Recently, I traveled to Houston Texas to watch my college alma mater win the national championship basketball game. It was such a spur of the moment, last-minute idea that my husband had. He made me go. “It is once in a lifetime,” he said. I was like, “well what about the kids? Who is going to take the girls to dance class, and to CCD, and what about the book fair?”
“It will work out,” he said. “It always does.”
Well yes, if you spend hours on the phone coordinating. Well then yes, it always does.
And it did.
But, when we got there, I felt like me, the real me. It is so easy to lose yourself in this parenting world, especially with small children. “Who am I? I don’t even know who I am anymore,” is what I said to him 3 days prior. And then I went, and then I saw. This memory keeps me feeling warm and fuzzy, especially when I’m in the car with my one year old. She cries in the car. She will be fine for a solid 20 minutes, but anything above, it is like someone ripped out her heart on stomped on it, crying for dear life.
Can we just….please……
I have a hard time singing nursery rhymes to make it stop. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But, I just feel like I’m over the nursery rhyme phase. Like I locked it in a box with a big red X on it and put a chain around it for safekeeping. DO NOT go back in there. It means you get lost to regular music, current events, and life as we know it. It means you wear buns on the top of your head and carry random cheese sticks and snack packs in your purse. It all goes hand in hand, nursery rhymes and cheese sticks.
It definitely doesn’t feel like college anymore. But then, what does? Life moves on. We have to be adults, I guess.
I’ll never forget when I was pregnant with my third and some random guy in the deli said, “This is your third?? The third put my wife over the edge.” I honestly think about him often. Scratch that, I honestly curse him often, especially as I’m making my other two daughters sing nursery rhymes to the baby on our 2 hour drive. My 4 year old will say, “I have to sing it just like this so that she won’t cry, not too loud or too soft.” I’m glad she knows the magic touch because I’m in the front seat, holding on for dear life…literally and figuratively. Screw you damn deli guy. You got in my head. SING THE ITSY BITSY SPIDER NOW!!!!!
I’m not going to go ahead and say, “The third kid put me over the edge,” because who wants to make that bold, unappealing statement. It is not the truth for all of life with three kids. It is definitely true for moments. But, I will say that I am at a point where I’m not me and I have limited time and fun. You can’t be you, when you are chasing a one year old around, saving her from disasters 40,000 times a day. You can’t be you when you have half, one-eyed conversations. You can’t be you when somehow you catch every sickness that your children had this winter/early spring. I mean, the only reason why I can write now is because I have the stomach bug. No joke. I’m eating dry toast and sipping Gatorade.
You can only truly be you, when you have a moment to yourself; when you do something that you love and that fills your soul. Don’t get me wrong, my children feed my soul. I love family things. I love spending time together and seeing them shine. I love raising them to have their own lives. But remember, we still have to have ours…
I had my shining moment in Houston. It made me remember who I am at the core. And when I curse the deli guy for getting in my head, I will try and replace it with words and people who say, “You are doing a great job.” And when I lose myself for a second, I will try and remember that parenting does not define us, we define who we are, not by one thing but by every single thing. We are not just parents. We are everything.
So we push forward.
Nobody ever said it would be easy.
Noreen Heffernan, Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies.