It’s loud in here. So loud. There is some bouncing adventure game happening in the living room, full of vague, change-as-they-go rules and many acrobatics. Hard to follow. Hard to hear over.
Glass of wine in hand, I walk into the bedroom. “Dinner’s in the oven. Dishes are all yours. I’ll be studying.” Eight hours of work for me. Not sure how many for him – it started early, ended late, was disrupted countless times by the needs and desires and demands of small humans. Now it’s dinner, it’s homework for the grad school program that feels like it’s dragged on forever (albeit in fast-paced and grueling eight-week increments), it’s bedtime negotiations and suddenly realizing neither of us remembered to pick up kids’ toothpaste. Then tired, fall into bed I love you’s, before we do it again tomorrow, and the day after that.
Upstairs, our closest friends – the know you a little too well, better or worse kind of friends – are returning home from the weekend away. Soon it won’t just be our floor that’s loud, chaotic, and demanding.
In the seconds between closing the oven and opening my laptop, the realization washes over me, for the thousandth time and the first: This is, truly, the best life gets. It’s not, Hey, this is a good life. Hey, I can be happy here. Hey, I can work with this.
It’s so, so far beyond that.
This is a life the fills other people with longing.
And, more importantly . . .
I forget that way too often.
A confession: I bristle at the posts and memes and poems about how they won’t be little forever, let the laundry sit, just keep rocking them gently mama. No, “bristle” is an understatement. I have a visceral, angry, STFU reaction. Don’t tell me to love this. This is crazy and I’m tired and it kind of sucks. Eff your mommy sanctimony and your rocking chair, too.
I'm right and they're wrong and oh man I am so tired and at the end of the day / week / month the laundry still needs to get sorted by somebody.
So forgive me, please, if my drive to acknowledge and validate the difficulties of modern-day motherhood causes me to lose sight of the beauty and the privilege of it.
Forgive me, because the reality is, this life meets my needs and my dreams and it satisfies my longings for meaning beyond anything I could have hoped for.
All those years I spent thinking it was a question of either / or. Motherhood or career. Work or school. Passion or commitment.
There was no either / or in play. Somebody made that up, and we fell for it, because we were tired.
You guys. There are so many things worse than tired.
Turns out we can have our cake. And we can eat it. We can, in fact, have it all . . . and it will always be inescapably exhausting and overwhelming. Also, it will usually be loud.
And it will always, still, every single moment, be worth it.