In defense of misery…

As I hurried through the parking lot this morning with a lone salty drop of sweat trickling down the crease of my back, belt half-fastened and falling off my waist, a mass of frizzy curls tossed haphazardly into an ungodly bun atop my head, I couldn’t help but throw a little bit of mental shade to my two-year-old, whose last-minute need to tinkle in the potty before we made our way to grandma’s house threw us off schedule by two minutes, causing me to be 7 minutes late to work. At our house, every morning is a battle of coordinating three schedules, dressing, feeding and dealing with toddler independence. It’s a routine we are accustomed to, though it still has some kinks, and one that I find myself sometimes loving, hating and defending all in the same breath. At 25 years old, I’m simultaneously in the minority and majority of my peers, some of whom like me are mothers, partners (wives, girlfriends etc) and working women trying to make a way for their families – and the others, who while I’m turning my key in the ignition on the way to grandma’s with Spiderman fruit snacks stuck to the bottom of my shoe, are just turning theirs in the keyhole and are on their way to sleep off last night’s end-of-summer rendezvous.
As my social media networks love to bemoan, it seems like everyone has news of an engagement or baby shower coming up – I literally counted the number of pictures a girl I went to high school with had uploaded of her kid in the last week (the oh-so-important milestone of a first bath had to be photo documented for all) and it was over 15, which was a little annoying but spoke to the fact that despite returning to our old bedrooms with posters of our teenage crushes still looking at us with sultry eyes after college, despite the misguided YOLO campaign telling us to preserve our youth at all costs, our asses are GROWING UP. It amazes me when people stay stuff like “DAMN everybody’s pregnant or getting married!” and are actually shocked – what the hell did you think people were supposed to do in their mid-20s?
When I was little, I had a plan in my head that by 30, I was going to be done with law school, married, have one child, and be on my way to the Supreme Court. In the years since, my career aspirations have changed, but the rest of my family-related goals are on point. My fiancé and I have one son and are planning a wedding for summer 2014. While we have the support and encouragement of so many, there have been others who in their own quiet ways let me know how much they pity my drab, miserable existence. In one breath praising our parenting and marveling at the intelligent, polite, energetic ball of spunk we call our son, they also expressly claim how they simply CANNOT imagine not being able to sleep past 11am on Saturdays and having to think about someone else’s entire range of needs over their own for the next two decades. While they admire my ability to juggle work and home and maintain some semblance of a social life, within the “You go girl” is a hidden “poor thing” that I can’t say isn’t a tad bit accurate.
Being perfectly honest, mother/wifehood is hard work. There are days when I just want to be by myself with my thoughts, not being called on to kiss a knee scrape or be a headrest for a football game, times when I want to relish in the state of having nothing to do and not being accountable for anything. On the other side of that, I get so much joy from just being with my guys in our natural comfort zone, at home or out together, because we have a ball together, just the three of us. I genuinely love cooking for them and watching them enjoy my latest creation or an old favorite. I like being able to go to a party at a club or wherever and know that I don’t have to save some man’s number in my phone as DO NOT ANSWER because I came with my dancing partner, drink-buyer and groove getter. It’s GREAT to be able to roll over and throw my leg across his strong thigh in the middle of the night, or to listen to his wild dreams in the morning and laugh about it. And there’s no better feeling after a long day of bullshit than to nestle my nose in the crook of my son’s neck and breathe deeply as he whispers “I love you mommy” before I turn off his light. Sure, I’m exhausted by the time I close the door and face the kitchen that needs to be cleaned from dinner, the carpet that has to be vacuumed because two-year-olds and cornbread are recipes for disaster, or the applications to better-paying jobs that I need to fill out. Every now and then I’d like to leave work, go to happy hour and return home at 9pm sloshed instead of bolting out the door at 5:30p on the dot to get home and prepare meat defrosted overnight and seasoned by my half-asleep hands at 6:15a.
But life doesn’t work that way. The cards we are dealt — or the ones we pick up ourselves and try to rearrange after the deck has fallen all over the floor — are those we must play in order to keep ourselves in the game of life. I, for one, am glad to be out of the rat race dating game where I have to wonder whether or not my “HIM” was referring to me in that last tweet or his “HER,” whose instagram page I’ve had my girls and even one of my guys stalk to find out what’s so special that I couldn’t get a call back. The point I’m trying to make is that in marriage/relationships, commitment is not always the terrible burden people make it out to be. The fulfillment of being mature enough to handle responsibility far outweighs the need to be “free” to do the dumb shit 20-somethings like to get themselves into. It’s fine to be #teamsingle #teamnokids, but don’t make it seem like those of us on #teammom #teamwife #teamgirlfriend are pitiful shells of women whose only function is to be there for everyone else.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ariana
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 15:42:53

    Our generation has become largely selfish and grounded in pure vanity. Everything is about what they’re doing, where they’re going, what they’re eating, what they’re wearing.. etc. It’s difficult to find someone who wants to invest time into another and watch that investment grow. There are so many broken families, broken hearts, broken relationships and deteriorated mindsets that it’s becoming increasingly clear that many people will never know the joy and satisfaction you’re experiencing. Those are the ones I pity.

    Reply

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