MINE!!!! The Selfishness of Motherhood

There was a time in every mom’s life when every thing she had belonged to her. That time was before Pre Child (P.C.). Now there is not one single iota of a mother’s life that belongs solely to her. Her days and thoughts are consumed by other people’s needs and wants. Sure she still has things to take care of, but they often get pushed to the back burner in an effort to take care of the needs of everyone else before her own. Every mother, at one time or another, has dreamed of a life long gone and fantasized about what her life would be like without the daily responsibilities of Snack days, her husband’s work schedule, play dates, walking the dog and all these other things that actually have nothing to do what she so desperately needs……time to be selfish.
Yeah I said it. The most selfless job in the world should come with built in Selfish Time. Time just for us. We make sure our husbands have it; we make sure our kids have their time. But at the end of the day, after we have put away the laundry, the leftovers and prepared for the next day looming on the horizon, the small amount of time we have is spent brushing our teeth and climbing into our much anticipated bed…..only to end up with a 6 year old foot in the back because our loving child has crawled into bed with us. Not even sleep is ours! Sweet blissful sleep has been stolen from us. If you’re new to the motherhood game, let me break it down for you:
Your body:
Yeah this stopped being yours the moment you found out you were expecting. You can longer eat what you’d like, especially if you’re a big sushi fan. You can no longer drink what you’d like, be it a frosty adult beverage or a soda. You have to be mindful of everything you eat. You suddenly have to be aware of your caffeine intake. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You may be a fitness fanatic or you may not be, but suddenly no matter how hard you try not to gain weight, it’s there, staring you in the mirror as you try desperately to get your favorite jeans over your thighs. Your belly is beyond your control. Your breasts have taken on a life all their own. And as your impending due date approaches, the really weird shit starts to happen. My hips shifted. Like moved and will never return to their original position. I will never be the size I was before I had Bean, no matter how much I work out or diet, because my bones moved! I had been told once that I had child bearing hips (apparently that’s a compliment?) but it would seem that they weren’t quite up to the task after all.
Then after you bring your little cherub into the world, your body becomes even less yours, if that’s even possible. You are now a walking food source, at the beckoning of a 9lb tyrant who screams and you come running. Were you sleeping? Too bad! Were you foolishly trying to make a phone call? HA!! Shower? Good Luck. Just make peace with your new role. It’s easier that way. And sadly it doesn’t decrease with time. The role just adapts much like other creatures in the animal kingdom. From now until this person is 18 years old you are legally responsible for feeding them, clothing them and enriching them.

Your house:
Remember P.C. (Pre Child)? You thoughtfully picked out your decor. Cleaning your house was easy because it was either just you or maybe your significant other or maybe roommates. Now there is a minefield of toys spread across your living room. You will learn to hate legos. There are small dishes and utensils in your kitchen. There are brightly colored cups in your cabinet. There are hand prints on the walls that will probably never come off. Remember when you did laundry and the only cute things in there were your unmentionables. Now you fold little panties with My Little Pony on them. So many onesies in so many colors. Little shoes to trip over. At one point you may actually think that your toddler is trying to booby trap the house and send you to an early grave. Little does he know that if you go, his food source goes? Don’t bite the hand little man.
Your Day:
Ok, my day to day is pretty mellow. I try to be as organized as I can. The most hectic days for me used to be if I had class and work on the same day. Then I had a child and got married. I suddenly became responsible for 2 other people. My hubs is not an organized person. He needs a planner. He needs to write stuff down in the same place instead of on envelopes and scrap pieces of paper. He will say something to me and then 6 days later ask me about it, the whole time I was unaware that I was responsible for cataloging said information. He will set down a piece of paper with vital information on it, then go on a rant about clutter, so the paper gets inadvertently moved because it is on a surface with dozens of other pieces of paper and then suddenly its my responsibility to find it. Apparently he thinks I have some super power in the form of being able to recall the exact location of 1 piece of paper. So on top of my own schedule, I now have to incorporate Bean’s and D’s. No wonder I feel confused all the time! I’m blonde…..people need to stop expecting so much from me 🙂  It will be interesting when I go back to school, we may need to hire an actual secretary. I wonder if she will work for Goldfish Crackers.
Your vehicle:
Before I had Bean I drove the cutest little VW Beetle. I loved it. It was the epitome of cute girl beach bum cars. I was sad when I sold it. At times I really want to get another one. But based on the amount of crap that accumulates in my SUV on a weekly basis, the Beetle wouldn’t be able to handle my life. It used to be that my car only had my stuff in it; a bikini, a towel, flip flops, my iPod, and some books. Now? A booster seat, several My Little Ponies, markers, flip flops that don’t belong to me, empty water bottles, not so empty water bottles, so many school papers that I could easily be responsible for the death of a forest. The list goes on and on. My husband constantly asks me how my truck gets so cluttered. Well for starters it’s the primary family vehicle. It does the grocery shopping; the school drops offs and pick ups, the play dates, the trips to the beach and road trips. I challenged my husband to have his car be the family vehicle for 1 month just to see what his looks like. He declined. Its not that I’m a messy person, I am somewhat scatter brained, but in all honesty I HATE clutter. But at the end of the day, I’m just too damn tired to do anything about it.
Your Relationship:
This is a big one. P.C. your relationship was all fun and games. It didn’t have to be serious. Even though you’re adults with adult responsibilities like bills and a career, you still had to option to be irresponsible and party and go on vacation on a whim. You had the ability to be spontaneous, which helped keep the romance alive and thriving. Now, between middle of the night feedings, sharing your bed with a 6 year old, PTA meetings, play dates, and trying to contain the hurricane that sweeps through your house on a daily basis, your relationship may feel more like a business arrangement than a marriage. And that’s OK! Kids are exhausting. Especially if you’re doing your job as a parent. After I have gotten her off to school (which means dressed in matching clothes, lunch packed and hair done), I either run errands like grocery shopping or taking the dog to the vet or do some much needed laundry. And there are some days I even volunteer in her classroom, as if I don’t see her enough. Then when its time to pick her up, I have to start thinking about what to make for dinner. I help her with her homework, I build legos with her; draw on the driveway with chalk with her. Then its dinner, cleaning up from dinner, bath time, wind-down time, and then stories and bedtime. After that, it’s usually my bedtime. My hubs will get home and wonder why I’m so tired. He often feels neglected. I do my best to reassure him that I love him and only have eyes for him, but in all honesty, I’ve been checking out our new tempur-pedic bed pretty hard  and when the planets align and we do get child free time together, its usually a redbox movie, some “quality time” and then I’m still asleep by 11:00, 11:30 if I’m feeling adventurous. My relationship no longer belongs to me. It belongs to my child. She’s the variable in the equation. I love her and I wouldn’t trade her for anything, but sometimes I feel like our child is killing our relationship.
I used to go on a yearly Girls’ trip to Vegas. All moms and wives. No kids or husbands. Just 3 days. Just long enough to recharge from all of life’s demands. I would come back a better mom and a better wife. My body and mind know when this trip is coming. I can feel the desperation in my bones. I force myself to pull it together for a few more days until I get on the plane and turn off my phone. Of course while I’m there I miss my little family, I check in with them often and send and receive pics. But no one needs anything from me. I can fall asleep by the pool and not have a care in the world. That is an amazing feeling for a mom to experience. Sometimes my hubs gets jealous of this yearly trip. I understand it. I have offered to send him, but his friends can’t seem to get their act together. I have offered that just he and I go, but his work interfered. But I am not willing to give up my trip. This year I can’t go because of extenuating circumstances, and my subconscious knows something is wrong. It knows that normally a few days from now I would be boarding a plane to peace, tranquility, neon lights and free drinks.
I may sound like I don’t love my life, but astonishingly that is not the case. I love my life. I love the many hand drawn pictures adorning my home. I love the little Reefs sitting next to the stairs. I would just love them more if they were in the closet where they belong. I love that my life is charged with the enrichment of such an awesome person, but every once in a while I would like…..NO, I DEMAND Selfish time. A time where no one needs anything from me. Not my child, not my husband, not work, not school. No one. A time when someone else brings ME food and drinks. Someone else will walk the dog and do the laundry. Just a few days. Every mother should get this. There should be a government kick back to each Mom that allows here to do this. It is essential to our ability to be a functioning mother and wife.
My point is, it’s ok to get frustrated with life and feel like you are being pulled in several directions at once, because in all honesty you are. Just try to carve out a little time here and there for you. You will thank yourself for it down the road. Don’t let your “mom guilt” override your sense of self preservation. The kids will survive if you go to lunch with a friend. They will be ok if they spend the weekend at grandma’s and you and the husband sneak off to a hotel for a day or 2. Don’t forget that you are a person too and you deserve the same things you are working so hard to provide for your family.

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