I can’t be the only one.
In fact, I know I’m not.
I recently had an impromptu conversation with a coworker (it began inside the women’s restroom because that’s where all thought-provoking conversations happen at work, right?) about how strange our lives are right now. How we both have everything we ever thought we wanted – a beautiful marriage (more on that later), beautiful home, beautiful and healthy children, successful careers – literally everything. But this is not at all how we pictured it would go down.
It’s almost like I woke up one day overwhelmed by all the responsibility that comes with being a grown up.
Take last week, for example, when I discovered my 4-year-old somehow got out of JoAnn Fabric with a spinning, light-up Elsa toy that I didn’t buy. I didn’t even notice he had it until I’d already buckled in the other two kids. The baby was crying – it was past her bedtime – and we had to get home. So I made the split-second decision: locked them all in the car, ran inside, threw the flashlight at the cashier while yelling that my son accidentally stole it and I was sorry, then ran back out. Who does that?
Or there was the cookout with friends last Saturday when the 4-year-old stole the nightlight remote control belonging to my friend’s son. It was the first time our kids had met and we really thought they hit it off great until we got home and found the remote in his pocket. Are you freaking kidding me? I made him go back the next day and apologize to the other little boy face-to-face
Then there’s the 3-year-old who can’t stay in bed at night to save his life. His belly hurts. He’s thirsty. He has to go potty. Again. His finger hurts. His toe hurts. His TOE!!! WHAT?!?! Is it too much to ask to have all my kids asleep for the night by 9 p.m.? Especially when I’m putting them to bed by myself 12 nights a month.
There’s also the big “oops” that happened in April. Oops as in I screwed up some dates and accidentally got pregnant. Yep, the one pregnancy test hiding under my bathroom counter that somehow hadn’t been thrown away gave me an undeniable positive that Friday morning. I know, I know… insert your eye rolls here, call me stupid, do whatever. But it happened. And both my husband and I freaked out. FREAKED.
Another kid in daycare? We can’t afford that!
Where will it sleep?
This is going to destroy our marriage.
How did this happen? (I’ll spare you those details…)
But couple that little surprise with some other stressful situations going on behind the scenes, and I ended up miscarrying at 6 ½ weeks. The irony has been tough to wrap my head around. I’ve been pregnant 8 times in the past 5 years… and once again, it wasn’t meant to be. Is it wrong that I felt relieved? What a strange shift in thoughts and emotions from where I was just two years ago. And TRUST ME when I write there will be no more date mess ups. Even if it means Mr. Frisky sleeps on the couch.
Speaking of the Mister… people tried telling us marriage was hard work. You hear it all the time when you’re about to get married. But when you’re 23 and blinded by the thought of the rest of a blissful forever with someone you love, you don’t really listen. You don’t get it. You don’t know to ask questions like, “How did you survive parenting toddlers when you both worked full time?” or “How did you manage to put money into savings and retirement AND stay out of debt while still taking awesome family vacations each year?”
Right now, I get a bit frustrated when friends with no children post things on social media like #marriageiseasy and We’ve only been married 6 months but it feels like 60 years and I’m still so in love.
Give it some time, honey. A few doses of real life and real bills. Real stress. Because right now you have no children. You work. You go to the gym (at a decent hour). You go out on fun date nights on a whim. You get 10 freaking hours of uninterrupted sleep if you want it. You don’t have stretch marks and stretched out skin. You don’t hand over massive chunks of your paycheck to daycare. You pee and shower alone. ALONE. That is everything.
Please don’t misunderstand where I’m coming from. I’m not jealous of young (or more mature) married couples without kids. I don’t want their lives or their problems. But sometimes I do want a break from my own. I want to sleep in past 6 a.m. on the weekends and be able to stay awake at night to watch normal TV shows and movies. I want to spend money we don’t have… to buy cute workout clothes so I don’t have to wash the same 2 pairs of running pants every other day. I want to finish our basement we’re slooooowwwwlly working on because we’ve paid cash every step of the way. I want to take a damn vacation somewhere warm and beautiful.
I’m not sure when I grew up or how I got here. 31 is everything I pictured and everything I didn’t at the same time. But I also know two facts about this super weird phase of life we’re in: it doesn’t last forever and I’m not alone.
I feel so relieved when I see and hear other moms open up about their struggles because it gives me a sense of normalcy. I know their kids steal crap from stores and get in fights at school too (my 4-year-old punched a kid last month because of a disagreement over a puzzle). I know their marriages are a lot more work than they ever expected.
So to the moms (and my friends) keeping it real in social media land and at work and the gym… THANK YOU. Thanks for your honesty about the strangeness in your lives. How your kid didn’t sleep last night and you completely lost your shit because of it. How you ripped your husband’s head off for no reason and now you need to go home and apologize. How you just really want to curl up and hide somewhere the kids will never find you. Thank you for understanding when I tell you I just need a flipping piece (or five) of chocolate.
There’s a quote out there I love… “I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. Then you would know just how amazing you are.”
Except for that one mom who always acts like she has it all together. We all know she’s faking it anyway.
I'm a mom to 3 beautiful, spirited, elementary school-aged humans, I'm addicted to running + strength training, I have no filter & I work full time in the corporate world. But behind the scenes of all that is where it really gets interesting...