I had dinner in the city the other night with one of the greatest women on earth: my best friend, E. You know the kind of friend who you used to talk to ever hour on the hour, but life caught up with you and now you go months and months… but THEN, you see each other for dinner and could- literally- sit there for days laughing and catching up and it’s like a minute ago that you were all let’s hangout every freakin’ night? Well she’s THAT kind of a friend. And I love her in a moderately obsessive way. (All pictures are cropped to theoretically protect her identity. Maybe.)
One day maybe I’ll write a post about her and our friendship, but I need to clear that and have her sign a waiver that allows me to write more about her on the world wide web. (As a successful and gainfully employed mom, probably the sort of thing she’d have an opinion about…)
Amidst our Sauvignon blanc and lightening round summary of what’s happened since we last saw each other, she asked how things were in the suburbs and, specifically, what was I doing for mySELF. I may have mumbled and excused myself to the ladies room in lieu of a real response. This is the moment when this post gets cheesy and you can cue a soft melody to play in the background, but I suspect this is also a moment when many of you might pause to answer the same question.
Raise your hand if you’re a parent of young children. Okay, hands down. Now raise your hand if you think about yourself nearly as much as you did when you were, say, 25. Okay, hands down. Lastly, raise your hand if you have time in your day/ week/ month to pursue or spend time on something that really challenges and fulfills you.
I raised my hand for the first question, not for the second, and sort of waffled on the hand raise for the third question. You?
I’ve been muddling this over since our dinner. I have the defensive answer: right now I’m running around taking care of three small children and there’s just not time for me to think about my dreams and wishes. I have the martyr answer: being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had and that’s the deal. I have the analytical answer: children grow so fast that for a few years of my life, I will be tending to them, but as they get older I’ll find more time to pursue my own interests.
But I haven’t necessarily found the right answer. I love all the creativity and projects and crafts that are in my life nowadays. In a sense, this could be my thing. But it might not be my THANG, if you know what I mean. I love being a mom, but it’s hard to argue that being a mom is anything I do for myself. Writing this blog? Could be. I used to paint. I would love to read more. Oh, and that little thing previously known as my counseling career. The question remains, what am I doing for mySELF?
Long story short… I’m thinking I don’t have an answer to E’s question. I’m precariously close to the stereotype sitcoms are made of: harried mom in her minivan, can’t remember the last time she’s showered, throw up on her shirt, children screaming for a lollipop at the checkout counter of the drug store, using phrases like, “how many times do I have to tell you this”…. the very identity I feared most when I started having kids. But I needed a kick in the pants to remember there’s a lot below the tip of this harried ol’ iceberg and it’s up to me to keep exploring it all.
As much as I love my kids and I love being a mom and I love being a wife and I’m coming around to this suburbs place, I think it’s important for ALL of us to have an answer to E’s question: what are you doing for yourSELF?
The floor is yours, folks!
p.s. This last picture is only to prove that when I’m with E, I’m a much cooler individual: yep, that’s Mick Jagger- we were that close to him. He’s smaller in person.