Every mother talks about it at one time or another, how much their lives change in so many ways once they have children. The aspect that creeps up on us unexpectedly though is the embarrassing fact that most of us become a contributing member of “The Out-Crowd”.
I did not realize how deeply entrenched I was in the “out-crowd” until I consistently replied to my childless friends questions of “what’s been going on?” with a sheepish “not much”. My “not much” could not have been farther from the truth. While I was doing basically the same thing in roughly the same order every day, I was far from doing “not much”. However, my “free time” was primarily the area of which I wanted to keep secret.
The things that I get excited about now are far from cool or what I would have been interested in pre-kids. In fact, pre-kids, I would have cynically laughed at the life of mothers and how I would never become one like “that” when I became a mother…I would keep my “cool”.
I have definitely lost my cool. This realization hit me hard one day as I drove dinner to a friend who had just had her second child. I pulled into her driveway and as I got out of my minivan wearing my velour jump suit, I opened the door to retrieve the dinner dish and Disney princess music was blaring out of it. I might as well confess that I was passionately singing along to the music on the drive over to her house. I looked at my friend and with a half-smile said, “I’ve lost my cool, assuming I ever had it”. She laughed because she’s lost hers too and only a fellow mother gets that it is virtually impossible to hold on to.
The things that now occupy our time and make us excited are now the things we hide from anyone but our fellow mothers. For example, coupon-ing and how much we saved on a particular shopping trip, how great our new vacuum cleaner is, the little or extra sleep we got the night before, the new park being built up the street, a new crock pot recipe, etc.
At times, the drudgery of motherhood is overwhelming, and missing out on the excitement over live music, late nights (on purpose), cool clothes, or philosophical conversations over a cocktail is enough to bring us down. Luckily, just talking about this fact with a fellow mother recently got us both almost into hysterics laughing at this reality. For that laugh, I am thankful.
Life with young children is definitely challenging but there are plenty of moments that I would like to push “pause” and savor each moment because it is so fleeting. I know that my “cool” is waiting patiently for me in the future and I hope that I am still attracted to it when I get there. For now, I will likely still say “not much” the next time one of my hip, childless friends asks “what’s been going on?” but I have to admit, life in the “out-crowd” is pretty cool.