Two years ago I finished graduate school and earned my MFA. During the final push to get my thesis completed I felt important and intensely smart. In fact, in those final months before commencement I believe I was probably the smartest that I’ll ever be. And then in one moment my role as a modern woman with a modern marriage and a modern toddler switched to 1952 so fast it hurt.
When I took off my graduation gown and when the congratulatory champagne hiccups waned, I slid into a pair of yoga pants, tied up my hair, and retired my career goals in order to be a stay at home mother. Soon I became pregnant with my second child and as deliriously happy as I was about another baby, a part of me truly worried that my dreams were slowly walking the fine line between future goal and distant memory.
In my house I am the boss. There are days when I think my four year-old might really be in charge, but all the heavy lifting for this family falls to me. I am not just a housewife; I am also other equally urgent and important people all neatly packed into one deeply flawed human being.
I am the slayer of monsters hiding in the dark. I am the cook. I am the suggestion box where complaints are logged. I am the soother of hurt feelings. I am the official Worry Wart. I am the Don’t Effing Mess With My Kid Mom. I am the best peanut butter sandwich maker in the world. I am the milk bar. I am the housekeeper and the laundry mat. I am a best friend. I am an adversary to temper tantrums. I am the finder of all lost items. I am the Timeout Police. I am the Rule Enforcer. I am the Make This Happen Right Now. I am a secret keeper. I am a shoulder for crying on, wiping snot on, falling asleep on. I am the creator of adventures. I am the referee. I am Mom. I am Wife.
I am all of these things for this small family. My many titles – that change by the minute – go unrecognized and unthanked, but I know that they are deeply felt. I know this, because these many roles I shift in and out of allow me to express love in the way it is needed the most at any particular time. Even at 2:00 o’clock in the morning. Even when I am sick. Like dying of the flu sick. Even when I just want to scream Leave Me Alone!
Motherhood is an endless opportunity to learn what loving kindness is. And sometimes, in order to absorb that life lesson it takes the ability or the willingness to jump in and out of as many different roles as possible.
Even if they aren’t convenient.