When it comes to my blog, I try to be as real as I can be. I try to be honest about my feelings, even if it means admitting things that I don't want to. It's easy to pretend in the blog world because no one has to see the real you if you don't want them to. I could spend every day writing about how perfect my life is and even though I am INCREDIBLY blessed, I wouldn't say my life is perfect. I am always trying to figure out how to be a better wife, or mother, or daughter, or sister, or friend, or teacher...but I don't know that I will ever be able to look at myself in any of these roles and think that I am perfect. But the sooner I can admit and accept that...the sooner I can stop trying to be perfect. Because really...is there any such thing?
Last night, while Eric and the kids were all passed out from a long day playing in the snow, I curled up on the couch to watch a movie. I still hadn't seen Sex and the City 2 because it got horrible reviews and Eric had no interest in watching it with me. So when I saw that it was OnDemand, I figured, "What the hell" and called it in. Sadly...it was as bad as everyone said it was. BUT...there is this amazing scene between Charlotte and Miranda that made the other 140 minutes of the movie worth watching.
If you are a fan of SATC, you know that Charlotte and Miranda are both mothers. Miranda is a workaholic lawyer trying to find balance between her career and her family, while Charlotte is a Stay-at-Home-Mommy of two little girls trying to find balance at home. Charlotte struggled for a long time to have children, which is why she finally adopted a little girl from China right before getting pregnant with her own daughter. While Charlotte was going through her infertility struggles, Miranda got pregnant by accident. Because of this, Miranda and Charlotte have always had tension between them. Miranda always felt like she couldn't talk to Charlotte about her struggles as a mother because whenever she did...Charlotte would remind her of how lucky she is to even have a child. I don't know what it is like to be in Charlotte's shoes, but I do know what it feels like to be in Miranda's shoes and it's hard. It's hard to have your mind completely consumed with motherhood and not be able to share it with someone close to you.
So when Charlotte was finally able to start a family of her own, she put up a front that life was perfect. She had everything she ever wanted...so what could she be unhappy about? But Miranda knew that it was a front. She knew that motherhood was not all the sunshine and roses that Charlotte made it out to be. She knew that Charlotte was feeling the same way she was but she didn't want to admit it. And frankly...what mother does? What mother wants to admit that they are struggling? What mother wants to admit that they feel unhappy sometimes? And more importantly...what mother wants to admit these things when they have exactly what they've always wanted?
So the scene in the movie that I am talking about is when Miranda and Charlotte sit down for some cocktails and end up having this amazing conversation about motherhood...
Miranda knows that Charlotte is hiding her feelings and she wants her to know that she can be honest. It takes Charlotte a few sips of her cocktail to really spill the beans, but eventually she does. Miranda starts by admitting that although she loves her son, being just a mother isn't enough for her. As soon as she says it, her eyes well up with tears because it sounds so horrible. Being a mother should be everything and the ONLY thing you care about. But for many of us, we are not whole without a piece of who we use to be. Charlotte feels this way too. Even though she wished and prayed for these children, some days she just wants to be alone like she use to be...able to sit and sip a cup of coffee or read a magazine without crying children on her hip. She starts to cry when she tells Miranda how she will just leave the room when her daughter starts crying because she can't hear it anymore. She starts to say how wrong that is but Miranda interrupts her and says, "That's not wrong...that's survival". That is the point where I screamed, "YES!" at the TV.
I know the word "survival" seems out of place when talking about motherhood because motherhood shouldn't be something we "survive"...it should be something we savor and cherish. And we do...but that doesn't mean there aren't obstacles to overcome. There are HARD days...especially with young children. There are days when you want to run screaming from your house. There are moments when you sit and daydream about eating lunch alone, reading a book, in absolute peace and quiet. There are days you actually miss your 60 minute commute to work because it was an hour you could just sit and listen to music. But when you have these days or moments, the immediate guilt that rushes over you is overwhelming. You feel disgusted with yourself for being so negative when so many other women out there would literally give their last breath to be a mother. So then you spend the rest of the day beating yourself up for not enjoying every single moment with your children and decide to bury these feelings. You put on the same front as Charlotte and pretend like everything is sunshine and roses. And although I do believe it is important to remember your blessings and thank God for them every single day...I also think it is unhealthy to pretend like motherhood isn't hard.
Recently, I met an old friend of mine for drinks. We hadn't seen each other in years so when we started catching up about our children and our lives as SAHMs, we both put on our big smiles and talked about how fulfilling life is now and how we wouldn't trade the opportunity to be home with our babies for anything in the world. We went on like this for a good 15 minutes, talking about how fabulous motherhood is, and then I said, "Gosh...it does feel nice to be away from my kids though." Right after I said it, I wished I could take it back. It sounded so awful. Here I was, gushing about how much I love my kids, and then I confess how I am enjoying being away from them. And the worst part...Laura tried for a few years to have a baby an she probably looks at every single moment as a true blessing. I was such an ass. How could I say that? But then...I saw Laura's eyes well up and I knew that she felt the EXACT same way!
So we poured another glass of wine and spilled our beans. We talked about everything from the exhaustion of breastfeeding, to the solitude of being in a house all day with no adult interaction, to the new-found joy of going to work one night a week because it is a "break". We laughed, we cried and when I went home...I felt refreshed. I felt like a new woman. My SIL Dana and I have these honest conversations every day (and they are wonderful) but to have one with a woman who longed for motherhood the way Laura did, felt great. I didn't have to hide my feelings with her and I think it was a HUGE relief for her because having had trouble getting pregnant, she felt like she wasn't "allowed" to feel these things. And when you let go of the guilt (with the help of some wine) you can say things you NEVER thought you would admit. And honestly...it was good for the soul :-)
So I guess the point of this insanely long post is that I think all mothers should be more honest with themselves...and each other. I think we should all admit that motherhood IS about survival. Carrying snacks in our purse is survival. Purchasing expensive DVD players just so you can get through a road trip is survival. Working one day a week, even though we don't have to, is survival. Letting your child sleep in your bed even though you know you shouldn't is survival. Gosh...I could go on and on with this list. Ha! What's that saying about me? So if confession is good for the soul, how do you all survive? And I don't mean just motherhood. I think marriage is about survival too. Maybe we should use this post to cleanse our souls and get it out there. Remember...you can post as anonymous if want. But really...what fun is that?