When I was a kid, I always thought I would age gracefully (I was a really weird kid). I imagined myself being a cool old lady, who was really hip and had fun hair and a sharp sense of humor and a pet poodle. I still think I’ll be like that; I absolutely think I’m going to kill it as an old lady…I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to my future style, and another dedicated just to poodles. I’m pretty eccentric, and eccentricity looks better on people who have the wisdom to back it up. I’m finding it much easier to be comfortable with my idiosyncrasies as I get older and lose more and more of the impulse to impress other people. On that front, I’m doing ok. The thing I forgot about when I was imagining myself as a rad old lady was the transition period. The one that lasts about thirty-forty years in the middle of your life; the part where you slowly creep away from your youth, and put in the real work that is the meat in your life sandwich.
Once, when my daughter was an infant, I went to the grocery store on a Saturday morning. I was twenty-nine and feelin’ fine. I hadn’t yet realized that I was an actual mother, so much as a cute girl who happened to have a baby. I forgot that people viewed me as “a mom.” I sauntered up to the express check-out lane, and saw that I was behind a bunch of bros buying beer. “Great,” I thought, “I’m so not in the mood to be hit on right now.” One of them turned, looked me up and down, and said “why don’t you go ahead, ma’am.” “MA’AM?!” Didn’t he know that just a year before I was buying beer on Saturday mornings? Didn’t he know that I was young and hot and cool? I couldn’t believe he was being such a dick! Oh, except he wasn’t. I had a baby strapped to my chest and I was just buying one thing and he was being super nice, and now I feel bad for calling him a bro. I wasn’t who I thought I was. I was a mom, with a baby who needed to get home.
Mom-life is hard, especially when you have little kids — you’re such an adult, but you still feel young. It’s an awkward transition, not unlike the many other awkward transitions in your life, but this one seems to be more fraught than most. It’s the first transition that feels like I have left my unbridled future behind. My future is totally bridled. Now that I’m three years in, I’ve mostly adjusted and am happy in this season. I am grateful to be a part of this generation, where being a mom is a part of you, but not all of you. It is nice that I can still wear cool clothes, and have a job, and be me, but it doesn’t totally prevent an identity crisis. Maybe it was especially hard for me because motherhood was thrust upon me unexpectedly, but I imagine most parents experience this to some degree. It’s hard to reinvent your life.
(Photo via: Hello Giggles)