I have been guilty, particularly this year, of allowing myself to wallow in discontent. I have too often denied myself the simplicity of accepting where I am in life, and instead decide I wish I were elsewhere.
This pertains to motherhood for me as well. I wanted Jude more than I had allowed myself to admit before he was born. But over the past year, I found journal entries and random unfinished blog posts mentioning kids again and again. The theme was subtle because I was surprised how often I had written about wanting to be a mother without really noticing that it was quite an intense desire.
But when Jude got here, I lost myself. I found myself several times as well, but I mostly assigned myself ridiculous guidelines of when I should "have my shit together" and I kept missing them. I kept not being able to do the things that other mothers were getting to do. I couldn't enjoy long or healthy walks with Jude because he wouldn't stay in a stroller. I couldn't shower while he napped and take time for myself because he napped irregularly and sometimes not at all. I couldn't make my life look like a picture in a magazine, I guess. And I just couldn't stop hating myself for being so undone by motherhood. I wanted people to look at me and believe I was meant for this. But all I felt was that people pitied me and felt sorry for me, and perhaps even for Jude by proxy, because his mom was a whacko.
I'm still tempted to be disappointed in myself for ALLOWING the monster of perfectionism and comparison to steal so much of the joy I could have harbored inside my crooked little heart. Instead, I let criticism and self-doubt build a kingdom there. I'm still tempted to make all sorts of excuses for why I am a crazy pants Momma. But I think I will turn off the shame generator for a moment and stop justifying my every decision.
I was driving today, BY MYSELF, miracle of miracles and listening to The Lumineers. And when they sang, "I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart," I realized I was exactly where I was supposed to be, neuroses and all.
I turned 30 yesterday. And when I look at my life I can see where there is room for disappointment. I don't have any kind of career. I haven't produced anything well-written in a context outside blogging. I haven't even taken all those month-by-month pictures of Jude where he is in the same place with a little number next to him. I am only slightly less gigantic than I was before I gave birth. There are just so many things I could choose to dwell on, to choose to mourn my lack of.
But I'm not. I'm happy with my 30 years. The 29th was definitely a roller coaster, but what a thrill. I'd say I'm well over my 30 year quota for being loved, feeling treasured, and truly known by my husband and my family and friends. Over the travel-the-world quota, too. I've already seen a lot more than many people twice my age have or people younger ever will. And I've busted the meter that measures the precious, cute, overwhelmingly adorable factors for offspring. Seriously. Jude just broke that meter into a million pieces. There is no measure.
So however often I've felt out of place, behind, out of my mind, and undone, I've always been exactly where I should be. I belong here, with my husband and my son. And my crazy, over-analytical, under-exercised, highly caffeinated, beautifully imperfect self. Ho hey.