I am a mother to a beautiful 2 year old girl named Brenna. I am also a wife, daughter, sister and friend. I have interests outside of my role as mother. And I have a full time, occasionally fulfilling and frequently stressful job. None of those things make me unique. In fact, it makes me a lot like half of the women I know. And if we all listen to the radio, read blogs or magazines lately, moms are either only happy when they’re cooking and cleaning for their beautiful family, a la The Domestic Diva, or we’re a tantrum away from Prozac (thank you Jennifer Senior).
But amazingly enough, I find motherhood to be a happy and healthy part of my life. The key there is “part”. Sure, there are times I skip out on 5 o’clock cocktails because I need to pick Brenna up from the babysitter. And every once in a while, Brenna’s bedtime moves up an hour if she won’t stop interrupting So You Think You Can Dance. These aren’t large sacrifices for Brenna and me. And in general, the mother is the one who needs to make the sacrifices because, as obstinate as she is, Brenna didn’t will herself into my uterus. To be honest, I love her so much that most things I forgo due to motherhood don’t feel like sacrifices.
Now that I’ve convinced you that I’m not a bad mother, let me tell you that if I find a pair of Proenza Schouler shoes on sale, Brenna’s Big Wheel will have to wait until next summer. When my daughter broke the Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses I bought 4 years (and a lifetime of disposable income) ago, I cried until my 2-year-old patted my back and told me it would be ok. And if she wakes up from her nap right as my husband and I are stripping and jumping on the bed, I will turn the monitor off and pretend she’s asleep. What I’m trying to say is that I refuse to believe that my daughter either ruined my life or she is my whole life.
I can understand why women without children hate the constant push to find life’s meaning in offspring. The Mommy Bloggers don’t do a very good job of selling maternity. No real woman wants to spend 5 hours making cupcakes or blending her own organic baby food. Then there are the co-sleeping advocates who want us to let our children sleep in between us every night, cocooning them into a sense of security and self-esteem. To those crazies, I say, “Sorry, Mama’s getting laid tonight.” My daughter is a lot safer and healthier if her mother isn’t twitching with pent up sexual frustration. I also refuse to post hourly Facebook pictures of how much she’s growing or how cute she is when she sleeps. And thanks, but my toddler doesn’t need a $1,000 art camp this summer; she has plenty of crayons and construction paper at home.
Here’s my sales pitch to the women who think motherhood must be horrendous. Even if I do have to wake up at 7:00am on a Saturday, I get to spend the next 2 hours snuggled in bed with a viable excuse for watching Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t get to go shopping today, I got to go to the zoo and laugh at my daughter’s adorable animal noises. I can justify dancing around my house in my underwear for hours as teaching Brenna to have a positive body image. And when I cry over sunglasses, I have a sweet and loving little girl to pat my back and say that it’s all going to be OK.
If you don’t want a child after hearing that, good! I need someone to have a drink with when it’s not all that easy. And those stories about your crazy social life make me forget that at my house, Saturday night has become game night. If you’d rather focus on your career, Awesome! I envy you in your beautiful Chanel suit that I could never, ever afford or keep clean. If you’d rather focus on just you, Perfect! I’d rather have friends that are happy by themselves than friends who are bitches with children. But don’t think that having a child will make you any more fulfilled, any less happy or anyone but yourself.