I never doubted that I wanted to be a mother. Motherhood was my true north, my guiding light throughout my teens and my 20s, the thing I knew I was destined to do and that I would be really good at. Lately, however, as I observe the sun setting on my 30s, I’ve been wondering why I was so certain, because it is definitely not what I thought it would be. And I’m starting to suspect I actually suck at it.
My third and final child has begun kindy, and while it was emotional for a fleeting moment, mostly it’s been a joyous event. On that first day Matilda was at kindy, I skipped about the house, giggling and giddy.
My unbridled joy at child-lessness has confirmed the notion that has been sneaking up on me for a few years – the realisation that I’m not the kind of mother I thought I would be. I’m not the earth mother who adores being surrounded by scads of kids, making demands on my time, my soul, my patience.
And now I’m left wondering if I’m actually a failure as a mother. Not only am I a million miles from what I imagine to be the perfect mother, I’m actually someone who selfishly, secretly wishes her kids were off her hands so she could pursue her own activities.
Before we get too deep into this pity party, I’m not suggesting that I neglect my children. I don’t. I happily and willingly bake for their lunchboxes, make sure all their uniforms are clean and folded in their cupboards, supervise homework, make sure library books don’t get lost and I volunteer in the classroom.
I’m not one teensy tiny bit sad that my youngest is at kindy and I’m already counting down the year until she’s in Prep and I get even more days to myself.
I want time to write.
I want to clean the house in the morning and know that it will stay clean and tidy for several hours!
I want to watch Days of Our Lives.
I want to have lunch with my girlfriends without kids knocking their water over the table and demanding their nuggets be peeled of the crumb coating. And then demand the crumbs be put back on.
I want time to be me.
For just a few uninterrupted hours I don’t want to be someone’s mother.
I don’t want to be someone’s wife.
I don’t want to be anything to anyone that further contributes to the feeling that I’ve lost myself, my own identity.
Not permanently. I’m not talking about abandoning my family. I love my family. But I feel like the past seven years have been a loooooong losing struggle. I’ve been struggling to get the housework done, struggling to find time to exercise, struggling to find time to see family, struggling to find time for my personal projects.