If you’re a middleaged woman and have teenage children, you may be in serious trouble. Please consider the following scenario, then read the questions carefully and answer to the best of your ability. Try not to panic until you’ve answered them all.
“Yes, Jim. The Queen of Europe. It was one really giant oligarchy…”
I submit to you more proof, if you need it, that it is the children in my life who have caused me brain damage and the inability to function like a contributing member of society. (Actually, shoot… since I came first, maybe I’ve caused them brain damage.) This conversation took place between Lizzie and my son’s friend, Jim, as I drove Liz to an evening event at school. (Note: Jim’s name has been changed to protect the “innocent,” youth. But Jim, you know who you are. You are not blameless in this situation, even though you often empty the dishwasher for me.) Continue reading
When I wrote the other day that I’m not actually a grown-up, I was surprised (and delighted) that so many of you claimed to have the same problem, and I felt a little better. Then I found this draft of a blog post I wrote a year or so ago, and felt a lot better, because I realized there’s a reason I have a hard time behaving like an adult: it’s because my family has given me brain damage. Continue reading
After I began writing this, I clicked away from the page to read a text. When I clicked back to the word doc, it was blank. My well-thought-out opening paragraphs were not there. Why? Because I hadn’t actually written them. I’d composed them only in my head, though I kind of remembered writing them… Now, as a mature (hah!) woman of 49, I find myself increasingly concerned with what it means to be a grownup, and I wonder if spending so much time living life in my head proves I’ve never achieved adulthood. Have you? Cause I think I’m missing some adult section of my brain that most of you possess. Continue reading
Quick background: Liz and I went for a drive today to listen to Disney music and sing (we’re actually both 6) when the song Under the Sea from Little Mermaid came on. In the song, the crawfish/lobster guy, Sebastian, is singing about his “hot crustacean band” and all its members. Liz heard the line “each little snail ear*, know how to wail here…” and she wondered why Sebastian is singing about snails’ ears. As a singer, she needed to know the truth about this – she might need the details for, say, a test in later life. In case any of you other musicians aren’t familiar with this obscure but important time in the history of music, here it is (as told by me to Lizzie via text):
One of the reasons parenting is so exhausting, in addition to all the usual running around, is that you’re giving your all (and then some) to teach your kids how to live. I was struck by this thought today: it’s all up to Paul and me. Yes, other people come into play: grandparents, friends, teachers, other people in the line at Starbucks. But for the most part, the shaping of their character — the teaching of right from wrong — is in our hands. With newborn babies, our main job is simply keeping them alive. But later on? You have to teach them how to be.
It seems we’re bombarded daily with inspirational quotes and mothering advice columns that encourage us to take time for ourselves by having a bubble bath or a massage. A bubble bath is nice on occasion, but I get bored in about 10 minutes, and personally, I find it comfier to read in bed with my seven pillows than in a slick tub. Also, bubbles make a scummy mess. And massages are great, but I need a LOT more than one hour to recharge. In fact, ever since the kids were born, I have felt guilty about how much time I seem to want (need?) for myself. Those encouraging articles always suggest taking time “every now and then.” But I want a chunk of time to myself DAILY. In fact, I want a regularly repeating bunch of consecutive hours to do what I want without guilt, without questions to answer or obligations to fulfill. And I finally realized why I need so much of this: it appears I have very few consecutive grown-up days in me before I feel myself reverting back to a kid again. I can’t help it. It’s just a fact. Continue reading