Once upon a time, there was this girl who lived her life almost completely the way she wanted it. She had a responsible job with health benefits. But other than that, her life was on her own terms. She visited friends and went on road trips. She and her friends had grand plans for changing the world someday but not any time soon. They were having fun and there wasn’t any rush. They’d throw back a few drinks at bars on the weekends sort of wondering if they’d meet someone worthy of a serious relationship, but never really caring much if it happened. She spent any extra money on clothes and her social life. She went to at least a dozen concerts a year. She played softball for a work league. In her mind, she was content with life.
The idea of having kids was sort of in her periphery, though not really a priority. That was a million years away and something that happened for other (older and conventional) people. Besides, even if she wanted to have a kid, she had to meet the right guy and her last boyfriend had done a fantastic job of inspiring her to never want be in a serious relationship again and left her wondering if a conventional lifestyle was even something she wanted. Maybe marriage wasn’t her thing. She didn’t know if she was on board with being Ms. Suzy-Homemaker.
When one of her co-workers handed out invitations to parties selling Tupperware, or kitchen gadgets, she politely declined and couldn’t help but think, “You will never catch me going to or hosting one of those things.” When her friends with children talked about their kids, it occurred to her that she wasn’t that much younger than they were. Maybe it would be a good idea to start considering the possibility of finding someone someday…
…Then someday came.
Now here I am with three kids. I am a stay-at-home-mom. I make fancy dinners using my kitchen gadgets from Pampered Chef, present them on lavish platters from Southern Living, and put the leftovers in Tupperware. I have organizational bins from Thirty-one. I am a poster-child for these home parties!
And still it is so hard for me to let go of the person I used to be. I think I may have actually been “cool” or at least fun to hang out with about ten years ago. Scott jokes that I tricked him into marrying me. I used to drink beer and humor him by listening to country music (he forgets that I also teased the crap out of him about his musical tastes). But he even notices a change.
Obviously, this isn’t just an accurate portrayal of my life, but many women who choose to get married and/or have children. We lose a significant piece of who we are, at least for a little while. Sure, many women continue to work and keep that part of themselves, but there are always new things to add to the resume; Head of the PTA, Girl Scout Troop Leader, Birthday Party Planner, Block Party Organizer, etc. We do these things not because we like taking on the extra work or responsibilities or want to further forget who we are, but because we chose this life, so we might as well make the most of it and do something that will mean a lot to the people we do it all for.
Most days if you ask me how I’m doing, I will confidently tell you my life is fulfilled and that motherhood and marriage have enriched my soul and brought purpose I never knew existed before. But I do have off days when I am feeling sorry for myself and days when I cling to my past pretty hard. I will masochistically peruse Ticketmaster or grab a copy of MetroTimes and see that Foster the People is coming to Detroit for a concert on a THURSDAY night and I get so annoyed because the kids have school the next day and I have to be up at 6:00 a.m. to make their breakfast. So then I don’t go and the day comes and goes and no one knows any differently besides me. And that will be a bad day for me. I feel like I work so hard every day doing the same job, don’t I deserve a break?!
When I watch Scott put on his suit and tie for work I suddenly realize it’s been a month since I wore high heels or weeks since I last wore make-up. I wonder when did I start living my life for everyone else? WHEN DID I LOSE MY INDEPENDENCE?
So I fitfully lie in bed and dream of the easy days although in the dream, I am looking for something. And when I wake up, I am trying to understand why I feel a little hollow. And then I piece it together. This all happened because of my independence. This was what I wanted more than my life meeting my expectations every day. I chose to allow myself to fall in love and I chose to get married. I chose to have children thereby allowing the chaos; the possibility of my day not going the way I expected. This life is exactly my doing because of my choices. And then…
I am OK with it all.
I mean, these kids are pretty awesome to be around all day long. Way cooler than seeing Jack White or the Lumineers from the front row of an intimate venue or doing karaoke after softball on a Wednesday night and showing up for work Thursday morning with a splitting headache.
And I will get to do road trips again, only it will be with my favorite people in the world; my family.