Living a Normal Life
I do this thing to torture myself where I think I can live a normal life. Logically I know that I have a two-year-old and life will never be the same but sometimes, just sometimes, I want to go to a craft fair and look at every table without worrying about a two-year-old thrashing around on the floor because we haven’t gone in the direction she wants to. I want to chat with people I meet on the street and not have to chase my daughter so she doesn’t run into oncoming traffic. I don’t want to have to fake smile when people laugh about how busy she is. I want to sleep through the night so badly I can taste it.
I go to holiday family functions and sit and watch cartoons while grown-ups talk about something less mindless. I resent not being amongst the ones who can talk in full sentences.
Sometimes knowing that the meat grinder (as one of my Mommy friends called it) of the toddler stage won’t last forever gives me strength through another tantrum and another sleepless night. Sometimes it makes me cry and robs me of the patience that I rely on to get me through my days and sometimes even longer nights.
I know that mothers survive it and live another life after their children are potty-trained and can feed themselves and can hurt themselves without you having to rush to them, pick them up, and kiss ever inch of their booboos. These things are both so sweet and so sour. And yet, there are no venues, except for wine-fueled mommy nights (that rarely happen and take months to plan because well, kids) that make room for these contradictory truths to be told.
People smile knowingly or disdainfully while your child screams because they don’t know what they want because they won’t eat or sleep and really that is all they ever need. Some want to rescue you and others want to be less of a nuisance. And man, do you want to be rescued.
It would probably be better for me if I could admit defeat. Normal life, no matter how I defined it before, is gone. I might live with the same kind of taken-for-granted freedom I used to have when Aya is out of the house. Or maybe not.
There is this obligatory thing that mothers have to do which is to say, but of course I love my kid(s), to make all of what I just said, and what other mothers at least think, okay. I consciously refuse to do that. I can be frustrated, exhausted, out-of-my-mind and longing for a “normal” life (which really just involves me not meeting someone else’s needs constantly and being preoccupied with my own) and still be a good mother. That is not up for debate.
To my mind, speaking our experiences as mothers is the strongest, bravest, more powerful survival thing we can do and it might just be the only thing that is going to get me though.