Skip to main content

Where’s Mommy? Out back, sucking the hind tit.


The week ahead looked rough. Especially rough. Rougher than the week before or the week after. I hated that it was coming and I could do nothing to simplify it.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/pixel2013-2364555/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3777407">S. Hermann &amp; F. Richter</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3777407">Pixabay</a>
My children’s demands were neigh high. My needs were too. And husband, well, his needs remain constant, don’t they? It’s not easy. And I think people forty years ago had different expectations for mothers. Many mothers didn’t work. If you Google the statistics, you will find articles entitled, “Women Surge into the Work Force” and “The Rise in Working Mothers.”


Women’s Lib would do that, of course. You can’t fight for the right to work, and then not work. That wasn’t all that long ago. So my granny, who was born in 1921, was one of the first mothers who had an opportunity to work and raise a family. She took it, but not to the extreme of becoming an engineer or a doctor. Her daughters-in-law however, did. They were all qualified, working women. 

Accomplished in various fields. I remember though, thinking my friends who had mothers at home were so lucky. I remember how many extra hours my parents both spent at work and that I wished they hadn’t.

So when the time came for our children, the choice was easy: I would stay at home.

Masters degree. Plus a few add-on certificates and post grad diplomas… I (and my degrees) would stay at home.

When people said to my husband that I was so lucky to be able to stay at home, he would say, graciously, that the kids were the lucky ones; I was the one making the sacrifices. And in many respects that is 100% true.

But there comes a time when the sacrifices seem like they're far larger than you’ve signed up for. There are many moments when I've felt like saying, "Hey! Does it mean I get NO life?"

When I suggest that I will be going on a girls’ night out, the question is always asked, “Who’s watching the kids?” As if I were a single parent.

And when I dare to want a weekend away, at a conference, for example, again the question is asked, “Who’s watching the kids?” As though I would consider leaving them home alone with a remote control in one hand and a pizza and a sharp knife in the other.

Mom’s who stay at home are, by and large, assumed to have a life that is one largely of leisure and coffee dates. We don’t need time out.

So back to my rough week. I was (selfishly) training for a big mountain bike race. The big girls had a ballet concert that involved evening rehearsals every evening, plus four performances. The little baby’s needs did not change either. All in one week and I agree, timing could not have been worse. Four exhausted, out-of-routine women in one home was not ideal.

When I conferred with a wiser, older woman in my life, her response was, “Suck it up, that’s a mother’s life.” No wait. Her first response was, “Well, cancel the race.”  That’s what she would have done.

Immediately I had flash backs to when my mother balanced forty balls at the same time and still managed not to drop any. Working, studying, as well as parenting.

I remembered my friend’s mothers who also did this all and made it look easy. And I wondered what I was doing so wrong that was making my task seem insurmountable.

But I certainly wasn’t going to suck it up. And I wasn’t going to cancel the race.

So what I had to do was make a plan that worked. Which I did.

Then I pre-cooked a whole batch of meals so that I didn’t have to think about food.

Then I set a strict training schedule and cancelled anything that didn’t have to do with a bike or ballet.

In short – I made my life as simple and focused as possible.

These are the things that fell by the wayside: extra swimming lessons for the girls, our evening Bible study group, my weekly therapy session, a coffee date that happens with a special friend, a birthday party – no, two birthday parties for school mates, two dinner dates we were invited to over the weekend…  and probably church on Sunday unless I can still walk.

This was not possible every week. Too much had to be shifted and shunted in order to make this week possible. So when I was told to “Suck it up,” that’s what I envision. And I refuse to make that our ‘normal’.

Life in our home is about making things as simple as possible. Keeping the first things first, we have a few priorities that we stick to: God first, marriage second, family third and then everything else. Ballet or bike races don’t come into that equation. They’re exceptions, and rare occurrences, but not the rule. Not that they can't be part of our lives, they just need to be put in their rightful place.

Being a good mother doesn’t mean sucking the hind tit all the time. In our home, that would make me angry, bitter, resentful Mother.

Herein lies the rub: It’s the length of time that makes the difference. I can “suck it up” for a week. I can even place my needs at the bottom of the list for a while and forget they exist. I think all moms can.

I did it when my children wouldn’t sleep and I put my own sleep on a back burner. I did it when they wanted to be in our room every night and put sex on a back burner. I do it every time they would rather have dinner at the place with the crap food and a play area, where there’s decent food just a few meters away. But I think we all know that if any of this were a permanent way of life, it would take a serious toll.

We need those cameo moments of pure indulgence. Even if it takes the form of a monstrous bike race. Even if all it is, is a coffee date with our special friend. Moms need to know that there’s more to life than the hind tit. We need to feed our souls every now and then and remember that we are also important.
 
We need to explore and experience life beyond the back udder; those are the moments that refuel and refresh and remind us who we are. For one day, the kids will be grown. Everyone keeps telling us that. The chaos will subside. And when that happens, when there seems to be time and space for the things you enjoy, there still needs to be enough of you left. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fear Shaming in a World Unknown

It’s okay to be a contradiction. It doesn’t mean you’re a hypocrite, it only means that you are human. Life is not always only black and white and you have to choose one not both. There are, in fact very few instances in life where you have to only be one thing. It’s okay to be afraid right now, while not ‘living in fear.’ Having fear is not the same as living in it. One is okay, the other is crippling. In the wave of Corona panic, I have been accused of living in fear. The supposed symptoms: -I’ve opted for semi-seclusion. -I’ve had no (unusual or unnecessary or large) social gatherings with friends or family -I’ve conducted all (but one) meetings online -I’m checking the temperature for anyone who sets foot in my home - I own about six masks and wear them whenever I am with a person not immediately related to me. Including in my own home. Yet, my children are at school. I go grocery shopping. I’ve seen my parents. Contradiction? I guess. As more of a contradiction, I've had enorm

13 Reasons why '13 Reasons Why' left me Cold - But I couldn't stop watching

If you haven't seen it yet, be warned, '13 Reasons Why' (on Netflix) is not for the faint hearted. It hurts your eyes with gratuitous violence at times. The language is supremely foul. But the story line is both heart wrenching and gripping. The premise of a high school girl committing suicide and leaving behind thirteen guilt-soaked cassette tapes to explain her death is harrowing in itself. The lives that are affected by the contents of these tapes and the enormous ripple effect is where the story develops it's gravitas and universality. 13 Reasons Why on Netflix (Season 1)  Of course, I had to watch it. But it left me cold and here are my thirteen reasons why. 1. It was like watching my high school career all over again I didn't deal with the "big" issues in 13 Reasons. I wasn't raped, for example. But I would be lying if I said I hadn't faced some of the issues that are dealt with in the show. I faced many of them. As did many other pupils I

What I didn’t know Crossfit taught me until I gave it up

I know the jury is out on Crossfit and the long-term benefits or detriment to our health. That’s not what I want to talk about now, at all.   I started Crossfit to support a friend who was starting her own gym. That was my only reason. I had never imagined myself lifting weights and certainly had no aspiration to do a box-jump.   I didn’t know what I was signing up for, in all honesty.   But I'm stubborn as heck and when my cash is on the table, I am all-in. I outlasted most of the girls who joined our “yummy-mummy” class. And then some. I kept going when my friend sold her then, fully established gym, to a new lovely owner. I kept going right up until I was eight and a half months pregnant. I loved it.   Unfortunately, my shirts stopped fitting over my arms. And I found fitting in a rigorous schedule around three kids impossible. But I have full respect for the concept and loved my four years or so of being able to lift, jump, pull, squat and lunge.   It was only after baby number