“Your children will become who you are; so be who you want them to be.” ~ Anonymous
I have always been at home around children, probably because in part I am a lot like them. I hate wearing shoes, I never mind getting dirty, I love naps in the sunshine, and seeing how high I can swing.
I tell potty jokes with the best of them and still believe in faeries and mermaids—which make me a pretty fantastic story teller.
I am definitely a kid at heart.
I knew there was never a choice as to if I would have children, because for me it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. I always felt like I was meant to be a mother.
I have two amazing little girls which are the product of my conventional period—the time in my life when I followed all the rules. I became engaged, wore the white diamond and dress, said I do, bought a home, and then subsequently felt like I had swallowed knives. I suddenly realized that this life I had at 29 was the way it could be for the next fifty or sixty years, and that thought made me want to vomit and run away to the desert; I had a plan and would fantasize about it often, but usually in the spring when my soul would begin its restless awakening, and I would feel my dreams tugging at me.
Around the time my youngest daughter was born, I had visions of my life and knew within a year my husband and I would be split up. I could see bits and pieces of my life as it would be, but it was too scary to acknowledge because it looked nothing like what I was currently living in.
I let each day come and wash over me, and I made the conscious choice on a daily basis to try to get back to who I really was. Not the woman that I had become, but who I was at 16; the one who really did have it all figured out. Or, at least she knew she had enough figured out to know she knew nothing with any certainty.
I hacked my life to pieces. I ripped it apart, and threw out anything that didn’t honor my highest self. I gave away everything that didn’t feel authentic or like it would make me a better person.
My girls were along for the ride. I worried at times that I was messing up their childhood, but what I came to see and believe is that they needed to see this transformation. I was becoming the very mother that they needed me to be, not so they go to bed each evening with their teeth brushed and hair neatly brushed, but so that they grow up listening to their soul.
They were there for my tears, the days when I felt like I had been defeated, and my soul felt crushed. But more importantly, they were there for the successes: the four-wheeling over sand dunes in the middle of summer, the skinny dipping in the middle of the day in a cool clear river.
The moments when I was living life authentically for myself.
They got to see every magnificent imperfect crazy moment, shouting out the lyrics to the songs on the radio, my wet hair whipping across my sunburned shoulders, my chin and chest sticky with watermelon juice, the dreams of a thousand nights hanging in my eyes.
They saw me in love with life.
What I realized is that living life authentically for myself is the best parenting choice I could have made for my girls.
I am not a perfect mother, but I am exactly the mother that they need me to be.
But, as much as I love my girls, and I love being a mother. I am done.
I am done with being pregnant: swollen ankles, cravings, doctors’ appointments, exhaustion, the giving up of my body to bring a life into this world.
I am done with babies. I am done with sleepless nights and breastfeeding, I don’t want to be tied to another being, required for their very survival.
I don’t want to lose myself again.
I love children, but I have no desire to have anymore. I don’t want to go backwards. I love that both my girls use the bathroom, can get themselves dressed and can get something to eat or drink if needed. The very autonomy that I had feared is the very reason I don’t want any more children. I have come to love that I am not needed as much as I was, and that they are growing more independent every day.
I also don’t want to share.
No matter how much two people love each other, having children changes the relationship. It just isn’t about two people anymore; it’s about the family. It’s not being able to talk over dinner because the baby is crying; it’s not making love because of the exhaustion from midnight feedings. It’s about losing a piece of us to give life to this new amazing little person.
And I don’t want that anymore.
I don’t want to share my lover with my children. I don’t want to not be able to get drunk off too much whiskey with him under the stars, or to not be able to straddle him in the front seat of his car and f*ck like teenagers.
I want to be selfish, and I want him all to myself.
I have two girls, and thanks to divorce and amazing grandparents, they aren’t with me all the time. I really can leave when I want, with some planning. I can have my life, my freedom, and still be the mother that I dreamed about.
I can have those amazing family moments, but also can leave them knowing they are with those that love and care for them, and I can go off and explore this amazing world.
I have dreams that my next lover will want us to feed each other gelato in Italy more than seeing me nine months pregnant with his child, that he’d rather roam the black coast of Turkey with me than go to OB appointments.
That maybe there is a man out there who is selfish too, and though he will love my girls because they are a part of me, he won’t want to share me either.
He will enjoy the moments of family as I do, but then he will be able to let his free spirit soar with mine, and we can do all of those things that we’ve thought about—all of those amazing ideas we’ve dreamed of while wrapped up in bed together.
We can make up our own rules, because we will both know that we were born to be anything but normal.
We simply can have it all…Roots and Wings.
“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.” ~ Dalai Lama
Author: Kate Rose
Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Miroslav Petrasko at Flickr