It’s a dirty little secret, but at some point—a mom will want to leave.
She will want to leave the comfy little nest that she worked so hard to create.
Temptation. Desire. Overcompensation. Multitasking. Coping mechanism broken. A desperation. An escape. An idea. A selfish, overwrought madwoman comes alive inside my head, promoting the idea, telling me in a whisper that maybe I should leave.
Can I be a mom with crazy—wild—thoughts? Yeah, sure, but can I be a good mom? Can I be a good mom and sometimes want to leave?
Yeah, yeah, take that car and leave. You were once a woman, remember? Only a woman, not a mother or a wife, but a woman, a woman with only your womanly needs.
What are those womanly needs again?
The whisper becomes a roar.
On some days it’s nearly impossible to silence it.
Then come the smiles woven across my children’s faces—the true reward. It cannot be bought. Those smiles silence that darn, silly woman.
The reward is love.
It is an unconditional kind of love.
It is unconditional realism painted in the choicest of colors with a mighty, bold brush—streaking across my heart, telling that roar to hush.
It is the crowd in my bed at 10 o’clock at night. There are four here right now as I write. Four. We are squished, but we have love. Mixed up, squished up, unconditional love.
Can money buy love? Can money buy anything we truly need to thrive?
My husband thinks it buys a bit of security. An appeasement. A leisure. Can it bring a better reward at the end of a long day of hard work? Can it buy the laughter in my son’s brown eyes or the dimples in my daughter’s cheeks?
Can it buy the relentless courage it takes to keep going amidst the whisper of a voice that beckons, chiding me to pack up a suitcase and leave?
What do I know about courage anyway?
“Courage,” sang the Cowardly Lion, “I’m afraid there’s no denying. I’m just a dandy-lion. If I only had the nerve.”
Nerve? Courage? Ha!
I haven’t fought in a war. I have food and shelter. I have love. Yet, the madwoman speaks.
Hush, foolish woman!
There isn’t another grass greener than the bright green I already see, and yet that stupid voice pleads—feeding the guilt and the anxiety, distracting me from me. She is a liar.
I do know something about courage. I wake up every day and I fight. It’s not a war, but I fight. As I do, I am reminded of the words spoken by an institution of American masculinity, John Wayne.
“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”
Saddle me up, Duke!
Courage is not giving up. Give me my medal, Wizard of Oz. Courage is craving the nerve. Courage is strength in the weakness.
Oh, and I am weak.
But, in the weakness, I find a strength that I never knew existed as the lone woman, the only woman. Love exists in that strength.
A smile supplants the insanity. An embrace, an “I love you” shuts off the roar. It quiets the whisper. It fills up the empty, drained reservoir.
I’ll ride my horse to infinity with my family. Yee haw!
I’ll make a new idea. I’ll create a different escape. Or maybe, just maybe, I won’t need one at all.
Maybe this moment—right now—maybe it is enough.
The leaving isn’t a reality. It’s a mistake. Reality is the kisses and the hugs and the family in my bed. It’s the 10 o’clock at night snoring, the Pandora playing Mozart on my phone, the loving, the snugging and the squishing.
It is enough.
It is my green of green grass in a sea of instability.
Author: A.R. Hadley
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Leon Fishman/ Flickr