There was this excellent scene on How I Met Your Mother last night where one of the characters (Lily – played by Alyson Hannigan), a new mother, was confessing that sometimes she just wanted to run away, that she didn’t always want to be a mother — and that she was having a hard time accepting it. And I sat there with tears in my eyes, knowing all too well how that feels. It sounds horrible and it burns me to even consider the thoughts coming from my brain, but here’s the honest truth: Sometimes, I don’t want to be a mother either.
I know. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Dude – you are having a 3rd child ON PURPOSE. What the hell?” But, this has nothing to do with how much I love my kids and how much I love HAVING kids. Words cannot even describe how much love I have for them. I would give my life for theirs in a heartbeat and they make my life so much fuller and more complete than I ever imagined possible. I really believe that children are direct portals to joy and wonder – something that tends to escape as we become adults. And experiencing life through a child’s eyes is like reliving your childhood and actually understanding what it all means. But, that doesn’t mean that a very small part of me doesn’t have feelings of frustration, rage, and disappointment in motherhood. There are definitely moments of insanity, when I think, “Why? Why did I become a mother?”
I am not equipped to be this saintly person with endless patience and kindness. I have many shortfalls and when I get angry, I GET ANGRY. Sometimes, when I hear “Mom… mom… mom… mommy!” a hundred thousand times in a row, I want to lock myself in a closet with a book and a glass of wine and just hope that I can’t be found. Sometimes, when I am being ignored, I want to throw away all of their toys and sometimes I just want to scream back at them when they are having a temper tantrum because they didn’t get to sit on the right side of the cart in the grocery store. Or I brushed their hair in the wrong direction. But that’s probably not a good idea, huh?
I think Saturdays are my hardest days. Dan has to work and I am with two crazy kids who have been smacked down with routine all week and are ready to burst free. I try to plan our day with as much structure as as possible. Dance lessons, sports, a trip to the Y, and lunch at Davis Bakery are pretty standard – but even in that structure things will (and do) go array. Attitudes are given, fights break out, and temper tantrums are frequent. I know it’s mainly a show for me but it’s hard not to get caught up in it. It’s hard not to be relieved when they are quiet and napping. It’s hard not be happy when the day is over.
Of course, bedtime is another source of frustration. Again, there’s a routine. The kids play/watch TV/do homework while I cook dinner, we eat, and then it’s showers, snuggling, and bed. Somewhere between showering and bed manipulation roles in. My kids are good at it too. To outsiders it may seem like they are trying to squeeze in every moment with us, but I know it’s really a ploy to stay up late and avoid going to sleep — because you KNOW they might miss something when they’re sleeping.
But it’s those moments between “Oh.My.God. WHAT the hell am I doing?” and “I don’t want to do this anymore!” that I have my realization. Because you know, there always is one. I realize I WON’T be saying this in 10 years from now. In 10 years, I will be lucky that my kids want to give me a kiss goodnight, let alone snuggle with me while we watch the end of a TV show. They won’t call my name a million and twenty times to show me how cool their toy is or to show me that they put on the play clothes (backwards) all by themselves. Instead, they be yelling “MOM!” in frustration and embarrassment. In 10 years they will be consumed with friends and crushes and what’s “cool.” In 10 years, I won’t be the center of their universe anymore. Maybe this shift will be gradual and maybe I won’t even realize it’s happening – but if you were to take away all of the madness and every single thing I despise about motherhood right now? I would be empty. I would long to hear those little voices, feel those snuggles, and to step on the million toys in my path.
So yes, I don’t want to be mother sometimes, and that’s OK to admit. I think it’s IMPORTANT to admit. Because 99% of the time? It’s EXACTLY what I want to be.