You know the list...that slightly self-righteous all-knowing "Well, I'll never do this" or "I'll never do that" list.
"I'll never date a bad boy."
"I'll never lie to my parents."
"I'll never take the easy route."
"I'll never get married."
"I'll never have kids."
"I'll never get fat."
"I'll never stay in a bad marriage."
"I'll never get divorced."
"I'll never take a job that I don't feel passionate about."
Etc. Etc. Etc.
I didn't know that I had a "never" list when my husband and I set out to become parents some five odd years ago. In the front of my brain I just assumed I'd become a mom and it would be all rainbows and unicorns and sweetness and light.
OK, well maybe no rainbows and unicorns, but I thought it would be awesome.
And it is.
I know that I am incredibly lucky to have the life I do with my husband, my daughter, a nice house, money in the bank, and the opportunity to stay home to raise my daughter. Truly, it's a great life and I know I shouldn't complain.
But three and a half years into this momhood gig I realize that I've had a "never" list lurking in my brain.
My list goes something like this, "When I'm a mom..."
- "I'll never 'let myself go' and will always take care of myself so I don't get fat and unhealthy."
- "I'll never neglect my marriage."
- "I'll never judge other moms for their choices."
- "I'll never leave the house while wearing sweats or yoga pants."
- "I'll never let the laundry go for days and weeks."
- "I'll never leave the house unless I've showered and done my hair and make up."
- "I'll never leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight or for days at a time."
- "I'll never put my child's needs before the needs of my husband and our marriage."
- "I'll never resent my husband for having a job outside of the home when I'm home all of the time."
- "I'll never let my kid eat food for which we haven't yet paid."
- "I'll never let my kid have a tantrum in public."
- "I'll never raise my voice to my child and will always speak to her patiently."
- "I'll never check out mentally when I'm with my child."
- "I'll never plop my kid in front of the television for hours at a time so I can get things done."
- "I'll never check out mentally when I'm with my husband."
- "I'll never give up time with my girlfriends."
- "I'll never stop being a good friend."
- "I'll never stop writing, blogging and making art."
- "I'll never spend every evening on the couch zoning out in front of the television."
- "I'll never give up date nights with my husband."
- "I'll never lose the things about myself that make me me."
And I never do any of these things.
Until I do.
All. Of. The. Time.
I almost always leave the house while wearing sweat pants or yoga pants. Do my hair? Wear makeup? Seriously? That never happens. I haven't been thin or healthy in quite some time. I find myself judging other moms for things that I know that I do with own kid or that I am afraid of doing. I don't want to be THAT mom who is yelling at her kid on the playground. But sometimes I am.
Do I pay attention to my amazing husband beyond talking about our daughter or general domestic issues? Not so much. Here I have this wonderful, kind, brilliant and loving life partner, but I can hardly remember what it feels like to be in a romantic relationship with him because I don't make the effort these days. I'm too worn out from being a mom. Or at least that's what I tell myself to justify not giving him more of me. He always gets the last and worst of me. I'm not the wife that I want to be.
What about my totally awesome kid? She's funny, kind, energetic, and one of the most engaging people I've ever met. But I'm not the mom I want to be because I'm not in the present moment with her the way I should be. I'm so tired and sometimes just plain resentful of constantly having to be on duty for her. She gets me all of the time. But she doesn't get the best of me. At the end of the day especially I am always impatient and in a hurry to get her to bed. I'm not kind. I'm not the mom I want to be.
My house is consistently a wreck. It takes too much energy and patience to try to wrangle my 3.5 year-old into helping put away the 800 toys and all of the household items that she just HAS to put on the floor every single day. I always put off doing the laundry and the dishes. And when was the last time my floors saw a mop? Ha! I'm not the housekeeper I want to be.
And my friends? Well, I see them a few times a year and I keep them updated a few times a week on Facebook. I'm an awesome friend...yeah, not so much. I'm not the friend I want to be.
Blogging? Writing my novel? Making art? Haven't done any of that in I can't remember how long. I'm not the creative person I want to be.
Truth is, I'm pretty much a hot mess right now. I find myself in that territory many moms find themselves in: I've lost the things that make me me because I let the "never" list take over.
Until I do.
Time to set the "never" list aside.
Time to get back to being me.