During my husband’s vacation a few weeks ago, I drove down to Norton, MA for an overnight girls’ day out with my good friend Heather. While I was hanging with Heather and visiting places we used to hang out when I lived in Rhode Island, I had a tiny epiphany. I don’t feel like myself anymore.
What does that even mean?
I was sitting in the passenger seat of Heather’s rocking hard-top Jeep and I was thinking to myself: “I don’t think I’ve been living for me for more than 5 years.”
That sounds so selfish. But it’s true. I have been living for my kids. They always come first. That’s a given and I won’t ever change that. Parents have been making sacrifices for their kids for generations. The good parents, at least. My problem is that I have been putting my kids first and my husband second but forgetting to even put me in the lineup.
I’ll admit that I’m a pretty selfish person. It’s probably why being a mom has driven me a little crazy. Because I have to share everything I have and all that I am all the time, 24/7, with 2 other people. Three other people if you count my husband (which I won’t since he doesn’t generally make me feel like he’s sucking my life’s energy from me on a daily basis).
Sometimes I don’t want to share the couch cushion I’m sitting on with someone else’s butt cheeks. I don’t always want an audience when I’m on the toilet or in the shower or getting dressed. When I shuffle out of bed in the morning, I don’t always feel like making breakfast, or answering random questions or breaking up sibling fights.
The Peppermint Patty I just stuffed in my mouth whole because a kid walked into the kitchen? Yeah, I’m not sharing it. Too bad kid. Not this time!
I guiltily admit that when I am sharing my time, my husband’s attention, my food, and my stuff I feel a tiny bit resentful. Not all the time. But every once and a while I’ll think, “can’t this just be for me?”
I chose to stay home with my kids and I don’t regret it. I love them. And while I can imagine life without them I think it would feel empty and meaningless now that I know what life is like with them in it. So why do I feel so guilty that I want my own life? Why does American society make moms feel like Mommy Dearest if they do something for themselves without thinking of their children first?
I feel like I’ve woken up after a really long sleep and I’m in the mood to be productive. I have all these things I want to be working on, but don’t have the time. Because I need to spend that time parenting my kids. I spend all my time parenting my kids. 95% of the time, that’s okay with me. When I’m not pulling my hair out in frustration, I enjoy being with them. They’re funny and cute and give really good hugs.
Though, I can’t lie. I’m very excited that summer camp starts tomorrow.