I have spent some time in the last few weeks paying especially close attention to where my thoughts wander when I let them roam. Being a stay at home mom, I actually have a lot of time to let my mind go on wild goose chases, because, let’s be honest, it takes very little brain power to push a small train around a wooden track for the 17th time that morning. I’ve spent some time listening to the whirlpool in my head and I was shocked when I stopped to think about the things I think about.
I’ve always had a bit of an obsessive streak. It’s easy for me to fixate on something, particularly something I don’t like, and not be able to move away. Where normal people might give a little rant and then go, “Oh, well. What are you going to do?” I prefer to fixate for weeks on end as to exactly what I will do about that rant. Lately, it’s been a cluster cuss of obsession in my brain. It goes a little something like this:
“Man, I hate playing with trains. Like, I am really over trains. Why does Levi like trains so much? Is there something wrong with him? Train people are a little…odd. He can’t become a train person. I really don’t like hanging out with these trains, but I kind of have to, right? What mom doesn’t cherish these preschool days of your child actually wanting you to play with him? Only a bad mom, that’s who. Don’t be a bad mom. Play with the stupid trains. Good grief, I hate sitting on the floor, especially in shorts. These shorts are a lot tighter than they were last year. Man, I gotta work out more…or eat better…or something. Things are not settling in places that I want them to settle. So I gotta do something. But when will I do something? Let’s be honest, there’s no way you’re waking up at 6AM to workout. Don’t even think about setting that goal for yourself. And if you work out at night, you mess up dinner for everyone. So I guess, maybe when Levi goes to school? Well, that sucks. It will be hot by then, plus that alone time is kind of awesome but seriously? What mom gets that much alone time? Do something productive with your time! Moms don’t relax…ever! That’s why they’re cranky all the time. Motherhood should make you cranky. Stop being a pansy. Go workout after you take Levi to school. It would be super awesome if that meant rolling in to an air conditioned gym but forget that. Remember how you and Greg decided to get serious about your budget and then you broke your glasses, like a moron and then Levi busted his face open because you weren’t paying attention (because you’re a bad mom) and so now there’s a huge ER bill looming so don’t even think about paying money to a gym right now! Just suck it up and sweat outside like a crazy person. Because getting fat is not an option. Bathing suit season is here and you still have time to fight the pear shape your body is determined to become. But not much time, because you are approaching your mid 30’s, AKA: that magical time where a woman’s body turns on her for no good reason and refuses to metabolize as fast and when muscles just seize up for no good reason. Man, my mid 30s are quickly approaching. I hate how different everything is now that I’m older. My friendships are different. They are so disjointed and fragmented. Kids are always running around, leaping off of coffee tables and busting their heads open because once again, you are a bad mom. Conversation just doesn’t exist without constant interruption. We should go out with our friends more. Except to us a night out means Shake Shack and most of our friends manage their money much better than us and so to them a night out means Prato. And then we have to pay a sitter, so that’s money out the door just to have someone sit on our couch while Levi sleeps. So maybe we shouldn’t go out more. So let’s have some friends over, chaos and all! Man, I’m tired. That sounds tiring. Nope! Suck it up! Be a good friend! Be more generous with your time! Lord knows you have plenty of it since Levi is in school and all grandparents are within 20 minutes from your house and often spend time with him. Use your time well! Be more productive! At least, clean the bathroom for crying out loud. What is that black stuff in the corner of the shower? No amount of bleach seems to be touching that stuff. Maybe if you were more productive with your free time and cleaned the shower more often, there would be no black stuff lurking in that corner. Be more productive. Wait, what? Levi’s hungry. Oh right, dinner time. Time to make one of the THREE things he will eat, none of which are healthy at all and ALL of which are your fault because you didn’t give him avocados when he was a baby. He would eat better if you made him. You know the other moms judge you for that mac and cheese he inhales. But hey, he’s eating some fruit now so that’s good i guess. But when he turns 4 he is totally starting to eat vegetables! Yeah right. Because everyone knows you can make 4 year olds eat anything. Sigh. I hope he doesn’t have some weird mac and cheese tumor growing in his gut. If you were a better mom you would find a way to make him eat more good stuff. But for now, I guess I should go make some mac and cheese because I seriously CANNOT listen to him whine for one more second. At least that means you get to stop playing trains. Silver lining.”
I wish I could tell you that I made up each of these thoughts just to make you smile, but really and truly I have thought every single one of these thoughts (and many other crazier ones) at least once a day for the past couple of weeks. It’s so easy for me to sit down with a girlfriend who has hit a wall and tell her to ease up, life is messy, houses are messy, kids are messy. But for some reason when I sit down to have that conversation with myself I like to tell myself to suck it up. I like to find the people on social media who’s houses look cleaner and who’s kids are chowing down on sushi and who are buying new cars bigger than my house and I tell myself that they are doing “it” better than me. I don’t know what “it” is exactly, but in the moment I know that they are right and I am wrong and lazy and selfish and poor. So many people over the last few months have reminded me to be gentle with myself and I rolled my eyes internally and thought “They don’t know how much harder I should be on myself. I should want to do better.” But here’s the thing, I can’t sit down with a dear friend and tell them to go easy on themselves if I can’t find a way to do it myself. I can’t tell a friend that it’s ok to have piles of laundry stacked everywhere if I don’t invite them over when there are piles of laundry all over my house. I need to ease up and be gentle with myself. I need to let myself have the above mental rant and then end it with “Deep breath. Levi is happy. Your marriage is happy. You have a nice house and plenty of food that seems to be making your son grow like a weed. Your body is God’s temple. Stop insulting it all the time. Have some friends over and get used to the chaos, it means life is happening. And above all else, be gentle with yourself.”