I’m not dead.
Do you ever feel that way, new mom? That you are invisible? That you don’t matter? That it’s silly to even try to do anything beyond the bare minimum it takes to get through the day?
I sometimes think about planning a trip or attempting to make new friends or organizing a date night with my husband or applying for a bigger job or starting a creative project and I become so overcome with the effort these things will take that I go back to looking at my iPhone (my happy place).
A lot of Moms I know have the sign, “We can do hard things.” This (I believe) comes from Glennon Doyle Melton and her site, Momastery. And I totally get why this is a rallying cry for millions of wives and mothers around the world. I get it.
But I see this sign and think, “If I could really do hard things, I would be a mom AND a neuroscientist.”
My new call to arms is, “I’m not dead.” Because — and this is the crazy thing — I need reminding of this fact. That even though I’m living and breathing and typing this thing right now, I have to remember this is the case. Because, as any mother knows, as your children get older, you seem to get smaller.
It’s weird because I used to dream big. It’s what I liked best about myself. That I had this unchecked ambition and drive. I felt I had things to offer the world besides organizing sock drawers and meal planning. (I will pause here to say, no, I’m not depressed; I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m just currently entrenched in a parenting-to-small-children fox-hole. If I had the energy to apply Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to my current situation, I would.)
So this is what I think when I get an invite to go out to dinner with a friend in the city: “Why not? I’m not dead.” When a job opportunity presents itself. “Why not? I’m not dead.” Planning a weekend away with the kids? “Why not? I’m not dead.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired. Of course I’m tired. But I’m not dead. There’s a difference.
And you know what? It works. It’s the kick I need to reconnect with my old self. The self that did things. And who felt that the world was there for the taking.
As long as it means I still get to go to bed by 9:30.