Why Good Mothers are Selfish
I am selfish with my time these days. Since I don’t work, you would think there would be plenty of free time to fill up but there’s not. Amos has two therapy sessions most days and we try to get those done before lunch, plus a walk and we have success. I am usually guaranteed an hour during his rest time and I indulge this quiet with writing in my cozy chair and mindless television. I rarely nap myself as just doesn’t seem worth it unless I could sleep until tomorrow. I feel sure I could do this but on the rare weekend I plan to get away, I can not stand the thought of sleeping away my freedom. And so, I am tired and selfish together.
Perhaps I am justifying my own interests as it is not something I have been historically prone to do unless you count my summers spent at the beach. I do make that happen as it is so important to me to keep up the relationships that get neglected throughout the remaining ten months of the year. Generally though, I have dedicated myself to neat pantries, playground visits, nature hunts, snake finding, cheering at soccer games, PTA volunteering, teaching Sunday school and a house neat and tidy (not really clean but straight). Finding the line between giving and taking has always been tricky for me.
I have marveled at the women who can run long distances and spend their weekends and income, to enter races and run marathons in far away towns. My excuse for abstaining from this fruitful behavior was made in the name of my children. In this case, I was not interested in that amount of exercise or any, for that matter. I have never had a hobby that spoke to me and called me to make plans for a daily routine or weekends away, an activity that belonged solely to me. All mine. I used to enjoy partaking in a slushy and cigarette each evening but no more and I know that does not count as hobby, at least one you can admit at a cocktail party.
Writing jumped into my life or vice versa and suddenly I have a hobby, but am still unable to figure out the balance aspect. If I choose to write, I am choosing to not do something to benefit my family. I recognize this is perfectly fine and admirable but I know moderation and balance is a goal as well. I am selfish, utterly happy as a clam to write in the evenings as the children are reading to themselves. I am selfish, in fact I have avoided the grocery store for over a month and actually made do with the overstocked pantry and freezer from my days before the hobby. I am selfish, I don’t go to every sports event and have taken to dropping the kids off at practice or staying in the car listening to music and writing. I am selfish, so much that I have let some friendships suffer. I spend far less time talking on the phone as it occurred as I placed neatly folded laundry in the designated drawers, labeled of course. Like the grocery store, I have allowed the laundry to gather dust on the ironing board and couch in our bedroom and the children have grown used to pilfering what they need. I am selfish.
My selfishness is evident yet I feel more content and thoughtful than I have ever been. I feel like I have never been as good of a mother as I am today even if the outside of things appears messy and unorganized. The house is usually in disarray and the children chastise me to get milk while they are at school, but I am fulfilled. My selfishness contributing to the mothering soul, the largest part of myself. Some day they will grow up and I will be a writer, not just a selfish mother and so today, I swallow the guilt and follow my dreams and I hope my children will be grateful for the mother I became, perhaps an even better one than they first knew.