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Monday, June 06, 2005

Parenting, the blissfully-carefree way

I just can't be one of those women who can just zip up their own life and transform into a parent. It's just not me. It will never be me. I will continue to want sex for more than just procreation. I will continue to wear lipstick because it makes me feel sexy. I will continue to get (secretly) excited when random, adorable men smile at me. I will continue to wear silky, strappy bras and undies because I like knowing that they are there, even when no one else does. I will continue to want to write, even though it means less one-on-one time with my kid.

BAD MOMMY.

But then again, I sometimes think I envy those women who suck it up and forego everything except the kids in front of them. The ones who can just decide they are a mother. And that's that. They are on this earth to birth, nourish, clothe, entertain, teach, and love their kids. I manage some of those things--quite splendidly, I'll say--but I can not just ignore this other chunk of my life that existed. I wish I knew how they do it. Sometimes it seems like that would be much easier to handle. Just accept parenthood as all encompassing, all absorbing, and forget about the rest of it. Are they for real? Are they secretly struggling too? Just putting on that happy face to make the rest of us think we're nuts? Because I feel nutty.

Back and forth. Forth and back. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Even though I didn't always love my jobs, I usually felt pretty darn good about myself when I completed a project, published an article. Yes work does so often suck and get in the way of free time, but work is good too. I often think about the semester in college when I had to overload to make up a class. I was busier than I ever was, taking several tough classes at once. But it turned out to be one of my best semesters, for grades and time-management and overall satisfaction. On the flip side, when I took so-called easy classes, those were the times when I was usually most behind. There was an illusion that it was going to be a breeze so I'd slack off a bit. And then I ended up struggling.

Finding some way to work while also being a full-time parent would be the equivalent to that busy college semester. Working hard and feeling good about the work I'm doing. Super time management skills, cute, well-adjusted Toddler in Chief, a little buffed up ego from my gripping (and occassional) by-lines. It all sounds so easy, so attainable. Now if only it were that easy.

* UPDATE: I originally titled this post "Parenting, the ignorantly-blissful way," but then realized that ignornant is really the wrong word. Is there a word for being able to tune out all noise/needs, except for that of kids/family?

4 comments:

  1. Honestly, I don't know of anyone who has completely surrendered themselves to being a full-time parent and doesn't yearn for even a moment of life as it was before kids. It could be anything from wearing lacy undies, to having that pre-prego body again, to being able to eat a hot meal in peace, to kicking back and having a beer with some friends. Some of that my be attainable again, once the little one has learned to sleep through the night, or once he/she can be left with a sitter for longer periods of time. And sheesh, don't you think it's necessary in order to stay sane?

    :)

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  2. I'm convinced those that *do that* are performing one hell of an act. Either that or they are fooling themselves that their children and family ARE their life... really.

    For the first year and a half of my kiddos life, I thought that *that* was the way. Live your life for your child right? I tried. And tried again. And again. Every time feeling more and more miserable. Left out from my *old* pre-/Non-baby friends. Missing my career. Not being happy in my marriage--the whole gammat.

    Then one day (literally) I woke up and was like what the fuck am I doing (pardon my language). I knew I couldn't live that way- no matter what these other moms were doing, I needed to carve out some of MYSELF in the picture.

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  3. Are we talking about giving up career for children/family - or giving up everything (hobbies, personal time, etc)? I think it comes down to whether or not a mother was all that happy with her life before parenthood. If you didn't have a career that motivated you, then looking to parenting as your career is often what happens.

    I am one of those "surrendered" moms - and I homeschool, so I really get very little time to myself. I don't secretly wish I had a career and I do feel fulfilled by choosing my family as "my life." HOWEVER, I do have hobbies and I do take time for myself, either at night or when my husband spends time with the kiddies. I'd definitely go nuts without some personal time.

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  4. I'm fascinated by women, who from the outside at least, seem to be the ones completely immersed in motherhood without any complaints. Maybe they don't share their hopes of something different or maybe they are just big picture people and believe one day live will be more all-encompassing again? There's absolutely nothing wrong with being totally immersed in motherhood, but I just marvel at it and wonder what it is about ME that makes me different in that respect.
    I know my kid loves me and I know I'm a good mom, even if I don't spend every single waking moment with her.
    She's the best, and every moment I see her (minus the horrendous fits), I just feel so lucky to have such a great kid. So, she gets lots of hugs and kisses and "I love you"s from me each and every day.

    I know I'm not a BAD MOMMY ;^) and neither is mother-in-chief.

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