Hi, welcome to the honest truth.
I realized last week while writing a lengthy email one afternoon that got guillotined in cyber-ho*mail-hell, that I have a hard time accepting my reality as a mother and wife with a dog and cat because I had envisioned my life as something different from a young age. I envisioned my life to include a cat and maybe a significant other here and there or forever. That way, I could have all the freedom I wanted to do anything. I could do all the plays I could fit into my schedule. I could dance as many nights (not that kind!) as I wanted to make time for. If I wanted to take watercolor classes, I could. I could continue an academic career and life. You get the picture.
You all know how much I admire my mom, and I mean all of this in the most loving, and flattering way possible, Mom. Well, somehow along the way, I decided that the only way I could accomplish everything that I wanted in life, which has morphed over the years, was to be single with a cat. Having a single, independent mom influenced my life. We always had a cat, or two, or three, but always one main cat and a stray or two. My mom accomplished a lot while raising me. She worked full-time. She got an MBA. Then she started working on an Arts degree and then a Master’s in Communications. I think I admired her freedom and her ambition, something I mirrored when I got to high school and college. Praise the stars, well, in some ways. I don’t know if the burn out at the end was worth me working THAT hard. (I earned my B.A. in English when I was 19, almost 20.) I also can’t say that it has paid off to have worked so hard yet – for me. I can say that a crazy-busy life feels normal for me.
Well, during all this craziness that my mom and I lived in with our cats, she had romantic relationships here and there, but she didn’t seem to need them. She had her independence, her freedom, and other significant relationships that trumped romantic ones. The cats made us happy, too. Does this paint any picture of how I admired her life and the way she lead it? I always wanted to be like her. I hear that I am like her in a lot of ways. (Yes!) I am a product of my parents – the good, the bad, the everything.
Let me bring this back around to my preconceived notion that I have fought over the last 8 years now in an attempt to accept my reality – finally. Well, I ended up living with a boyfriend, now called Hubby. I expected the living together part, but not the getting married part. This all happened within a couple years of graduating college. After 5 years of marriage, we had a child, also not expected, causing further emotional and mental anguish for me. And I didn’t enjoy the first two years of mothering, so put that in the “Accept Your Reality” column, too. Also, my pregnancy caused me to leave an active, fulfilling performance life in theatre and dance and my then-latest hobby, ice skating. I was about 3 months pregnant when the last play I performed in ended its run. I felt some resentment. I think Hubby was excited because having a child would Rapunzel me. I wouldn’t have the freedom to do my arts and be away from home. He’d have me locked up with him the way he’d wanted it from the beginning. (I’m super-social. He’s super-not. It causes me to feel Rapunzeled. I digress.)
I looked at life the last few years as this: ‘I have a husband, a good man. I should feel fulfilled, but I don’t.’ Then when Little Guy came, I added ‘I have a child, and I should feel fulfilled, but I don’t.’ I kept looking at it like I was on this path that wasn’t supposed to be mine because it felt so far away from living that single, fulfilled life with my cat that I had wrapped with care in purple silk in my mind. Now, I look at my life with more acceptance, even if it’s new. This is my life. I have my cat, my soul-cat. I have significant relationships that fulfill me. I will accomplish everything I want to and that I set my mind to. My mom did all that stuff I mentioned above and had me as her bonus along with it. In my life, the husband and the child and the dog are just bonuses on my way to feeling acceptance and fulfillment in my life. They’re like finding two prizes in a box of Cracker Jack, instead of one. You expect one prize. Finding a second is icing on the cake.