BEING – Oh, good God! What is it good for?

by L.K. Whitney

I’m exhausted, girls.    Really, I think I’ve passed the brink.  Here I find myself zooming full speed ahead, well beyond my comfort zone.  This new life, this concept of “motherhood” and “the matriarch” and “the wife” –oh, it’s all so… overwhelming.  All that newness, matter of fact, well, it’s actually starting to wear off.

When, I wonder, will I start to feel comfortable around here?

Can we be honest?  Should we, for just a moment, drop the ladylike façade and just be real? I mean, we’re all friends here, right?  I can share my innermost heartfelt feelings with you, my Mommy mutiny, because you are right here with me, charging the front line, one temper tantrum at a time…

It’s hard, isn’t it?  It’s hard to take a break, to set aside the responsibilities and emotions involved with being a mother.  And for those of us that are married, it’s even harder to relinquish that culturally-mandated desire to be a continuous visage of absolute strength and immeasurable patience.  (Single mothers of the world, by the way, I saint you.)

Am I speaking out of line here?  Am I making you feel uncomfortable?  Or might you lend yourself a chance to step outside your daily role play?  Go on.  Give it a chance.  Let’s take a spin.  I feel like letting my hair down…

I know I’m not alone.  My story may be a bit different from yours, but really, we are a lot alike.  WE are wives.  WE are mothers.  WE have emotional needs.  WE deal with post-partum.  WE stay up all night with our sick child, not blinking once in fear that we’ll miss a runny nose that needs wiping.  WE need hugs.  WE need affection.  WE take on the worry (I’ll get to that another time).  WE allow ourselves little because what we are responsible for requires so much.  WE used to be fabulous.  WE used to have time.  WE used to flirt.  WE used to shave our legs.  WE used to smell good.  WE used to be mysterious.  We used to BE.

How does it feel?  To be perfectly honest, it feels a little (okay, a lot) lonely.

(…insightful pause…)

You know, I miss my husband.  I miss his friendship.  Selfishly, too, I miss his attention.  I miss idling down the intercoastal in Ole’ Blue.  I miss the late-night phone calls, being picked up at my apartment after hours spent solo in thoughtful preparation, staying up late just for the sake of good conversation.  I miss wanting him and, of course, I miss being wanted.  Being a mom (and even being a dad) has its way of, for lack of better words, getting in the way.

Often I find myself longing for those casual days (prior to “married with children”) when we started out each and every day with a French press, the latest issue of Food & Wine stretched out between us as we planned the evening’s dinner.  Soon as we’d look out the big front window of our “Little Yellow House That Could” and see the chow from down the street leading her companion down Old Park Road, we knew it was time to jump in the shower.  And yes, we’d jump in together, because time apart seemed like wasted time.  And being in love is somehow all the more fun when you’re sharing shampoo…

Being in love…Hmph.  No doubt we are all unabashedly in love with our children.  That’s a given.  But are we still in love with our partners?  Where does it feed from?  How do we keep it alive and overflowing and abundant and pure and, above all, how do we keep it simple?   Married with children, by its very nature, is anything but “simple”.

I’m struggling these days, not because I do not love my dear husband but because I can’t find the time, nor the energy, nor the words to let him know that I love him.  We do interact I find myself fighting every morsel of him…he’s always there, always reminding me that I’m not perfect.  (Living alone for so long sort of got me thinking I was close to perfect and it’s been somewhat shocking to learn that I’m anything but…)  I need a moment to BE myself in the middle of these busy days and schedules (that are not my own) and worry (because that’s the one thing WE do best) and uncertainty (don’t allow yourself to deny that you are constantly wondering what the hell is going on)…

Here WE are, tying shoelaces and searching for the Tupperware lid, sacrificing “ladies night out” for a once-in-a-blue-moon quiet night in.  This is it, ladies.  This is the ultimate, double-dog dare challenge.

If you tell me the relationship with your once-adorable-boyfriend-turned-dear husband is better and more enjoyable now with kids, a mortgage, cleaning up after kids, in-laws, taking care of kids, and scheduled foreplay (that’s typically interrupted by kids), then stop reading now.  You have some sort of divine insight, your tolerance for pain and stress is at a maximum, and we have nothing more left to talk about.

Now, if you haven’t washed your hair in three days and seem to think your DH is beginning to act (and look) like your high school principal, then this might be a good escape for you.  Need a moment of heartfelt empathy?  Pull up a chair, my dear, and pass the vino.  I predict we’ll have a lot to talk about.

If we can be honest and open (and attentive) with our selves then maybe we can support each other to be true to ourselves.  My gut tells me that being myself is probably the best way to be, for everybody involved.  I need this, just as I need air and water and American Idol.  Being is everything.  And I’m every woman.

Sing it with me now….

Magic City maven Laura Kate Whitney is a full-blooded Southerner who has just found herself back in Sweet Home Alabama. Life circumstances have brought her to Birmingham, along with husband, young son, and grumpy old cat. In her “free time” she enjoys long walks, amateur photography, Birmingham history, culinary programming, and hot baths. You can follow Laura Kate’s adventures on Magic City Manifesto and also on Twitter.

12 thoughts on “BEING – Oh, good God! What is it good for?

  1. L.K. Perfectly stated….and a great little read! I can just tell you that you are far from alone! We’ll get together sometime over that bottle of Vino and cry together! love you girl!

  2. You are totally not alone, and I guess that means I am not either…
    I could have written this, if I was a good writer, if I were more eloquent. And if I could process these thoughts (that we’re not “supposed” to have) without crying and/or drinking.

    Great job. I love it.

  3. Spot on LK! Being that my adorable son’s bday is in fact on Valentine’s Day, I was so wrapped up in thinking about him and his day that I completely dropped the ball on Valentine’s with the hubby. He had the time to get me a card and help our son make me a card. Thank goodness Target still had some left the day after!

  4. OMG! Finally, the words I have been trying to explain to my hubby! Thank you! Such a great post! I am a new mom, too. And, yes, SOOOO hard. Such a hard job. But, I do love the benefits 🙂 And, yes, I miss my hubby, too. I just made him read this. Hopefully, he gets it now. Thanks!!

  5. Thanks for sharing this. This was an easy and enjoyable read. Although I don’t have kids, I understand the responsibilty (somewhat), which is why I don’t have kids yet. Trying to savor the moments of being newlyweds while others constantly ask when we’ll have kids. 🙂

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