Just Be “The Mom” (What’s Wrong With You?)

My time is running out.

I wasted years of time working on something that didn’t matter, at least not to me. Everything was for everyone else, and now its down to the last. We want to move and we want to move fast, therefore time shall be sacrificed on the Alter of Personal Progress for the unforeseeable future.

Inspiration comes at the strangest moments. I stop my work and focus on the words, organizing them in broken bits, stream of consciousness flowing through my fingers and into the keys. Then a kid bursts in: “Mom! Can my friends come inside?” Then another and another.

“Can we play upstairs?”

“No, girls, play outside. You were out there for ten minutes, give it another twenty, okay?”

“Okay.” And they all scurry away.

I breathe in deep, hold it and release.

Let’s refocus. Let’s try to get back on that train of thought. I can do this.

Click, click, click, I can feel the rhythm, the flow on my MacBook Pro. This is it! I think as the words stream freely, then: “MOM!” from outside.

I ignore it. No one is screaming. I can’t let this go, I need to write, I need to finish this thought, this idea.

“MOM!” Bam! The garage door flies open. “Mom, look what I found! It was in a bag…”

“Girl! Stop bursting in here! I can’t handle this, Honey. Please, stay outside for another fifteen minutes. Okay? I need to get this stuff written down, Sweetie.”

“But, Mom, look at this purse! I found it in a bag in the garage…”

I can see that bag now, in my mind’s eye. The one a friend with an older daughter gave to us. One I left in the garage because my kids have too much stuff and I hate too much stuff and I just wanted to wait. I should’ve just loaded it in the van and donated with the last batch of stuff last week. Dammit.

I visualize that bag now, ripped to shreds with clothes and shoes and shit sprawled across the filthy garage floor. Now I see the extra laundry that needs to get done and the dishes that’ll begin to pile soon as my youngest pounds a cup of water and leaves it on a shelf by the front door, far from the kitchen sink.

That’ll be the only time that cup gets used, I think as I watch her bolt for the door from which she came.

“Honey,” I say, “you need to go outside and play. Seriously, do not burst back in through that door again, do you understand me?”

She stands, frozen, staring at me. She can’t form the words she wants to say, to ask me. I want to scream, Get out, get out! Why won’t you just get out!

Maybe I do. Maybe I scream at her. Maybe she stands there, eyes welling, wondering why I’m so angry with her. She’s just discovered a bag full of fun in the garage, of course she’s excited.

But I’m writing, I’m trying to… It’s been thirty minutes and I’ve mustered one-hundred and thirty words and I’m crawling out of my skin with frustration.

If it’s not a kid, it’s my health or early menopause at thirty or it’s something else. Anything else. If I say something, anything negative no matter how real or raw, I’ve left everyone sour.

When will I write?

The clock runs out. We need to save cash for the move, his work likely won’t help even though us moving closer will mean a lot less cost in travel for them. We can’t take a base income less than what we’ve got now just to get a company to pay for our move.

Bonuses aren’t guaranteed. We can’t take that hit.

So, I’ll take it—I’ll take the hit for the betterment of our family. For the betterment of me.

I’ll take them out of after-school care and put in our two week’s notice at my youngest’s school.

And that’ll be it.

I can’t handle weekends as a mom, now every day will be like a weekend.

Am I selfish?

We need to move for a better life. Florida is not a place for a severely malnourished Celiac, but all I can think about is having a nervous breakdown because I can’t handle being a mom before we get to this Better Place.

I need the separation. I need time to myself. I, I, I.

It’ll get better. At least that’s what I tell myself. That’s what I’ve been telling myself for years...

Do you wait till your kids are older? Is that how things are supposed to work?

Sacrifice everything you want, be “The Mom” and put everything else in a box and store it away till the kids are old enough to take care of themselves.

But when is that? When is it time for you when you’re a parent?

Is that the choice you make when you have children? But what if there was never a choice. Time doesn’t stop for us either, huh?

I just want to write. Is that too much to ask for?


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