I met this lovely woman, mother of three at my son's pre-school. With a beautiful face, body to kill for, sweetheart kids and a charming, unassuming manner, she seemed to have it all. I said hello since she always smiled at me when we'd drop off our kids. Eventually, we got talking. She asked me what I did. I mentioned my dreaded book. And her reserve just melted. She was so thrilled that I was doing this book writing thing...how lovely. Fantastic, good for you, she said. I tried to look like I had actually achieved something although I fessed up that there was no publisher in sight yet. She waved that detail away as insignificant. I asked her what she did and she said she used to be a teacher but now felt so utterly useless some days since she was staying home with her kids.
I'm no stranger to the 'useless' feeling. Stay at home mothers and faux-employed mothers such as myself, maybe even some full time working mums feel this way. It's a woman thing isn't it? No matter how much we may try and do, there's always someone who does more, has more, achieves more. That wall street investment banker with three extremely well-brought up kids and looks and a bod like Cindy Crawford is enough for us to take bites of frustration out of our pillows in the middle of sleepless nights.
I tried having it all. And I realized that, that Cindy Crawford Investment banker might have 36 hours in her day or is on steroids or speed. I only have 24 and I like to sleep at least 8 hours out of that. I like having fun, I like to just chillax at times. I'm inherently a lazy person. If it's at all possible to be a motivated and yet lazy person, that's me. I have friends with more energy in their little fingers than I can muster in my entire self. They do it all. And so they have it all.
So I decided in my mid-thirties with an active toddler that I cannot have it all. No siree. Having it all means getting up at 5, getting child to day care at 7, going to work at 8, getting back at 6, picking up child/ren and cooking and collapsing in front of TV. I tried it very briefly when my son was a baby with my business. Couldn't keep it up.
Even now, especially the days when he drives me crrrazy, I think, okay girl this is it. He is going to full time school or something and I'm getting the heck out of here, mummyhood be damned. Then he sees my tear streaked face, comes up to me, puts his arms around me and says, 'Don't worry, it will be all right. I'm here. Now come play with me.' And for that second all is right with the world, my decisions correct, my time away from worldly achievement sound judgment.
Then at 2.00 pm in the afternoon with my husband in his office next door talking business, I lie by my son reading to him before his nap and we collapse into giggles at the sounds farm animals make when they're trying to be someone else. I kiss him happy nap and get ready to leave but he begs me to stay just for a while more.
And lying there with an arm around this sweet, warm creature who very soon won't need either a nap or me I think--at this very minute, maybe I have it all too.