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October 19, 2009



You hit the nail on the head ... I have been wondering how to explain that feeling I occasionally get with my own 3-year-old. He is slowing eat through my soul. Raising a child is a most incredible experience, but truly sucks the life right out of you. Take some time for you whenever you get the chance!


What you wrote is exactly the way I see my actuel life between a 2 year old boy and a 60h a week job.
In september I added my compact Olympus and a little moleskine to my bag. It's a little better.
I wonder why daddies don't feel that way?


awww.....i remember all that. and as you already said, you do get through it, it does become yesterday at some point. when my children were small (all 4 are grown now), i remember wondering with some misery when people talked about how quickly their kids' childhoods flew past. and one day i realized that the years fly by but the days are so so long. such a mystery.

i remember hiding in the bathroom just to have a few minutes to myself. i remember getting up earlier than i thought possible, just to have a few minutes to myself, to make something with my hands. i remember feeling worn out by their need, by being touched and sucked and needed to the point of drying me out. and i remember feeling like something was surely wrong with me, since i never heard anyone else say these things.

but it's funny, i only remember those things now when i stop to think about it.


I have days and weeks with my nearly three year old too. I have started responding to the "Whhhy?" with (as recommended by a friend) "I wonder?". I can let go of almost everything, but a kid who refuses to get dressed when we need to go out, and it's too cold to go naked, can leave me feeling undone. It sounds like such a small rebellion when you say it, but every day for a few weeks, every single time I want to leave the house, it wears me down.

Today was a good day, and we celebrated with icecream.


oh, i feel like my entire blog has been this one post. my boy is 7 this week and my girl is 5.5. Life is better than when she was at 2-4 years. I feel like Milena has honestly sucked the life out of me,BUT..and there is a BUT, she brings humour and sillyness to my life that I could never bring. there is always something that makes you hold on to the hope that one day, they will stop being so dependent on your every given moment.

I started buying beautiful notebooks. Orla, Lisa Congdon, jill bliss, things that appeal to my creative illustrative ways. I write/sketch so much and am slightly content in knowing that I will not full-fill my list of ideas and dreams on my terms. slightly.BUT atleast I have a record of them.

there isn't an answer at hand. I think we live in a time when we want to do too much with our lives.


Fishbowls can be a wonderful thing. tranquil. turgid. meditative. I have taken a hammer to mine. not sure what happens next but it will be different...

kim at allconsuming

Oh DUDE - three is just.so.hard. Jasper turned four today and can I just say, the last year has been one loooooong year with him. I swear he was trying to suck the life force out of me. The whinging, the relentless needing, the tantrums, OH the tantrums, the relentless beligerent groundhog day nature of it all. So so very challenging.

I realised just how bad it was when I started to go by weeks - in telling myself - well this week was better than a fortnight ago. And that was what it was. A week by week survival.

Planning is good. And you are doing the right thing - forget (sort of) the big picture and enjoy the process - little bits here and there will keep you going. Trust me. I know.


Ah. So that's what the problem is. Was too busy swimming around in circles with my ten second short term memory. Note to self: at least (at the absolute least), change the water this week.


Ah, I am moved to comment as I identified with you so strongly; I have a just turned 3 and a recently turned 4 : and between the two of them I too feel this way (not to mention my 4mo!)... I just hadn't given it as much thought, but now it makes me realize why I am compelled to make, just for me, it's such a perfect way to replenish my soul. I hope that your making is nourishing yours too.


i am the other fish in your fishbowl.
over there in the back.

ali - the dotted line

such a beautifully written post. i don't know what to say about 'being 3' as i've yet to face that stage {and i honestly have no idea what to expect!}. a friend recently told me that 18 months was the hardest part of childhood for them and ella has been so lovely over the past couple of weeks that i was starting to think i had gotten through the tough bit! with a few more moments of calm each day, i, too, have been trying to focus, plan, make lists, sketch ideas...but the frustration of not having enough calm moments to make them real is overwhelming me. trying to carve a life outside of the fishbowl is definitely an incredible challenge that i'm struggling with, but i'm also realizing it is essential and a lot less scary than not trying at all.


Thank you so much for this entry, it makes me feel less alone in this soul-eating-feeling!


Parenthood is not all that smooth. Some people will let you believe that. I've been there. It's hard to comfort other mothers. All i can say is that being a full time working mom (as in office work) i sometimes went to work with relief. Well, honestly, now that my girl is 5, i would not say no to a fishbowl ;o)
Hope you find your way in this parenting turmoil


Three gets you even if it is the second time. I remember the moment Three started for the second time in our house. It prompted me to call the husband at work and exclaim:
"Honey- it's back!"
"What's back?"
"Oh, NO!"

It does get better and the true reward is Seven, in which the human brain is capable of logic.

The joke in our house is that Three year olds are fantastic birth control.

You can do this. I promise.


Yes I went through the same thing with my daughter but not my son. He was harder when he turned 10, but Isabelle did that when she turned 3 and it lasted for a year or so. Once she started school she was little miss independance, and things calmed down a bit. Just remember when your having a hard time you can always chat with us, we are only an email away.


Thank you so much. Your thoughtful post and all the comments that follow remind me that I am not the only mother being consumed by her three year old. I like your idea that if a list is made, small actions for oneself might follow. I shall try it.

Julie Alvarez

I can't even write about how accurate this description is.
Hang on, mama. Let's be strong together.


exactly...my ava is a little harder to handle while people say that girls are easier than boys (not this one)...jason's schoolwork takes a lot of my time now after coming home from work...i wish there were more hours in the day...


Just think...in under 2 weeks - you will be in Paris x


One day you will suddenly find taht you are no longer in the fishbowl and it will be a bit too open! I am there with my son being so much more independant at high school, its the strangest feeling having time again!


And truthfully, those are the reasons why I went back to full time work. It was easy to say it was about the money (and very, very true) but the hangover from PND wouldn't go away and I couldn't find the time to feed my soul.

At 10 and 7, things are so different. Me, for a start. The psychological labour of mothering is only occasionally overwhelming.


Thought provoking post, and comments...
Mostly my thoughts are "Oh no! So this is what lies ahead?!"
But I'm also thinking that perhaps it's a phase, like all other phases in life, that is not permenant, and that one day you'll find yourself relocated into a larger, different pond, with a whole heap of new and different opportunities and possibilities (although quite possibly with it's own issues to be overcome too).
Good luck with finding a way to feel comfortable with the fishbowl while you remain in there, and good luck with finding a way to move on from it too.


oh, do i know the feeling. i have twin boys almost 4 and another boy, who just turned 2. i have days where i feel so empty and drained. but it's easier now than just one year ago, and i am hopeful that it will be even better in a year.

thank you for describing these ambivalent feelings of motherhood.


They say if your write it down and believe in it, it comes true. So get out you book and go girl! Keep crafting, I know its the only thing I have thats ME. keep swiming hey.


Well I clicked on to see your gorgeous photos (by golly lady you can REALLY capture things you know?), but had no idea I was about to read such a thought provoking post. What is it about three? And daughters? Mine is now 4 1/2 and whilst we still battle each other every day it is nothing like it was when she was three.

And I know what you mean about the small little bits of creative time. It certainly feeds the soul ... or the fish. And perhaps like fish we can't expect to gorge too much. Just little flakes of it here and there ;)

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