It’s a Vicious Cycle

School’s been out for one month. ONE MONTH! Seriously, if my friend hadn’t pointed it out, I would not have realized. Because it’s been bat shit crazy around here.

We’re not halfway through summer yet and I’m exhausted. And behind on everything, including this blog. Which of course no one reads anyway so I’m not stressing all that much about it. Only I am. The fact that I’m unable to do anything for myself, aside from taking a shower and occasional daydreaming on the back porch, says it all.

Everything was perfect so far. I’d kick kids outside to play in the gorgeous 70-degree weather. And our backyard offers ton of stuff to occupy kids with for hours.

But as of last week, the temperatures got really high, hitting 90s. Which means we’re spending much more time indoors, driving mommy crazy. The noise, endless “we’re bored” or “can we play games” or “I’m hungry” lines, constant need for attention, fighting over toys, spilled juice, crying, whining…


I’m trying to keep the kids busy and, although sometimes dreadfully, I’m constantly taking them places because while it can be exhausting it’s still better than staying home and wanting to punch a hole in a wall out of sheer desperation & frustration!

We broke a temperature record yesterday so naturally I planned a visit to a local pool, hoping for a lazy afternoon of sun baking, water splashing, laughter and relaxing. Yeah, I know, quite naive. But while I knew it was a long shot, the alternative sounded even less promising.

We got there at 2pm and J was going to join us in an hour, coming straight from work (he starts REALLY early). That meant that we had to stay in the kiddie pool for an hour because this mommy is not a superwoman and can’t handle 3 kids under 7 in the deep pool (what? I’m not a superwoman?). Which led to my 7yo whining and is-daddy-here-yet 55-minute marathon. Did I mention, I have low tolerance for annoying questions? And whining? Even if they’re coming from the cutest little people.

In the span of that hour I visited the bathrooms 5 times with various little persons, assisted with snack, water, sunblock, goggles, towels, and of course water games. All while dealing with aforementioned long-faced 7yo. All in all, I was left alone for 30-second intervals at best. So much for a relaxing afternoon.

Needless to say, by the time J arrived I was tired, desperate for a break and short tempered. He, of course, with his aura of endless patience and serenity, saved the day! The rest of our stay was actually fun. Bless him!


So naturally, “I’m not cut out for this!”, “I suck at motherhood”, “I’m ruining my children” and such has been the theme of today. I know.

I KNOW I do this to myself. I self-doubt, I put myself down, I self-criticize, I stress, I worry, and then I feel guilty, overwhelmed and I cry. And I cry some more.

And I feel like I’m not the mother or a wife I should be, I feel like a failure, like a fraud. All thanks to the fucking pressure to be perfect.

Because I know I’m a great mom dealing with a lot of shit. My days are plenty stressful and I’m mostly all by myself juggling parenting, home and career. I know THAT! In perspective, in the great scheme of things, I know that.

Yet, I keep judging my every miss-step, criticizing my every angry response and putting myself down for every time I fail to be a perfect mother. One who couldn’t even relax with the kids at the pool.

It’s a vicious cycle!

It's a vicious cycle - Joanna Ciolek

6 Responses

  1. Sedef


    Can I as the mother of two boys 19 and 21, say YOU ARE PERFECTLY NORMAL!!!
    I was nodding my head in agreement as I read your blog. It all happened to me and more… Self-doubt was a constant in my life. Just the fact that you are doubting yourself is a sign that you care and you are a fantastic mother. As women we are too tough on ourselves.

    I recently baby-sat my 2 yr old nephew and it was heaven. I let everything go and did everything on his time, according to his wishes (well, except for the little stressful time I faced as I was trying to write my take home final for Cubism and Abstract Art class at 2 a.m and he woke and refused to go back to sleep)
    I kept on thinking how my life would have been so much easier if I had been this relaxed when raising my own children… Well I guess it’s against nature somehow.’

    Remember, you are doing a great job! And RELAX you will have time enough for everything else. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

    Take Care,


  2. Joanna Ciolek

    Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. You are right, it just might be against nature (in regards to parenting) to just relax, let your guards down, let go of fear. Finding that sweet spot, balance is the tricky part.

  3. Kerstin

    Just reading about your time at the public pool sounds EXHAUSTING! You did great, considering!
    I get like that quite often myself, put too much pressure on myself, expectations are too high. I think that comes with being a driven, motivated individual – it’s not easy to relax and just be.
    I have to keep reminding myself that it’s alright to not have everything perfect and sometimes just let things happen.
    Sounds like you’re a great mom to me, because you care and you want to do a great job!

  4. Joanna Ciolek

    Thank you Kerstin. I do tend to expect too much from myself and others. I have much to work on in that department!