When I was 5 years old I had big dreams for my life. I was going to be an astronaut or Queen of my own country. I remember around 3rd grade telling someone that I could be President if I wanted to be, but I’m choosing not to be because it doesn’t sound fun. Then around 15 years old I realized that all I wanted to be in life is a Mother. I know that is not a popular thing these days, to be “just” a mother. I never cared about trying to be CEO, VP or owning my own company. All I wanted was children, a loving home where I raised my children and I tucked them in at night. I would dream about what that would look like. Who would I marry? Where would we live? How many kids would we have? Boys or Girls? Here I am, with a loving husband and 2 beautiful, healthy kids; and for some reason it doesn’t feel like I’m living my dream.
Why is that? First off, I also had no idea about pregnancy sickness and that it could last 4 months long, or gaining 50 pounds and having cankles! If I were a celebrity I would have been called Shamu! Maybe I didn’t dream about waking up at 2am and again at 4:30am with a newborn for almost an entire year. I had no idea that once you had a healthy baby there is still a chance of endless doctor visits and appointments with specialist because your child isn’t developing the same as the average. I never thought I would slump to the level of wearing my pj’s out of the house, forgetting to brush my teeth (or shower). I always thought that if I was having a hard day or got sick, that my mom would show up and help, just like she did when I was young. I always imagined that my family life would look like the end of an episode of ‘Parenthood’. The family is always together, helping, talking, having fun, everyone shows up for a baseball game of one of the grandkids. But it seems like it’s always just me, the hubby and kids doing our own thing. Is this the new kind of family?
It seems like in this day and age of pressure for our kids to perform above average, we need family support more than ever. In preschool my daughter was tested to make sure she knows the entire alphabet, the sound each letter makes, count to 20, writes her first and last name (with a pencil, not pen), raising her hand and not shouting out, follows directions, socially engaging and playing nice with others, creating works of art during craft time, has an imagination and I can’t remember what else was discussed at the parent teacher conference. And this is all in the first month of preschool. I always thought this was what they learned in Kindergarten. And between all the dance, soccer, swim, gymnastics, drama class, extra curriculum building class, speech therapy, who has the time or energy to spend quality time together? Instead of living this fairy tale dream I had of what being a mom is supposed to look like, I find that I am always rushed, always late, always hungry, never showered, house is always messy, always stressed and worried about my kids and always tired!
So I had an epiphany the other day. Why don’t we take a lesson from our children? The other day I asked my 5 year old daughter to pick up her room. She answered in a polite voice saying, “I really don’t want to do that Mommy. It’s kinda boring.”. I couldn’t agree more! It is very boring to pick up and clean! It’s very boring to do the laundry! Of course I can’t blow off my responsibilities, I am an adult after all. But I can take a day off. I mean, an entire day off! I can forget I have laundry to do, forget about all the cleaning and dishes. And forget about what society thinks about me!!! I can turn my phone off and run around and have fun with my kids! After all, didn’t I want kids because I thought it would be fun?
I always thought that being an adult would be more fun than being a kid. I’m old enough to do whatever I want. I don’t have a mom or dad telling me what to do any more. I don’t have a list of chores or a report card. But here is the truth about being an adult. I can’t control what others do around me, so friends and family will let me down. I will have big disappointments in life. I will have heartache and cry. I will have expenses come up that I don’t have enough money to pay for. I will gain weight and my jeans won’t fit any more. But the biggest thing I want to teach my children is how to have fun! Enjoy the moment! Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do it perfect and just let go and laugh! Really laugh, like when you were a kid! Bend and break the rules! They are probably rules that YOU made anyway. Let’s enjoy life!