Death of Self
Death of self.
That would be the title of chapter three if I were to write a book called, “Motherhood: The Early Years.” Would chapter one be called “Unexplainable Joy” and chapter two “My New Loves”? Yes, most definitely! But it’s the “death of self” chapter that really surprises you. (The picture above may be a little over dramatic, but that’s how it feels some days!)
Before kids, I was footloose and fancy free. I could come and go as I please. I could jump out of the car and make silly little stops based on thoughts like, “I want a sweet treat, so I’m going to run into 7-11 and buy me a donut.” I could run into Starbucks and grab a quick grande vanilla cappuccino.
Before kids, I could have hobbies that took up all my time. I could work endlessly on whatever projects I wanted to complete. I could take a hike with my friends, unplanned, just because the weather was nice and I felt like being outside. I could sit back and watch endless hours of my favorite shows or movies. I could just be me. I could do WHATEVER I wanted, WHENEVER I wanted.
Going to the movies? I’ll go! Wanna have dinner at that new restaurant? Okay, I’ll be there. But not now.
Now, everything revolves around the kids. EVERYTHING. What am I watching on tv? Cartoons. All the time. Is that donut at 7-11 really worth dragging two kids and their toy of the day out of the car just to turn right back around sixty seconds later and buckle them back in? No, not most of the time. Is that grande vanilla cappuccino at Starbucks worth it? Yes, every time! But I also have to buy two chocolate milks and two cake pops, in which one will not get eaten because my daughter doesn’t like them but she has to have one because her brother does. (Please don’t judge me, I’m tired and I don’t want to fight with her.)
Wanna come hang out? No, that’s their nap time. How about later? No, that’s their bedtime.
It’s hard to understand before you have kids because you take every thought and action that you currently are allowed to have for granted. But now, I struggle to have my own thoughts because they’re constantly being interrupted by screaming, arguing, crying, and sweet words like “Mommy, mom, mom, mommy, mom,mom,mom” ….Yes? ….“You’re wearing a blue shirt.”
Trying to pursue my own interests is even harder. Carving out twenty minutes in my day where I won’t be interrupted is only made possible by making sure their favorite cartoon is on and they are loaded up with snacks in the same color bowls so they won’t fight about who got the green one. If I don’t do this, things will get bad REAL FAST. All of a sudden the dog has escaped the house, a toy explosion hit the living room, the refrigerator is open, all the toys from upstairs have made their way downstairs, children are running around naked…and it doesn’t take long.
I am the captain of a ship now. I am not a lone kayaker. I have to be at the helm. At least until my husband comes home and then he takes over. Are you laughing yet? That was a joke. (I’m not complaining because we’re co-captains and he’s at the helm of the garden, trash, home repairs, the basement, general outdoor maintenance, among many other things.)
Like I said, I’m the captain of a ship. And the crew gets restless and they need constant direction and teaching and snacks and conversation (Yes, it is a beautiful day honey) and orders and hugs and kisses and books read to them (the same ones over and over) and cartoon channels changed for them and snacks and discipline and clothing put on them and messes wiped up (that’s chapter four) and outside time (so they don’t look pale) and baths (or at least pool time) and craft time (because I have a Martha Stewart complex) and I could go on and on.
At this stage of life, there just isn’t too much time left over for me. But it’s only a stage. A season of life. And I know as they grow older, I’ll have more time for me and that then…. I probably won’t want it. I’ll want all these times back that I have right now. When it’s all about them.