Caryn: So not long ago, I spoke to a MOPS group in south suburban Chicago. Incidentally, they had THE BEST brunch of any MOPS I’d ever seen. Like good Lutheran cookbook fare–egg casseroles, stuffed French toast, muffins. Not a healthy thing in sight. Even the fruit either had caramel dip or was dipped in chocolate. I loved this group. Totally my kind of women. I’d say who they were, but I’m about to write about one of the women there, so I thought I need to keep it vague. But seriously, if anyone from MOPS International is reading this, email me. You need to award these women for food.
But anyway, this was a great group for more reasons than just food. So after my talk, I stuck around to join in the discussion (okay, and to get another serving of egg casserole) at one of the tables. Since this was one of my Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. talks, a couple of the discussion questions were identity-tapping ones: What gets you jazzed or all fired up? And what gets you out of bed in the morning?
After we all joked that it was those darned kids who got us out of bed, we went around and spoke seriously of what sorts of things we look forward to in our days. Until we got to one woman. She said honestly, she couldn’t think of one thing that she looked forward to about her day. It wasn’t that she disliked her days—and she said she wasn’t depressed or anything—but that they just sort of streamed together. Nothing great, nothing terrible.
This made me very, very sad. I can’t stop thinking about her. Because I gotta say, as crazy as my life feels most days and as much as I’m NEVER ready to get out of bed in the morning (those darned kids!), on any given day, I have plenty to look forward to (and I lot that I don’t). Honestly, I think my days are filled with a lot of great, a lot of terrible, and some “bleh.” But I like my life like that. I mean, I whine a lot about it, but really I think the wild ride is half the fun. And I guess I figured most other moms lives were like that too.
Now I wonder how many women there are out there who wake up with nothing to look forward to. And how can the Mommy Revolution help?
Carla: I can absolutely relate to this woman. I have that same conversation with my hubby all the time. He’ll ask me about my day and I’m like, “It was exactly the same as yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.” There are many, many days when I run to Target or bake cookies or get stuck on Facebook because at least then I have something to do. I kind of like the days when something dramatic happens–the kids have a big kerfuffle, the washing machine freaks out, the dog eats someone’s favorite Hot Wheel–because it breaks up the monotony.
At the same time, that’s just how life is. I felt the same way when I went to work every day. Some days were stimulating and fantastic and productive and other days were all about the “bleh.” But why shouldn’t it be that way? If every day was thrilling, that might get a little boring–or at least exhausting–too.
The boredom and sameness of motherhood is definitely one of those “secrets” that the Revolution needs to uncover. There’s nothing wrong with saying that the wonder of motherhood is often tempered by the dullness of motherhood. Not every woman finds joy in the little things–at least not every day. There is a lot of boring routine involved in parenting and it’s okay to admit that. I think we set ourselves–and other women–up for grave disappointment when we perpetuate that myth that mothering is always amazing. It’s not. (I know that’s not what you’re saying, Caryn). Sometimes the days really do run together and it’s hard to get ourselves through each one of them. But we do it. And before long (at least before the kids are 18) we get one of those days where we are reminded that the boredom isn’t all there is, that there are some astonishing moments along the way, too.
Caryn: Oh, yeah. I didn’t mean to say that motherhood isn’t boring plenty of the time. Honestly, when I talk about things I look forward to in a day….ummmm….I wasn’t thinking about kid-centered stuff. Sometimes, that’s what it is, but usually it’s some worky thing. So I guess I just hope that moms out there have something—a good run, talking to a friend, a work or hobby project, something at church, whatever—to look forward to in their days.
But lest I made it seem like my life is all thrills and frills, tomorrow I’m looking forward to going to Trader Joe’s after I drop my son off at a friend’s house. Whooopeee!