I just returned from a little party. At this party, I sat with a couple girlfriends and listened while they talked about their kids and how hard it is to be a parent, and how they want to sleep in, and how they want to vacation without them, and blah…blah…blah….
I was SO over this conversation. Partly because I dearly love my kids and want to be with them all the time, but more so because I don’t understand–at all–the point of complaining like this.
But wait, I am a complainer. Nothing can get me more riled up than an unpleasant colleague, a terrible book, a babysitter that doesn’t clean up after the kids’ messes, and a million more things. And I can really get going. I will whine and blab about something forever. But never about my kids or how much my life has changed.
The reason is because unlike my kids and my role as their mother, I have a choice in everything else. I can avoid my colleague, put the book down, and get a new babysitter.
But my kids? My role as a mother? Nope, don’t have a choice. The minute they entered my life, my life became about THEM not me.
And I don’t mean this in a self -sacrificing, oh holier than thou way. I’m all for mama time-outs. I’m all for going out with friends. I’m all for appreciating not being around kids for a day or so.
But complaining? I’m not for that.
Because what’s the point? If you can’t change your life, you can’t change your kids, and you can’t change your situation then why complain? How will this help anything?
And I know that it does feel good to get things off your chest, to connect with someone else who thinks that this mothering business is sooooooo hard, to feel like you’re not alone in this world….
But seriously, cry me a Prozac river. Suck it up. The more you complain about something you can’t change the further you’re going to sink in your own pool of sadness. The more you realize what you do have, the more you see how great life is.
And need I remind everyone that there are poor African mothers with 10% of what we have and they don’t complain.
But here’s my little theory…it seems like the more we have the more we complain.
Case in point: I was recently watching the Today show and Kristen Davis was being interviewed about her role as Charlotte in the new Sex and the City movie. In this film (supposedly: I haven’t seen it yet), Charlotte, the wealthy mother of two, has a little breakdown because even though she doesn’t work, has a nanny, a supportive husband, and more money than many of us could even imagine, she feels like being a mother is sooooooooo hard.
Poor her. No really, during the interview they were talking about how GREAT it is that Charlotte is experiencing this and showing the truth of motherhood.
The truth of motherhood in America, maybe. But not the truth of motherhood.
Because the truth of motherhood is that yes, it’ll be difficult some days. And your children will cry when you don’t want them to, and they will shit their pants and probably in the car when you’re least prepared, and you will be waking up early for a long time, and playing monster for hours, and going insane when it rains for 3 days in a row, and you will not be able to get drunk and sleep off that hang over the next day, follow all your dreams, escape to Europe for a month or two just because you want to. But the truth of motherhood is that your life will be so much better because of all this. And you will better.
Life will be different. When I think back to the person I was before I had my kids, I wonder:
What the hell did I do with all my free time? Why do I not have a PhD? Why did I not discover the cure for cancer (well, I’m not nearly that smart, but I could have been helping to raise money)? Why did I not build a house? An ark? A space ship?
But now that I have kids, I think about how lucky I am. How lucky I am to have 2 little parts of me running around, hugging me, kissing me, and all around loving me. And yes, I hate getting up early, and cleaning up vomit, and sweeping the floor three times a day, but that is just part of my life now. And really, it’s a good part. I’m a better person because of all the work I do for my kids.
I’m more humane.
I’m much less selfish.
I’m much more full of love.
I have nothing to complain about.
I do not think being a mom is hard. I think it’s all about perspective. When I looked at my friends tonight all I could think was how great they have it: they have awesome, working husbands who help with the kids (a lot), they have incredible parents who help with their kids as well, they own their own houses, they are much more financially stable than me, they have cooler cars, they have this, they have that.
I don’t have what they have: a husband, another income, my own house, money in the bank (IRAs [shit, I don’t even know what that means]), ect.
But I have my perspective. I’m SO thankful for my life and my kids and everything in between.
I may not get up every morning with a lopsided grin on my face, singing “Good morning” to my kids. In fact, I usually don’t even talk to anyone until I get half a cup of coffee in me, and even then I’m still grumpy for at least an hour. But I know one thing for sure…
Take me on a vacation…but take my kids with me. Cause there’s no place I’d rather be than with my kids.
**Note: both my friends are VERY good women and moms. I promise.