All I wanted for my birthday this year was to be away from my kids.
A friend posted on Facebook recently, “I love my kids more than anything, but being a mother is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Amen to that!
I’ve wanted to have kids for as long as I can remember. There was a time I was thinking that marriage was optional, but kids were a definite Yes. I ultimately went with marriage over the knock-me-up-after-a-night-of-drinking route (and having a supportive spouse does make this parenting roller coaster into more of a kiddie ride than a suicidal trip on the Coney Island Cyclone). But it’s bumpy nonetheless.
And I’m learning that all that jostling-until-you-almost-throw-up is kind of the point. Roller coasters are fun because they take you to the edge of your fear and then flip your stomach upside down. (Right? I don’t really know because I hate roller coasters.)
To put it another way, a wise man at my husband’s high school reunion once said to me, “Kids were so good for my character development.”
Right now my job with K-Pants and Baby Woww is to teach them not to hit, steal, scream, throw metal objects, or put toxic substances into their mouths. Potty training would be nice, but I don’t quite have the energy yet. Heck, I’m not even 100% on the first list, so why take on more?
But K-Pants and Baby Woww? They have the hard job. They have to teach me to be functional on interrupted sleep, feed them even when I’m feeling depressed, stop judging other moms so that we’ll have people to hang out with, and find comfort in the words forbearance and just-good-enough.
This is a different Evelyn from five years ago, and sometimes this Evelyn wants to carry a purse instead of a diaper bag, jaywalk, or go to a concert at the Crystal Ballroom after parallel parking a compact car that doesn’t have five layers of fossilized children’s snacks.
So that’s what my husband gave me for my birthday: time away.
I really wanted to go to our friends’ fabulous wedding in New York City, but flying–even alone–is simply too much energy for me right now. So I’m happy to be hanging out in downtown Portland at Powell’s Books where my soul sings, and meeting strangers for drinks: It’s a simple day away from my personal growth.
So cheers to all you moms, and all that damn character development you’re getting. Have a great week, and a great Mother’s Day!