Thursday, March 5, 2009

Did my children ruin my life?

My husband accused me of acting like my children have ruined my life. This was because I was less than enthusiastic about dragging them to an art opening around the same time as their bedtime. Honey, I'm not trying to paint you as a jerk here, but I know you. You will want to chat people up and make connections and hob-nob, and what kind of impression will a slightly strung out wild woman who keeps threatening her children with no more princess anything unless you stop touching that way over priced piece of crap (wait... is that a toilet? On the wall?) SO HELP ME GOD, make to the artist community of Dubuque? And then you suggest that I find a sitter. We argue about who called and ordered the pizza last time (I did, by the way), now I get to find a sitter. I did call by the way, no answer, I will try again, maybe they are on the internet.

As I talked to my good friend T yesterday and she lamented that she felt like a slave to breastfeeding and diaper changes, memories of this feeling for me came rushing back. My husband, on our trip to Glacier National Park when Addie was 2 months old, in the cabin, holding up 2 beers (which were not for me) while Addie was strapped to him in the baby Bjorn, proclaiming "Don't let kids slow you down!" and we intended to prove it. And then the frustration with feeling like I was slowed down and strapped to my baby when everyone else got to go on the hike to Grinnell and I had to stay behind because she needed to eat and I couldn't pump enough. You may think feeling upset about this makes me a bad mommy, but I couldn't help but feel jealous, resentful and upset. And maybe you don't have kids yet.

But kids haven't slowed us down, just changed our course. I was driving back from work, ready to pick up my two angels from the sitter, and I was thinking back to LBK (life before kids). What in the world did I do with myself? Besides eat, sleep and shave more, I must have wasted an enormous amount of time. I must have been very selfish with my time. We traveled then, we travel now. We took in culture then, we take in culture now. We put family first, we still put family first.

My children haven't ruined my life, it seems so different now and I can't think what it would be like without them. Having Addie brought us closer to each other, and to our family out east. I think of the Silvas and how our relationship changed with them, from landlord and tenants to Meme and Pepe. And Emily, extra diapers aside, she is such a big factor to what brought us closer to our family here. I play more and am less serious because of my kids. Motherhood, not teaching, is the hardest job you could ever LOVE!

And I heard those baby squeaks over the phone. And I flashed back to when my girls where so small (well, for them) and how they looked and smelled and smiled and cooed and cried and slept. And if I weren't such a "responsible" adult I would be wanting another one RIGHT NOW! But of course I don't. (maybe... NO, really, later...)

Now my children are in challenging yet fun ages. Emily has a sense of humor, and plays games, and belly laughs, and inhales her food, and does tricks like pulling herself up and eating little fuzz balls off the floor. Addie does things by herself, like take clothes off and puts them on, gets on the potty, uses it, flushes and washes her hands all by herself! She also drinks from a normal cup and counts things like puffs that she feeds to her baby sister, all by herself. And, the best part of all is she says "I love you" with a huge hug without prompting. How cool is that? It's better than that first time your husband told you he loved you, because this is your child that's doing it.

So although my kids drive me crazy I am crazy in love with them and they have made my life better because they give it a purpose. I'm not in it for myself, but for my kids. And that selflessness makes me a better person and spreads love all around.

So kids didn't ruin my life, they changed it for the better. Now, I need to go play!


carrie said...

that's a nice post! it's so true!

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Very true. Children should enhance your life, not RULE your life.