When I was younger, I made a lot of assumptions about how my life would be when I became older and had kids – as one does. And I’m not talking about the typical, “my kid will eat organic weeds only and never drink anything but oxygenated water from Fiji” normal assumptions. I’m talking about the normal adult stuff – like I won’t worry about money. We will have a nice clean house and take vacations all the time and live our lives like a Polo ad. Or maybe it was Tommy Hilfiger ad … I’m an old millennial.
Either way, it’s laughable now.
Vacations are fun but new tires don’t pay for themselves. And someone :glares at husband: needs another crown. Money doesn’t just appear in my bank account each month by magic – I mean it does but it’s because I work really hard to make sure it gets there.
I also assumed when I was older that things would be simple. Easy, even.
Oh, you young fool.
Motherhood is honestly just a lesson in contradictions – one after the other. Which can be confusing and unstable – but also real and fun. Accepting the contradictions are part of the journey, I think.
So, here are a list of my most recurring contradictions in no apparent order:
1. I want to lose weight. But I also love ice cream.
Look. My weight has been a lifelong struggle. I know it’s a mindset thing and maybe one day I will be able to get in the right headspace to take it on like I did in college – but for now, I’m pretty easily swayed by new flavors of Blue Bell and Talenti gelato.
2. I love that the neighborhood kids come over to play. But I also don’t.
I always envisioned our house bustling with activity with friends coming in and out. And some days, it’s exactly like that. But now that it has come to pass, I realize that my days of wandering the house bra-less and in my comfy sweats are over. Dashing into the kitchen to find a top is done. I never know when a 7 year old boy is going to pop over to play with my son. And I find that I have a difficult time asking them to leave.
3. I hate that my kid is in childcare all day but I also love it.
I had a difficult time going back to work and leaving my first son in daycare all day. But I LOVE to work – it is very much a part of my identity. I have always loved to work and I have a very difficult time not working – even on the weekends when I try to relax. When I’m at work, I miss my kids all day but I really love what I do. And I am so lucky that we found a daycare that I love, they love and they both thrive in.
4. Mom friends are awesome but they are really hard to find.
This isn’t really a contradiction – I realize that. So don’t report me to the blog police, but I didn’t know how best to phrase this one. I LOVE my mom friends. I didn’t have any for so long so I really treasure our relationships. But you guys? It’s REALLY hard to make mom friends. And I don’t understand it, really. Because every mom I know LOVES their mom friends and has also stressed how hard it is to find your people. If we are all wanting to find friends -why is this so hard? We need to be more inclusive with one another – especially at school events. I now assume when a mom is standing off to the side on her phone, she isn’t being standoff-ish, she probably doesn’t know anyone so I will go talk to her. And if I’m wrong and she tells me to eff right off, well that’s ok too.
5. Kids are literally the best but they also are kind of the worst.
Ah, the ultimate contradiction. I SUPER love my children but, my God, was I unprepared for how challenging they can be. My husband said it best – our kids have some of our best features but they also have the very worst parts about us. And seeing our worst traits amplified through the lens of youth is extremely off-putting. My oldest does not like when plans change when we are out running an errand. This frustrates my husband to no end, but when I point out that he is very much the same way, he realized that he got so frustrated because his disdain of change is something he does not like about himself so managing it through our son is difficult for him.
There are many more – but these are probably the most common refrain, at least in my life. I didn’t realize you can be two things at one time. But that’s basically what motherhood is – you’re a mom but you’re a person. And those two things can sometimes be wondrously in sync or woefully off balance.