I have always been one of those girls that gets along really well with guys.
I am good with comebacks, I am not easily offended, and I’m a homebody who doesn’t need to talk all the time.
Because of this, I always thought I’d be The Cool Wife. I had this idea when I was young of how I’d be as a wife. I’d drink beer (I loved it way back when), keep my figure, dress decent and wear make-up every day, cook yummy dinner every night and never ever choose sleep over quality “cuddle time” with my husband.
I knew I’d never be one of “Those Wives”. The ones who favor sweats or yoga pants, start nagging as soon as their husband walks in the door, and pretend not to notice the affectionate advances from their husband in favor of a solid 8 hours of sleep.
I had ideas of how I’d be as a mom, too. I’d be fun and spontaneous. I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff, I wouldn’t yell. I’d be patient and loving. Our house would be a happy house free of frantic stress and yelling at one another — my kids would feel happy and loved and full of light 24 hours a day.
Then life happened.
This past weekend was a long weekend. Jon David was out of school for four days. Four days without electronics I might add — after being caught on his iPod while he was supposed to be sleeping, I had taken it away along with his Playstation and laptop. My husband had somewhere to be, and wasn’t getting home until 9 pm every night, and Lucy wasn’t napping. No nap means no break. No nap means tired, cranky toddler.
Tired cranky toddler + bored kid with no electronics + husband gone all weekend.
My husband came home one night right after I’d gotten the kiddos in bed. He wanted to hold hands and watch TV, ask me about my day. I wanted so badly to smile and ask him how his was. To say that mine was okay. To hold his hand and lay my head on his shoulder and watch TV.
But I couldn’t. For the love, if one more person touched me or asked me a question, I was going to scream.
So I told him that my day was bad. That I was tired. That I needed 30 minutes of no one touching or talking to me. That I needed wine and my knitting and silence.
I sat there, thinking about who I’d become. That I never wanted to be That Wife. The one who holds back affection, who has a list of complaints, who can’t find joy in every situation. I thought about all the times I’d snapped at the kids during the day. The times I’d lost my patience. The time that Lucy was screaming for the 58th time and I almost started crying with her. That after his 9th smart remark, I told Jon David to go somewhere that I didn’t have to hear him for awhile.
That all day, I’d been counting the minutes to bedtime and counting the minutes until I could tell my husband all the ways that his day was better than mine.
Instead of decompressing, instead of trying to plan an evening in the future where I could find a couple hours of peace and happy alone, instead of zoning out in bliss, I sat there feeling guilty. Because the truth is, some days I can choose joy. Some days I can tell myself that the kids are healthy, that we have a comfortable home, that every day is full of a zillion tiny blessings. Some days the kids behave, my husband is a gem, my hair looks great, and my pants fit perfectly.
But other days, I tell that voice that whispers, “choose joy” to “go jump off a cliff, asshole”.
It’s true. I never cuss in my real life. But sometimes, particularly on the bad days, my brain goes on a cuss word spree like you’ve never heard.
It’s those same bad days that I find myself apologizing to my past self for letting her down. For sometimes being the bitchy wife, the impatient mom, the yoga pant wearing, white wine drinking, SUV driving cliche that is a regular joke on the internet and with young girls everywhere.
But then I remember that my past self didn’t understand the kind of mental exhaustion that sets in after your toddler doesn’t nap for a week. That after having a kid hang on you all day, you can need someone to just NOT TOUCH YOU. That being a mom can sometimes seem so much more unfair than being a dad, and that can lead to a hundred little resentments that can sometimes be pushed away but sometimes can’t. That yoga pants are comfortable and forgiving and jeans aren’t that comfortable for chasing a toddler in. That SUVs are cliche but they are big and roomy and fit all your groceries and kids and plus hello, DVD player.
Some days I can be my very best self. Some days I can’t. And on those days — the hard ones, the ridiculous ones, the pity party ones, I have decided to tell someone else to go jump off a cliff — that young, inexperienced, hopeful past version of me. Who as it ends up, got her happy ending. Even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
When I started this blog, so many years ago, it wasn’t because I thought I could make desserts you can’t find anywhere else. It’s because I thought…we have things to say to each other. Because on the bad days I want to say hey, I get it, me too, have a brownie. And on the good days I want to say, hey you — look at you with good hair today, have a cupcake.
Every day, as good things happen and bad things happen I think, I wonder if my girls online feel this way too? I wonder if they need me to ask? I wonder if I could help being a wife, a mom, a woman feel just a smidge funnier, or easier, or relatable?
So if you ever find yourself on the bad days wondering — how did I become this person? I want to say…me too, girl. Me too. Sometimes we can fix it. But sometimes we just need to give ourselves a bit of grace, a glass of wine, say a prayer, and push forward.
If you young girls find yourself rolling your eyes at us middle aged moms – the ones who nag and look tired and wear worn looking yoga pants to the grocery store, I want to say…just wait. Your turn is coming. And when it does, A) Call me so I can laugh in your face for being smug and adorable and judgemental and B) then I want to hug you and listen to you and say, “this too, shall pass”.
For the moms and wives and women who have already pushed though these seasons — who read this with nostalgia and longing for sticky fingers and toddler screams and the hectic day to day that I am living, I want to say…wanna babysit? And also, I’m sorry. For thinking that I never wanted to be you. Those tired eyes, those extra pounds, those worn sweatpants and mom ponytail were a badge of honor, the uniform of a woman who was doing The Hardest Things. I’m so grateful for the example you’ve set, the advice that you give, and the adoration you give my toddler as I push through Walmart, impatient and exhausted.
You do you, moms. We’ve got this.