Sometimes I wish for an off button. A time where I don’t have to mother. Where I don’t have to count to three or remind my preschooler to wash his hands after he scratches his testicles.
Because that’s gross, and now you have ball sweat under your fingernails.
What’s ball sweat?
I feel like it’s hard right now. There’s always something that must be done, and my body hurts, and my stomach is hungry. But their needs are immediate, and mine can wait.
Sometimes I yell, because I’ve said it four times already to find your shoes and get into the car. Yet the shoes are unfound and the car is empty. And then my mouth opens and the words fall out, they are angry and threatening. Because I am angry.
But I press on, considering this time to be the hardest. I keep telling myself that this is hard, and soon it will be light and I’ll try to remember the hard, because I will be alone and lonely, and I’ll crave the gentle sound of a baby squealing.
Sometimes I just want to be alone in a room with my own thoughts, thoughts that are careless and wandering. What would I think of if I didn’t have small children to occupy my mind?
Would I think of travel, or new shoes, or llamas, or clouds?
I think I would think of freedom. The thought billows around my mind, and presses against my skull, looking for a way out.
Being a mom feels like wearing a chain. A chain that connects me to three little people, that I put on like a piece of jewelry, and I feel its weight on my skin. It’s heavy, although I never take it off. It connects me to their heartbeats, their words, their hands. And then I think of the great pleasure it is raising children. The discoveries, the newness, the wildness. Their world is huge, but then it isn’t. It’s this home, it’s their room, it’s the space between us when we hug and don’t let go. Where little hands wrap tighter around my neck, where their sweet voice whispers in my ear, “I love you mommy,” without prompting, because there is so much love and it can’t be held in. It must spill out, of their mouths, out of their arms, because their world is huge, and small at the same time.
I wear their love like a chain that I can never take off. Even though it’s heavy, I never want take it off. Day dreams and unfettered thoughts of llamas will just have to wait, because I’m busy bringing up babies, and babies don’t keep.