Last week I was looking at my son and had this moment of feeling completely and utterly in love with him. The feeling was overwhelmingly soft and beautiful. I wanted to cuddle him in my arms for the rest of the evening, perhaps never letting go.
Then I farted and the feeling passed.
Ok… ok… that was just crass. The thing is… I am just not that sappy kind of mom. I’ve never been. For years I thought I wasn’t that kind of mom because I started my mom-hood at 19. I was too young, too stupid, too caught up in myself to really appreciate all of the sweet little moments and great joys of being a mom.
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Turns out, age had nothing to do with it. I’m just not that kind of mom.
I’m not the kind of mom that gushes over her children and their accomplishments. I don’t tear up over first steps or save first hair cut clippings. When they fall and get hurt I’m not sensitive to their pain, saying “poor baby” and kissing their boo boos. I never once sat quietly nursing any of my babies watching them lovingly. I refer to my kids as assholes and jerks when they’re being assholes and jerks. I may post sweet pictures with sentimental captions, but it’s only surface deep. My real captions in life are much more sarcastic and dark. I’ve been known to laugh (and have possibly taken pictures) when my kids have fallen.
What’s more, I don’t love this stay-at-home mom gig, spending nearly every moment with my kids. I’ll be the first to admit that all of the moments that pass are stepping stones to the end goal of “Alive and 25.” Yes, I do miss when they were little, but I really love that they are growing older and more independent. I look forward to the day that they have all become adults and are off living amazing lives with their own families and friends.
Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m not sentimental. For example there was a post in one of my homeschool groups asking “What do you love about homeschooling” and there were all of these amazing answers about truly getting to watch children grow and learn, and getting to spend time with the kids because their childhoods are such a small fraction of their lives. I really felt guilt that while I might *say* that kind of stuff, I really didn’t *feel* it.
I feel guilty. I worry that people will think I don’t love my kids. I worry that other people will hear me- my true me- and feel sorry for my kids that they don’t have this great relationship with their mom. I worry about what other people think about me.
I’m not just guilty though. I’m afraid. I’m afraid to tell people that being a mom isn’t all that amazing for me. I’m afraid to ask for help with my kids when I feel like I just can’t handle them. I’m afraid to take a much-needed break. I don’t want to sign them up for preschool or regular school because I don’t want to fail them by not loving my every moment with them.
But I don’t think I’m alone. I think a lot of moms feel the way I do. I think a lot of moms suffer through their stress in silence because they, too, are afraid. I think a lot of us make decisions out of fear that do not support our emotional and mental needs. We ignore what’s inside us because we are trying to appear to be what’s expected of us. We don’t ask for help when we desperately need it.
So, where do we go from here?
I guess first I have to admit it. Out loud. Apparently to the world.
I AM NOT A SENTIMENTAL MOM.
There. I’ve said it. Now you all know.
I also need to feel confident that my lack of sentimentality in no way reflects the depth of feelings I have for my children. I love them. I love each and every one of them. I love who they are. I love who they are becoming. I love that they have blessed my life. I will protect them with every ounce of my being. I will hold them when they need me. I am their mother.
And I am a damn good mother, even without sentimentality.
I have to let go of my worry about what other people think. Ultimately, the only opinions that matter are the opinions of my children. Do they know that I love them? Do they know that I am here for them? Do they think I am a good mother? If they can answer yes, then what do I care what anyone else thinks?
Most importantly, I need to let other moms know that it’s ok to not be the TV mom. It’s ok that we don’t savor every moment with our children. You are not alone. I am not alone. Together we can (and should) support each other. We can laugh at each other, sarcastically deal with our children together, and at the end share a glass of wine (or 4) to celebrate that the kids have made it. Alive and 25!