Some friends and I were chatting and the the above meme card came up, which has been posted around Facebook, and we discovered that we were unanimously annoyed with the implied sentiment. Listen up ladies, this isn’t the 1950’s! Your goal in life no longer has to be landing a husband so you can spend the rest of your life finding shoes to compliment your newest apron or dedicate yourself solely to dispensing little humans out of your vagina like Pez. Supposedly, the sky is the limit–okay, well the glass ceiling is the limit (wink, wink). You can go to college, and not just for your M.R.S. degree. You can have a career. You can have an active social life and go out with friends. The world is your oyster! That is, until you have a child. At that point, you are only supposed to concern yourself with all things mommy. You are allowed to go back to work BUT only if you NEED the income. I’m sure there is a meme card somewhere that says, “Sorry I quit my job and can’t afford my mortgage, I was busy being an awesome mom!” If your combined household income affords you material purchases like designer handbags or new furniture, you’re not putting your child first. Awesome moms don’t care if the garage apartment is furnished with fabric covered crates, as long as she can spend every waking moment staring at the fruits of her womb. What do you mean Jane called and wants to have a girl’s night out? You’re a mommy! Unless Jane is wanting to meet up at mommy and me yoga or the La Leche League luncheon, what is the point? Don’t you know, when good mommies have babies, their selfish desires and personal need for things like social interaction not related to children is expelled with the placenta? Everyone knows that any mother that would be willing to abandon her child for any amount of time for selfish endeavors like work or socializing with friends or, dare I even say it, imbibe in an adult beverage with other adults is negligent, if not completely unfit.
Here is my confession: This may come as a total shock to some of you but being a mom, in and of itself, does not always make me feel completely fulfilled and blissful. I know that the sanctimommy handbook says that I shouldn’t want anything beyond birthing, breastfeeding and wiping shit from a litter of baby asses but, for some reason, I need to get away from time to time. As much as one would think that watching the school themed episode of Blue’s Clues for the 14th time today would never get old. It does. I know it’s hard to imagine that explaining to a toddler for the 20,134th time why poop goes in the potty and not in his pants could ever get annoying but, believe it or not, it does. I know when I tell people that the wake up, make breakfast, nap time battle, house keeping, bath and bed time routine can get monotonous and mundane, they stare at me in utter disbelief. Alas, I don’t find it as riveting as other moms claim. Look, I love my children. I’ve never loved anything more in all my life. I would literally give my life for any one of them without a moment’s hesitation. They make me laugh every single day. At times, though, they make me consider which kitchen gadget would be best suited for rendering myself completely deaf. That thought ultimately always leads me to my electric wine opener, at which point I reconsider because it is a bad ass wine opener and I’d hate to ruin it so, instead, I decide to call a friend or two and put it towards its intended use.
Wake up and smell the mimosa! Achieving awesomeness in the mommy department doesn’t require women to sacrifice friends and a social life. I can be a great mother and a great friend. I can be a good mother and still have a social life. If your cup of tea is spending every moment of every day holding or hovering over your children and your idea of socializing with friends is instagramming your latest dinner creation, who am I to judge? If you aspire to be the “perfect mom”, good luck with that goal. A little secret, though: There is no such thing. I’ll settle for being a pretty good mom, well, most of the time. Sometimes, I am just an “okay” mom. Whether I’m tired, irritated or, at times, overwhelmed, I have my bad days. Usually, I find it is quickly cured with nothing more than a couple of phone calls or texts to decide who’s providing the porch and who is bringing the wine. I like to spend time with my friends. These nights allow me to decompress. I get to be around adults. I get to talk about adult things. Our drinks don’t need to be punctured with a tiny straw; they need cork screws and everyone can pour their own. A night with the girls is the best and cheapest therapy available. We open a bottle of wine or four and talk, gossip and laugh. Truth be told, very little of our conversation centers around our children now that I think about it. We may tell a funny story or two about something they said or did but then it is on to the other topics like husbands and the latest gossip. Stories will be told about husband fights and we’re going to tell each other when we we’re on the right side of the fight and totally wrong and acting like a spoiled ass. We drink, we laugh, we curse, we vent, we bitch. Karaoke is often involved, even if we are just singing along at the top of our lungs to someone’s play list. Usually, when I get home, my cheeks are almost sore from laughing and, somehow or another, my children are sound asleep, oblivious to and unfazed by my adults only play date.
Moms: There is nothing wrong with you if you want to spend time away from your children. Being a great mom doesn’t require you to sacrifice your identity as an individual. I am a mother but that is not the only thing that defines me. I am more than just a mom. These times, with my friends, serve as a reminder of that. We support one another through everything; the trials of parenting, fights with our husbands, losing a member of our wine gang and my best friend, Misty, to ALS. We can’t always drop what we’re doing and meet on the patio but we have all proven our ability to one another to come through in a pinch. At the end of the day, these girls and the time we spend together centers me. My marriage and my family are my top priorities but I also make my friends a priority. I am actually a much better mother because I have them in my life. Is there really any such thing as having too much support? I am a good mom. Having and spending time with friends, doing things that don’t revolve around my children, doesn’t change that. I’ll go so far as to say it makes me a better mom.