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Friday, October 16, 2009

Hey, it's your Self, Remember Me?

A long time ago we promised never to call each other Mom or Dad. I find that so weird and kind of incestuous. I watched the Duggar family the other day and her simpering, "Oh, Daddy!" made me throw up in my mouth just a little.

You get this title, Mom, once you get pregnant. Nurses in your prenatal clinic call you that. The Target checkout guy calls you Mom when you're buying a stroller or car seat. Strangers who have personal space issues call you mommy and touch your stomach, despite the maternity shirt that says "Back away from the Belly Button".

The name tag doesn't really get tattooed on, though, until you're holding that little squirming bit of joy in the hospital. And it's cemented forever, once you realize in the car on the way home that people are actually entrusting you with another human being. "Wait, wait, do you realize we're clueless?" I shouted as we pulled away from the curb of the hospital.

I've been a mom now for twelve years. I've had every version of the name thrust upon me, from the first babbled "Ma Ma Ma Ma" to the whiny, eye-rolling "Muhhhhhuooooooooooooooooooom" of middle school. The other day, though, this name slammed into me so furiously that I got weak and nearly lost my breath completely. Tired after dealing with the flu and no sleep and while picking up Young One's homework at school, I introduced myself as, "Mom."

Thud. Stare. Blinking eyes.

And then, thankfully...laughter. Through laughter induced tears, I reintroduced myself to the school secretary, Keeper of the Gate, Knower of all Things Academic and Not, Lord of the Hall Pass, Protector or the Phone Lines, and Shield to the Inner Sanctum of Deans and Principals.

She's "Mom" too and totally understood. Thank God it wasn't Dr. Principal. She probably would have been obligated to call child protective services.

I think I'm a late bloomer when it comes to carving out me time. My neighbors, who have two delightful adult children, have been going out on dates every Friday night for 37 years. I have friends who knit (and actually like it), take classes, and schedule massages. I know people who fit in work outs, book clubs, and volunteer work that has nothing to do with a PTA. I know a couple of stay at home moms that have cleaning ladies--go girl!

I have the same twenty four hours that they do? Why can't I fit me in? Because, wearing this mom name tag, taking care of the house, and being selfless has a price. You don't get weekends (think about it, what jobs do you do on the weekends that you don't do during the week). You work mostly fourteen hour days with no overtime, no lunch break, and no pay. Most of what you do goes unnoticed. It's yawn inducing, repetitive, go postal kind of work many days.

Looking at some old pictures the other day, I saw me again for the first time in a long time. And it felt like a door opened. Screaming, demanding, or just taking, I'm going to get time for me somehow.

Want to join me?


  1. Loved this post! Luckily I have a daughter who likes to clean, and sadly, from about the age 8, if we talked after school and I said "all I need to do tonight is to mop the kitchen floor and clean the bathroom."

    When I walked in the door, those chores would be done! And pretty sure I haven't done a stitch of her laundry from that age too!

    Your post reminded me of my daughter's first Christmas. She was almost 9 months old and I was making to and from tags. I wrote: To Hannah From Biz.

    I picked up another tag and was like "holy cow - I am a Mom!" And quickly scratched out Biz with Mom. Thank goodness she couldn't read yet! :D

  2. I have S L O W L Y been finding me. Not the old me (before I had kids I was 19 and I'm SO not going back there again :)But me now, the 34 year old mother of 3 who really is cool even when she has no kids with her!

    And Brian and I don't decline trips from his work anymore. And that time together has REALLY helped to set me out on my journey nowadays. Being away for a few days the first time showed me, that I was OK without my kids there EVERY minute of the day. I had never done that.

    JUST DO IT!!


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