being a mom
Admitting You Miss The Freedom Of Your Childless Life Doesn’t Make You A Bad Mom
After I had my first child, when I was still working as a waitress, I remember overhearing an conversation a couple was having as they paid their bill:
“I don’t really feel like going home. You wanna go to a movie?”
That small interaction inspired a giant blanket of envy to wrap around my entire being. I realized I hadn’t had the luxury of doing something totally unplanned and spontaneous with my partner since our child was born. I was jealous of that couple. Does that ever happen to you? Do you ever just long for the time when you didn’t have so much responsibility?
Occasionally, I will think back to my twenties — single, childless and living in Brooklyn — and wish I could just step into a time machine, back into my old living room. Back to a life of freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I ache for that time occasionally — really ache for it. I love my kids and I wouldn’t change any of the decisions that brought me into this role as mother for the world. Sometimes I just can’t help but feel that I really didn’t appreciate the freedom of not being committed to tend to all of another human’s earthly needs.
I used to struggle with these feelings when they surfaced. I guess it doesn’t help that every time I write about them there is someone all too willing to call me a “bad mom.” I once wrote a story about how motherhood may not fulfill every woman, and someone actually tweeted me the lyrics to “Cats in the Cradle.” Oh, boy.
I’ve come to realize that remembering that I loved the freedom of being childless doesn’t make me a bad mom – it teaches me to live in the moment. I know much the same way I miss my childless life now, someday I’ll be saying the same thing about having young children. Everything is so fleeting – remembering how much I loved my life when I was childless reminds me to also open my eyes and be present in my life with my small children now.
I speak fondly of that person I was before I was “mom” because it reminds me that I still am that person. If not being content for the label “mom” to totally define me and if missing the freedom of not having that label makes me a bad mom, so be it.
(photo: GuadiLab/ Shutterstock)