What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

My husband is odd.

Apart from his many charming quirks, he knew exactly what he was going to be when he grew up -at THE AGE OF THIRTEEN. Some kids are still learning to self-feed at that age.

I, on the other hand, had little clue. I’ve been pondering on the idea lately; because clearly I should have had something I did want, if I didn’t want to be a mother. What was so disruptive about parenting, when I had no other plans to disrupt?

Welllll… I did want to be President of the United States.

I also thought about mechanical engineering, math teaching, freelance artistry, being a doctor, piloting for the Air Force, and editing.

Still, that was only thinking about those career options. It wasn’t planning my whole career path to that end. It wasn’t actually graduating in something pertaining to government offices or piloting.

And now I’m stuck in motherhood.

Can’t go around it. Can’t go over it. Guess I’ll go through it.



Photo credit: Sai De Silva

If Only…

“If only, if only,” the young mother sighs, “I did all the chores;” there’s hope in her eyes.
She washes and foldses and relocates toys.
She vacuums and bleaches and separates boys.

“If only, if only,” the young mother shouts, “You’d not kill your brother when I’m not about.”
She wrestles and time-outs and wait till Dad’s homes.
She chastens and kisses and picks up her phone.

“If only, if only,” the young mother frets, “I didn’t buy takeout whenever we’re stressed.”
She hustles and buckles and drives to the queue.
She searches and scrounges and pays for the food.

“If only, if only,” the young mother fears, “When I spent the money, the money was there.”
She saves scraps and worries and checks the receipts.
She eats less and coupons and admits defeats.

“If only, if only,” the young mother pleads, “You’d all go to bed so that there’s time for me.”
She chases and washes and brushes their teeth.
She last-drinks and stories and wishes sweet dreams.

She closets and darkens and blocks all her calls.
She’s lonely and hopeless and sees only walls.
“If only, if only,” the young mother cries, waiting for change till the day that she dies.

What’s Important

I read most of a book recently. The author recommended making time for what’s important. Clearly, he posited, if x was something worth fighting for, x should be top priority.

May I be sexist for minute, and say what a guy thing that was to advise?

His quote is just the thing my well-meaning husband would say. My husband would say it while looking up from his phone, while resting on the bed, while also expounding on the virtues of a regular bedtime -while I fold his underwear on the floor.

That was not one of those scenarios I made up to be literary, either.

I love my husband, and he does a lot for our family. Every day, he wins enough bread that (with good financial management) I can housekeep and childraise. But he’s clueless.


In order for a mother to “make time,” someone else needs to take over her responsibilities while she’s gone. Otherwise, the careening camper trailer of children will crash. And, mom will have to clean up THAT mess.

Household Fallout like that is another reason why I avoid Me Time. Hours of mitigating tantrums, putting the house to rights, and calming emotional stress is not worth the small break, especially if I know such surprises await me upon my return.

“Make time.”

Whenever I take time to do anything, I feel I have taken it from somewhere else. I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul. Or, I’m skipping reading time with Peter to wash Paul’s soccer uniform. I’ve forgotten the birthday party Peter was invited to so Paul (and Paul’s siblings) could eat dinner.

I rob Peter, Paul, and Mary to pay for …what? A massage? A trip to the bathroom unaccompanied?

Does this mean the most important thing is the mothering? It does. But, if years of mothering slowly wears us down to brittle, bitter remains of happy people, is it really the most important?


unsplash-logoDan Gold
unsplash-logoAnh Nguyen