of chaos and think, “How did we do it?” (we also have four, born in six years) It’s a great feeling of accomplishment, I can tell you. No doubt you’ll be feeling it too!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Four kids never crossed my mind early on. My oldest son was 9 when our second was born. Now he’s 13 and there are four children in this house. Life changes fast. One child for 9 years and then a new child every two years? That’s crazy. There’s a 6 month old, a two year old and a four year old running around a house we thought would be empty just over four years from now when my oldest graduates. It’s amazing and exhausting at the same time.

        I can’t imagine life without any of my kids in it…but I can imagine it going smoother. I can imagine it having more time with my wife. And I can imagine it without so much on my two shoulders. I have a very active imagination, but I am also very good at separating fantasy from reality. So having a wish list is nice, but it doesn’t mean things will change. I just have to do my best. That’s all anyone can do.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I spend a good portion of my life to keep chaos at bay living in a system designed to keep us slaving away while we try to play it as little as possible we get sucked into vortex of debt, inflation and living a life designed by others. Me no like

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear what you’re saying, Jim. We have a camp in the woods with no electricity/outdoor toilet, etc. At least once a week (particularly when listening to the news) one of us looks at the other and says, β€œTime to move to the camp!”

      Liked by 4 people

      1. We have a high camp up in the forest behind our house as well. My daughter and I spend a lot of time there in the summer and fall. I believe we are kindred spirits. It’s good to disconnect now and then and just enjoy the wilderness.

        Like

      2. We don’t have a get-away up north Carmen but, one thing I often (habitually said to Biker Dude) back in the day was, “I just want to move up north in a log-cabin and live off the land.” Always pictured myself in a log-cabin cubby hole room, sitting there writing a book. One wonders.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. A simpler life is rather appealing. My wife and I have had many discussions about how we were born in the wrong era. We feel like it would have been better to live in a time where we got up and went outside to work to survive, not get up and go to work to make money to buy things we don’t need in order to “survive.” Then again those days were tough and dangerous as well. Hard to say which is really better in the end. Maybe there’s a happy medium? Guess I’ll try the lottery again. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, such is having an “other focus.” It can feel like you are present only to serve others and there is nothing in it for you.

    Regarding “I should be happy all the time.” I disagree. No one should be happy all of the time. I consider happiness and sadness to be at the opposite fringes of a bell curve. Most of the time you are neither. I prefer contentment, a feeling that things are as they are and that works. Parents sacrifice much to raise children, but they also con themselves into thinking they are a continuous source of joy. Yeah, right. I know propaganda when I hear it. Children are an unending source of work, messes, financial demands, etc. etc. with occasional joys thrown in. But, if described accurately, fewer people would want to do that, so people with vested interests encourage parenthood for other reasons, not because it will bring you joy. When examined in retrospect, we tend to remember the highlights, usually the joys and not the projectile vomit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess instead of saying that I should be happy all the time, I should have said “I feel like people expect me to be happy all the time.” Putting on a smile when you feel like screaming or crying is a tough mask to fit.

      As far as projectile vomiting is concerned, I don’t think I’ll ever forget those moments as they happen quite often. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to know I’m not crazy for feeling this way sometimes. I don’t know if rants are the best, but it does feel good to have a few now and then. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Our eldest (41) is alone with her three children – 9, 7 and 4 – for weeks at a time. Her husband is a marine engineer so he’s home quite a bit, too. He has just returned from a trip but on the weekend she was over and told us that she had ‘flipped out’ at the kids the day before. She told us, “It was amazing how a few swear words and the sight of a screaming, lunatic mother brought them around!”. If you met her, you’d never guess she’d be capable of that kind of behaviour but everyone has their limits. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. As I am the same age as your daughter, I can certainly relate. I think as we “mature” as parents, our patience wears thinner at a faster pace and we just have to say enough is enough. I’m a nice, calm person most of the time just like her, but once the fuse has been lit….

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  3. I understand what you’re saying here, Ben. I feel invisible in my house, too. We have three children–older than yours. Each of them has some activity every night of the week, so we are never home at the same time. My wife has seemed like a roommate who I just see in passing now for several years. I’ve heard it gets better. We’ll see.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, all I can say is with the schedule you and your wife are on, it doesn’t look like there will be any additions to the family — and that sounds like it’s probably a good thing.

    Seriously, hang in there, Pops. This too shall pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two is company. Three’s a crowd. Four? That’s just plain nuts. So yes, a fifth would not be the best of ideas.

      Tough times come and go. Hopefully this tough time goes sooner than later. If not, then I’ll just have to adopt a better attitude about it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It does get better, Ben. It can seem like a long dark tunnel when you’re raising kids, alone effectively (which is what it is for you and your wife.) You will survive and you’ll have great relationships with your children when they are grown; they will value their dad and the time and attention he gave them. This is my experience. Being around small kids all the time (I was a teacher too so didn’t even escape them at work) is incredibly demanding but my three, now adults, value my past efforts (ineffectual though I always felt they were.)

    Some adult company would help – that’s what I missed most. Is there any way you could work some of that in? Some friends who you could meet up with, if only occasionally? I’m sure that would help (it did me.)

    It’s not quite the same, I know, but you’re neither invisible nor alone. We’re here for you; many of us have been, and may still be, where you are now.

    Liked by 2 people

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