This shirt represents a lot. It’s time to say goodbye to many things in my life and this shirt is a symbol of those things. I’ve been a jeans and t-shirt mom for 24 years. I’ve raised two absolutely amazing daughters who I am so incredibly proud of. I also have a thirteen year old son and an eleven year old daughter who are just wonderful little human beings. I’ve given all of my adult life to them.
But (isn’t there always a but?) I have put them before me. This is normal as a mom. This is what we do. We put our children before us, most times before our spouses, too. The kids don’t need me as much any more. I’m only 44 and still have a lot of life left in me. It’s time to focus a little (okay, a lot) on me.
I’m tired of being a frumpy mom. I’m tired of being a lazy housewife. Yes, laundry gets done, dishes get washed (most of the time), dinners are made, blah, blah, blah…but I do the bare minimum. I can blame my ADD but I know how to conquer that I don’t want to live that life anymore. I want to live more. I want to do more.
So, goodbye grubby shirt. Goodbye lazy life. It’s going to take some time and there will be ups and downs, but (there’s that but again!), hello new me!
I had to share this…
Mothers, your souls deserve more.
I had an appointment today with my OB/GYN. (Nope, not pregnant- I’m well beyond child bearing years.)
With me in the waiting room sat a couple- clearly eager first time parents- flipping through pregnancy magazines and looking anxious and excited. When I got to my exam room, I realized they were in the room right next to mine, as I could hear their muffled voices and nervous laughter.
And then I heard the most magical sound in the world.
Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump.
It was the loud and unmistakable sound of their baby’s heartbeat coming through on the fetal doppler.
As I listened, I took a deep breath filled with gratitude that I was once lucky enough to hear that sound from my own womb, then I smiled- remembering how 20 years ago I first heard the sound of that sweet beat, and how it filled my soul like nothing else had before. It filled my soul with instant and immeasurable joy.
And then in a split second my smile faded, replaced with a frown and thoughts of all the soul crushing things that modern mothering has in store for that first time mom in the room next to mine.
That how raising a child these days- days full of sanctimonious social media and ever vigilant mom shaming-of being under the scrutinizing and suffocating microscope of anyone and everyone- is going to crush her spirit and her soul.
That joyful sound will soon be a distant memory, replaced with this…
Gained more than 25 pounds during your pregnancy? You’ll never lose it fatty.
Had a labor full of complications or a c-section? Your body failed you, and your baby.
Formula fed? Baby will have low I.Q. and be sick all the time.
Breastfed for only six weeks? Quitter.
Nursed into toddlerhood? Freak.
Back to work? Neglectful.
Staying home? No ambition.
Boxed mac and cheese? Poison giver.
Homemade mac and cheese? Obnoxious overachiever.
TV watcher? Tablet user? Ignorant. Both you and your preschooler.
Private school? Elitist.
Homeschooler? Religious nut, unsocialized kids.
Public school? Oh, I get it. You’re average.
Raising an atheist? You’re going to hell.
Raising a Christian? Family of bigots.
Raising a Republican? Blasphemy.
Raising a Democrat? Are you insane?
Kid playing outside alone? I’m calling the police.
Kid never allowed to leave the house? I’m calling child protective services.
No sports? Your kid will never be able to compete in life.
Traveling sports teams? Waste of money.
Piano? Dance? Cheer? Scouts? Brownies? Your kids are overscheduled neurotics.
Do your kids laundry, make their breakfast, and pack their lunches? You’re raising incompetent future adults.
Don’t do anything for your kids? Selfish.
Low standardized test scores? Your kid has no future.
High standardized test scores? Your kids will arrive at college depressed and burnt out.
Zero extracurriculars? Yea, good luck with college applications.
15 AP courses, president of everything, headed to Ivy League? Give me a freakin’ break.
Regular classes, 3.0 GPA, state school? Your kid is totally screwed.
Community college? Why bother.
And just like that, SOUL. SUCKED.
Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump.
Hey first time mom in the next room, mom who just had a baby, mom who has a house full of diaper clad toddlers, mom who will have a first time kindergartener in a few weeks, mom with school aged kids, and the mom who is getting ready to embrace the final years of high school or send a kid off to college- please remember one thing for me…
Remember that sound of your baby’s heartbeat.
Then remember it’s YOUR baby’s heartbeat, not society’s baby, or social media’s baby, or some parenting study’s baby.
Remember it’s YOUR baby, toddler, child, young adult, and college student.
Don’t let the motherhood soul suckers of the world take away one second of your joy of mothering. Not one single second.
You are the mom. Period.
You made that damn heartbeat (or had the privilege of adopting it), so you get to raise it, the way YOU want to raise it.
It’s time to get your mothering joy back, deep in your souls. Start now.
Share this and let’s all get our joy back.
One thump at a time.
**Fantastic words by the lovely Melissa Fenton.
I stopped by my daughter’s classroom this afternoon to see when a project was due. The teacher told me a packet went home with all of the information. I was honest and told her I didn’t read it. If there’s something I need to know, she usually tells me.
This got me thinking. When my oldest two daughters were in school, I read every single paper that came home, signed every single test, checked their binders every day and made their lunches the night before. I remembered and went to every parent conference. I volunteered over 5,000 hours in three years, was the Volunteer Coordinator for a year and PTO president for two years. I was under 30. I was an awesome mom.
The two younger kids came along when I was 30 and 33. By the time the youngest went to kindergarten, I’d just survived a year with three kids at three different schools and my oldest was a senior in high school preparing to leave for college the following summer. Having a kindergartner and senior makes for a very emotional year. The first two years of my second go round having two kids in elementary school went pretty well. I walked them to their classrooms every day, walked to pick them up after, remembered to sign binders 85% of the time and made sure their “buddies” checked their binders (when you have four kids with a seven year break in the middle, you learn to assign buddies to make sure no one gets lost and is fully dressed before leaving the house). I was under 40. I was a pretty good mom.
I realized today, that I’ve gotten lazy with the younger two. My son is homeschooled so I kinda have to know how he’s doing. Thankfully there are no papers or binders to sign, no report cards or parent conferences. My youngest daughter is 10 and headed to middle school next year (WTF?!?!?!). I can’t remember the last time I checked her backpack, signed her binder, looked at her report card (unless glancing over it while driving counts). But she gets her stuff done on time and like her teacher pointed out after my confession, at least she’ll be independent. I’m over 40. I’m an okay mom.