I love my kids. I love my husband. I love my job. I love my house. I love that I chose this life, this suburban lifestyle of the PTA, sports practices, carpooling, minivans, Saturday grocery shopping and all. But what I’m about to say here might surprise some. It might offend some. It might also smack some in the face like, “Holy crap I know exactly what she’s talking about.” Even though I love my life, there are moments when I don’t like it. Not the, hey-I’m-outta-here-I’m-moving-to-California-by-myself type of not liking it, just the holy-shit-I-would-love-just-one-day-in-my-house-by-myself-with-nothing-to-do. Sort of like how people look forward to a lunch break at work. I’m not saying check me out of this beautiful hectic life I’ve created. I’m saying I’d like a lunch break. Or a lunch day. Just some time to be a version of myself that I’m not.
I’m a mom. I became a mom at 23 which is pretty young. Most of my friends at that time were starting careers, going to grad school, travelling, buying first homes, planning big weddings, going to happy hour, and shopping for clothes that weren’t on sale. I did it a little differently. I got engaged, had a baby, planned a wedding, started my career, had baby #2, started grad school, bought a house, finished grad school, cut coupons, shopped only when things were on sale, and paid daycare–all by the age of 25. At an age when most people were figuring out who they were and what they wanted before having kids, I defined myself as a mother (which is the best version of myself) and made all other aspects of my life fit into that role. My husband and I didn’t take vacations together. Actually, we’ve haven’t taken a vacation together since 1999. We didn’t put a large portion of our salaries into a savings account–we paid daycare instead. I didn’t spend a Saturday afternoon at the mall–I went grocery shopping on Saturdays and bought clothing for myself at end-of-season sales only.
Fast forward from 23 to 33, and things are not exactly the same as they were in those earlier years, but in some ways they are. We introduced baby #3, still pay daycare (ugggghhhh), I still cut coupons, and we still live in the same house that was supposed to be our starter house. In all honesty, this is our home. This is it–and I’m totally fine with it, because this is our home. It is where we built our family and we’re staying even if it’s not the biggest or newest. I am able to shop for clothing at times other than end-of-season sales, but to be truthful I don’t like to. I’d rather just shop then because it’s easier. My house is still filled with noise. It’s so loud in here that there are moments when I can’t talk on the phone, hear one of my children asking me a question, or hold a conversation with my husband. It’s filled with noise from our three kids plus their friends. It’s filled with barking from our dog, the phone constantly ringing, and the TV that someone left on. It’s really really really loud in here. I’m also always filled with a large amount of guilt because I can’t give each of my children the same amount of attention because I’m being pulled in 5 different directions at once and the laundry needs to be done, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, and the living room needs to be vacuumed. Once I start a task I can’t finish it and it drives me nuts. My kids fight over what to watch on TV, who is going to play the Xbox, or who might get the last juice box. My kids fight because someone happened to walk into the same room as them. My kids fight just to fight. As soon as I sit down, someone needs something. If I don’t get up fast enough, it’s met with a chorus of “Moooommmmm, come ooonnnnnnn….” I have to write down on our family calendar, in large dark letters, the nights where I am going to my exercise class and I usually have to get a babysitter for them because my husband is out of town for work. (Oh yeah–throw that fun fact in there–I’m a single mom Tuesday through Friday of every week.) So even though I created and love this hectic, nonstop life, there are moments when I just want my lunch break. I would love to wake up and not have any responsibility. I would love to drink a cup of coffee (while it’s still hot) and read a book until I don’t feel like it anymore, go to the gym without it being an inconvenience, run to the mall and casually shop for clothes that aren’t on sale. I would love to put the dishes away and then the kitchen and living room stay clean. I would love to not hear fighting for a few hours. I would really love a lunch break.
Mainly I would love this lunch break so I can get back to my life and realize that this is me. This is the version of myself that I created at 23 and it’s the version of myself that I know and am comfortable with. This is a life that someone else might actually be envious of–but a lunch break is much needed because right now my daughter is crying, my oldest son is yelling at my youngest son, and my youngest son is whining that my older son is so mean to him. Instead of a lunch break, I’ll just jump in the shower and hope that by the time I get out the kitchen has magically cleaned itself and my kids are getting along. And tonight is family movie night with blankets, pillows, popcorn and snuggling and nothing is better than that.
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