Being a mom is a lot like being a bartender, people are always wondering what else you do. Like that couldn’t possibly be it. You do everything as a mother, but people still want you to do more. (I check both of these occupation boxes, so I’m not sure if that makes me a very good underachiever or if I’m supposed to add a third more respectable job to the line up). I’ve been self-conscious lately; feeling like my biggest accomplishment isn’t that noteworthy. I’ve been tempted to construct a necklace I can wear to both jobs, with charms that include my passport and a copy of my degree. Perhaps a few writing samples. As if to communicate, there’s more to me than this! Just so everyone at the grocery store will know that I’ve done something besides have a child.
Sometimes when I’m out with friends, the ones who don’t have kids, I do this thing where I act like my daughter is a burden. I try to hide the boring part of my life, which also happens to be the fulfilling part. Where I glamorize the childless life they’re living and undermine my own.
There are a lot of things I can’t do anymore that I wish I still could. I can’t read a book whenever I’d like or spend the afternoon on the couch. Did you know that parenthood forces you to consume your favorite television show like people did in the 90’s? Once a week, one episode at a time. Sure, you could absolutely binge watch after your kid goes to sleep, but are you prepared for those consequences? Are you prepared to spend the entire next day regretting your decision to forfeit 3 hours of sleep for The Voice?
And don’t even get me started on drinking. Let me just tell you, if you even cast eyes in the direction of a vodka bottle, you’ll regret it the next day. You’ll start regretting it before you finish 4oz of White Zin. Your hangover starts while you’re still out. Every time I meet up with friends recapped: *heart pounding anxiety coupled with racing thoughts about how I should be in bed, wondering what time my kid will wake up, pretending to listen, smiling and saying “Uh huh! Totally” to everything, while internally resolving to NEVER go out again. Followed by making plans to go out next week.*
I know this girl who took two surprise vacations this month. She and her husband literally said, hey let’s fly across the country! So they did. And then they decided the United States was boring; so they were all, hey let’s LEAVE the country! So then they did that. Ok, I don’t know her, know her. I do follow her on Instagram though. I’ve been stalking her on social media since, imagining myself in her childless shoes, wondering if I’ll ever get to dip my toes in the Atlantic again. Wanting to be more than just a mom in Oakland County.
Not having kids can basically be summed up in one way: it means you can do (or not do) whatever you want. Having kids can be summed up this way: it ruins your life! Kidding. Being a parent means having all of the most amazing opportunities presented to you and understanding that you’d still choose your child over them. That’s pretty crazy if you think about it. There is not a single thing on the planet you could be offered that would tip the scale out of their favor. I can live without everything, but her. Being a mom means that you might want more, but you already have enough. You already are enough.
I tried not to write about being a mom this week. I tried to be more interesting, show you the fancy, obscure the mundane. But that’s just where I am right now.
I hope you get to add stamps to your passport or finish a degree.The world is full of beautiful things, and I hope you get to experience them, but if you don’t… rest assured, the most beautiful has 23 of your chromosomes and is sitting right beside you. Don’t be afraid to just be a mom, it’s enough.
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