I read somewhere that if those of us who are parents were honest about how much work it is to be a parent, others would be less likely to have children. I’m inclined to think that might be true. Most of the time the conversations about parenthood focus on the joys, the moments that are priceless and the reasons why we should savor every moment. No one really ever talks about the dark side of being a parent. More to the point, no one talks about the dark side of being a SAHM.
I should start by saying that I do love my daughter more than words could ever say and that I do love being a mom and stepmom. I know how important this job is and I know that I am blessed. That doesn’t mean that there are not down sides to the job and that some days I have to remind myself that I am blessed.
Yesterday would be a prime example of a day when I needed reminding. I took Gwen to our town’s library for Preschool Story Time, then to McDonald’s for lunch and then we ran a few errands. Gwen did not want to leave the library when story time was over. She did not want to leave McDonald’s even though we had been there for nearly 90 minutes. As the icing on the cake, she was determined to touch everything on the shelves at Dollar General and respond as if I were speaking a foreign language. The last errand on the list was shelved until tomorrow.
By the time we were on our way home and she was fast asleep in her car seat, I was just thankful that she was sleeping. I was grateful for a few moments of peace. And when we reached our home, I transferred her to the bed and laid on the couch. I knew there were things that needed to be done. This blog needed my attention. Areas of my house needed my attention. Dinner needed to be started. I did NOT care. At that moment in time, I needed to lay on that couch, close my eyes and take a few minutes for Mommy.
The moments did not last long. It was not fifteen minutes before my husband was walking in the door from work. Sanity break over and time to start moving again. That is the part that no one tells you. Motherhood is basically an agreement to give a large amount of control of your life away. It may be given willingly and the blessings you receive in return are plentiful. Still, I do believe that every mom has those moments when they think that just five minutes alone would be a slice of heaven. These five minutes might be spent in the most mundane ways. Somehow taking a shower, using the bathroom in private and in peace, or reading a magazine article have become luxuries. So many details that I took for granted, first as a single woman and next as a married woman, cannot be taken for granted any longer.
The crazy part is not that I wish for the five minutes of peace. The crazy part is that when Gwen spends the night with her grandparents or goes to run errands with her Daddy, I am lost. Even on those days when she is testing out the boundaries of being three, she is my favorite person. Even on days fraught with her exertions of independence, she can bring a smile to my face like no one can. I imagine that is how every mother feels about their child. It is why we talk about the joys of parenthood and not the stress. In this case, the good does outweigh the rest.