I was fortunate enough to get out of the house to attend a social engagement today; a morning tea fundraiser. It’s not my usual thing, but I’m not one to pass up the opportunity since I am normally house-bound and complaining about it.
I only knew a couple of people at the event, which was fine enough, I am happy to make small talk with anyone. But what struck me was just how much everyone talked about their children. I understand this. I understand people’s need to find a common thread and stick to it like glue, particularly in new social situations where people are unfamiliar. It is easy to stick to the common ground; it’s safe and unthreatening. But for me, who was SO glad to be out socially just as an adult, not a mother, it was a letdown.
Sure, I could prattle on about my kids for two hours, but I didn’t want to. Why were my children continuing to define me, even when I had executed a well crafted plan to leave them at home with Dad? Did none of the people at the event appreciate how much effort went into arranging for my children to stay home? The hostess even asked me why I didn’t bring them as other guests had brought along their young children. I mumbled something about Master 4 being unwell (which was true) and that I was happy to get out by myself. It seemed a strange concept to those present.
Then I began to second-guess myself. I began to wonder about why I did not hold true to the motherhood ideals of eternal suffering for the betterment of my children. This is part of the reason I started this blog in the first place. It is possible to love your children and still want to get the hell away from them as much as you can. I do put myself out for the betterment of my children but I do it because it is good for them not because I enjoy it. I continue to rail against the relentlessness of motherhood nonetheless. It’s a paradox I cannot fathom.
So I took a deep breath and joined in to the conversation about how many months between each child, the funniest thing they’ve done lately and nodded at the ‘ooohhhhhs’ and ‘ahhhhhhs’ associated with stating I have three boys aged four and under. I ate cake. I drank coffee. I tried not to feel like an imposter.
I enjoyed myself but wouldn’t have minded a decent political debate or at least obtained an opinion more substantial than where to get the best deal on nappies and who’s the best teacher at the local primary school.
I brought a plate of cupcakes home and shared them with my boys. They loved it and I loved seeing their faces light up when they saw me (you’d think I’d been gone for weeks!). Or maybe they were pleased to see the cupcakes!