I have always thought so.
Listen, other moms, don’t bristle and run away. I know your cursor is hovering over the back button, and you’ve got this wild offended look and you’re almost in tears.
It’s true and you know it. What other group of people can babble, ad infinitum, about poop, school projects that involve pipe cleaners and egg cartons, petty-five-year-old tiffs & inappropriate mom reactions, good or bad teachers, report cards, pencils, after-school activities, and be so interested in these topics?
I’m a mom, and I don’t really think that stuff is interesting. It’s undignified to let our kids take over our lives. Like we help our kids grow into whole other people, we have to maintain our own identities! If we forget who we are, how can we help them become who they are?
When I was pregnant, I used to tell dead baby jokes. I did it because I was rebelling against the mom babble.
I was more heroic and successful about avoiding that when I was pregnant. It’s easy to do anything in theory.
But I reckon that if my fabulous child knows that I have something else going on for myself, she won’t come across any zany ideas when she reaches her late teens and early twenties like that she can’t take that awesome internship in Zimbabwe because if she does I’ll be a wreck.
Hell, I want her to go to Zimbabwe! I want her to travel the world! I want her to know how to be a whole person outside the definition of our family. I want her to have that understanding early, and to take it and run off into the sunset and build herself a mountain of success and experience and heartache and trouble.
There’s this video:
But I think that in some ways it doesn’t get better after the spawn emerges. Us moms have this unspoken club of martyrdom, and nobody without kids belongs OR could understand. And whenever I catch myself clucking my tongue, smiling knowingly at one of my childless friends (who is horrified at how little it bothers me when my busy, busy kid is all in my face about something absurd or interrupts our conversation) and on the verge of some ridiculous statement like, “someday you’ll understand,” I get a little bit sick inside.
I get embarrassed. It’s the equivalent of saying, “I don’t care what it is as long as it’s healthy.”
Listen, I WANT free time. I WANT to be unfettered. I WANT to go back to being April, and not Mom: the grown up who goes with the kid.
And I’ll totally indulge in the conversation about poop or homework or projects, about Mrs. Smith, Mr. Deacon, or the principal. But once all that can be said has been, I want to talk about Breaking Bad or Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I want to go out after 8:00 p.m. and take in things that aren’t appropriate for children, either because of the content or the attention span required.
I want to drink beer and practice my guitar with abandon, and read for three hours without interruption.
I am pining for the day that 75% of my time is not spent on teaching my kid how to get dressed, do her own homework, checking on her when she’s playing with her friends, volunteering at her school, making sure she gets culture, making sure she eats well, making sure she has clothes to wear.
Yes, all that stuff is more rewarding than I could possibly describe.
But, I don’t want to be at a loss when it’s over. I do not want to have to be 75% overwhelmed by the care of another being in order to feel like myself.
So let’s quit being boring, Moms! Let’s be ourselves AND moms. And when we’re done being moms, let’s have a bucket list as long as the distance to the moon of awesome stuff we’ve been dying to do/think/read/be/try.
Our kids will be better for it, and then when they’re pre-parent grownups, we’ll have stuff to talk about with them.