Thursday, October 14, 2010

Selfish Day

I used to be so selfish.

Most young people are, but I really did think the world revolved around me the first decades of my life. I was the youngest sibling in my family by 11 years, so I had my parents pretty much to myself. Not only that, but I was the youngest grandchild on both sides of the family; I was the proud recipient of a lot of my two grandmothers' praise and affection. They all indulged me. Such is the life of the baby of the family.

I was not necessarily spoiled (we weren't well-off financially enough for that) but I didn't really have to think too much about how my actions or inaction impacted others. I didn't have to share toys, clothes, TV time, or a bedroom. My schedule could be as jam-packed or as open as I wanted it to be without having to worry about my mom accommodating another kid's activities. When I wanted to come home and nap for 2 hours, I came home and napped for 2 hours. When I needed to stay at school until 9pm, I stayed at school until 9pm. Any snacks in the house were fair game, and if I took the last Little Debbie Fudge Round, no one was going to be offended. I worried only about my own needs. Looking back, I know that when I got to college I was a bad roommate because of this. I'm sorry, girls. At least I didn't keep any exotic pets (other than Jason.)

Then I married, and then I had a child. There are some people who stay self-centered after they have children; you know who these people are because you hear about them in the news. These are the mothers who get DUIs while their kids are in the car, or who get charged with endangerment because they left their 7- and 5-year-old home alone while they went clubbing, and in the worst of cases, the ones who kill their children and try to stage it as a missing child. But most of us start forgetting who we are the day those precious little creatures burst forth Alien-like from our wombs. Just like people used to believe that the earth was the center of the universe until a man named Galileo said this wasn't so, we mothers eventually realize that we are just another piece of cosmic rock orbiting something greater than ourselves.

I thought things would get easier as Ainsley got older. I can't wait until she is able to go to the bathroom on her own! I thought when she was still in diapers. I can't wait until we don't have to plan our afternoons around her nap time! I thought when she still needed an after-lunch snooze every day. I can't wait until I no longer have to be at her swimming lessons/basketball practices/church children's activities with her and can just drop her off and go shopping, work out, sit at home and read...

It didn't work out that easily. And oh, what I wouldn't do for just one more Saturday afternoon where Ainsley really, really needs a nap after lunch.

Every now and then, you have to cry out, "Enough!"
I am not here today to complain. I've done that before. A lot. Here's what I do want to do: institute a day of selfishness for moms. Just one day a year when we live like we did when we were selfish little kids who knew our parents' world mostly revolved around us. No, Mother's Day does not count. If we're lucky, we still have mothers of our own we want to make feel special that day, and that day can end up being as action-packed as any other Sunday of the year.

What I want, and I know I can't be alone, is one entire day where I have nothing on my "to-do" list. At least, nothing that can't be put off without the world caving in. I don't want to have to be a chauffeur, a cook, a maid, an event planner. I don't want to be needed for anything. I just want to BE. To wake up, look out my window, and let the day carry me somewhere instead of the other way around. If I want to exercise, I'll go exercise. If not, I'll take a nap. If I want a massage, or a pedicure, then I'll do that without worrying that the world will stop turning on its axis without me there to direct the spin. If I want to go to a wine tasting, or a book signing, or go meditate in a park, I can do that, too. On Selfish Day, any or all of these things are possible; someone will watch the kid and the laundry pile while I'm gone, and when I come back everyone will want to drop everything at a moment's notice to go frolic in the backyard or perform a song on Rock Band.

I want just one day where it's all about me. Don't you?

It will take some work, though, and maybe that's what will hold us back. We'd have to get sitters, make appointments, break appointments, and clear schedules. But I'm committed to doing this, and that right soon. My mental health depends on it. I am craving free time like a man in a desert craves water.

Who's with me?

1 comment:

Melmart said...

your childless friend would like a day like that too! and we can run away together if you'd like. I think I know of a few places we can go. i've been wanting to go wander around some woods somewhere.