For most of my life, all I ever wanted to be was a mom. Moms got to be home all day, perfecting things around the house. Moms got to watch soap operas while folding laundry. Moms conjured up dinner and disappeared the aftermath like magic. Moms got to tap away at her typewriter in the basement and get paid for it. Moms got to take you to the beach or the park or the ice rink and not worry (perhaps even be happy) about it. Moms were always there if you needed them. Moms got to live the life!
Maybe it's because my mom made it seem relatively easy when I was young and impressionable. Maybe it's because I didn't pay attention to her hardships. Maybe it's because I was cocky. Maybe it's because we've made childhood so complicated for both parents and our kids.
Whatever the reason, I have come to find that motherhood is not at all what I once imagined it to be. Mea culpa! Motherhood is a lot fucking harder than I ever imagined it would be.
What's worse, I find that I am a lot less happy doing motherhood than I would have ever imagined. I'm worried all of the time about my kids: about their behavior, about their character, about their performance in school, about their performance in extracurricular activities, oh and about keeping them happy, healthy, relatively unharmed, and, like, alive, or something. It's a wonder I have any time left over to not worry!
It comes as no surprise to me, then, that now I've begun to worry about my unhappiness and how it's impacting my kids. I see other moms who seem so much happier than me and look at their kids who seem so much happier than mine and I wonder: "why can't that be me, us? Why, when I get to do exactly what I always wanted, am I so damned unhappy, anyway?"
My mom always talks about how I was a happy baby, a happy child. Recently I made some snide comment to her about how that happiness is dead and buried. So she asked me why, what happened? What's a cynic to say, but: "life, Mom. Life happened to me." Sigh.
But somewhere along the way, life did chip away at my happiness and for the love of myself and my children, I have got to figure out how to get it back. Because maybe if they can start to see me happy, we can all start worrying a lot less.