There are times when I wonder: What on earth did I have kids for?
A lot of times.
There are many days that feel so thankless, I feel I could literally walk away and never look back. Kids? What kids? And don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a parenting award, only mental sanity.
I can already hear some of you questioning, “Who is this selfish b*tch?” I get it. I’m triggering a deeply primal protective response. Feather are ruffling, so to speak.
The truth is, there are some days I don’t miss a beat when I find peanut butter smeared mysteriously on the bathroom wall, and other days when I want to throw a temper tantrum that would make my kids blush.
Some moments, for example, watching every toy being literally thrown all over the house makes me smirk. Other moments, I feel like the front of my face might blow off because I’m so frustrated from the non-stop cleaning.
Some days, I have all the patience in the world for all of the questions I can’t answer, like “Who was the first human on Earth?” or “Why is snow white?” Other days, I try not to visibly seethe at the 20th unanswerable question while muttering some stupid nonsensical answer.
Some nights, I can fulfill endless requests for more stories, water, and snacks. Other nights, I have to restrain myself from running out of the room, gritting my teeth while angrily muttering, “Go to sleep. If you don’t be quiet, I’m going to take away screen time for a week,” or some other empty threat, as Samuel L. Jackson’s voice resounds through my head “go the f*ck to sleep!”
Now, deep down I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that my soul profoundly longs to learn from these tiny angels during our short time together on earth. My personality? Not so much. She’s had to adjust and consistently re-examine where she has been misaligned in her life. She denied her own needs and ran from doing deep inner personal work.
She’s also had to reconcile with the fact that she has procreated, and her offspring are now reflecting every truth and non-truth she has within her. She watches the programming play out as they shut down or act out in certain situations and feels deeply motivated to pursue self-awareness with even greater devotion.
Yes, I’m aware that they have their own personalities and agendas. I also know that they came here incredibly pure and there are some not so pure behaviours they’ve picked up from me.
And maybe, that’s why I did choose to have kids. Maybe I couldn’t summon the courage to be a better person on my own terms. I had to do it for someone else, for the motivation factor. Fair enough.
Don’t get me wrong, most parts of my personality have embraced the tiny people in my life. Most parts see the wonderment, creativity, rawness, and the purity they embody. It’s the parts that want to run away that I’m referring to. The parts that have had many hissy fits trying to understand, “Why me?” Why did I choose this path?
On top of all the awkward personality readjustments are all of the strange projections people throw around:
“Oh, you must be so in love with your new baby! Gush, gush, dramatic sigh.”
My outer voice doesn’t have enough confidence to say:
“Actually no, I’m not. I have no idea who this tiny person is and what he’s doing with me, lady. I made a stupid decision and now I’m dealing with the consequences.”
Instead I lie and say “Oh yes, I am so in love.” More so, to get the person off my back than to be agreeable. What’s the difference, a lie is a lie is a lie.
And then I condemn myself: “Grow a backbone woman. Speak up for all the mothers and fathers who are in complete denial that having a baby may have been the worst mistake they’ve ever made. Speak up for yourself.”
When we admit the truth to ourselves and others, it allows us the space to move beyond guilt and social expectations. It allows us the luxury of saying maybe I have made a mistake and maybe not. Maybe I just need some time to myself to remember who I am.
As loudly as I can hear the parents yelling who the hell is this selfish b*tch, I can also hear the self-righteous spiritual people snidely remarking that’s exactly why they did not have kids. They don’t need the experience. They are so enlightened they understand that procreation leads to suffering. Or they’re in denial of their needs. And no, that’s not my jealousy talking. Either way, there’s a reason why the Buddha left his family and was enlightened afterwards. He didn’t have a child demanding something of him every few seconds, and he had the head space to see ultimate reality. And apparently, Jesus Christ knew better from the get go.
All joking aside, either way you slice it, kids or no kids, we all draw in teachers throughout our lives to teach us the lessons we came to learn. Whether you chose that teacher in a tiny form or a fully grown form makes absolutely no difference. Dead or alive, enlightened or unenlightened, take your pick. The answers are all within and our teachers, young or old, are simply there to help illuminate our path.
So as non-parents and parents alike, let’s allow ourselves the space to explore what being free feels like. Completely free. To explore what the truth feels like. To be raw and honest with what our needs are. And let’s schedule that into our day, religiously.
Let’s give ourselves the space to lovingly ask, “What do I need?” You would effortlessly offer that to someone else. Why not yourself?
Let’s take a moment, put guilt on the back burner for a while, and be completely absorbed in being with ourselves. To reflect. To regroup. To remember how much we can love.
When our needs are met, we can then proceed like the Zen masters we know we are, like the Buddha, like J.C., with infinite love, compassion, and knowingness.
Author: Lindsay Pugh
Image: David Salafia/ Flickr and Courtesy of author
Editor: Deb Jarrett