I like to think that I'm well-read. I say that because I'm mostly not well-read. . . and because I would be well-read if I had any free time. Which I don't. I'm a Mom. Of four. I don't think further explanation is required. I can fall asleep at seven in the evening, on my laptop, seven seconds after sitting down to be productive.
Reading is a faint memory of my youth. I feel a twinge of regret that it's been years since I've soaked in literary masterpieces like To Kill a Mockingbird (admittedly one of my favorites).
I also feel a little bit sad that I no longer have time to scrapbook or the bladder control to kick around a soccer ball. I feel disappointed that my talent behind a camera is more frequently used for the benefit of relative strangers than for brilliantly beautiful images of my own growing babies. Life is chaotic and there's plenty to feel repentant over.
Really, I see where you're coming from. Being a mother has transformed my relatively carefree life full of hobbies and personal enjoyment into a land laced with chaotic exhaustion too. Trust me, I get it. But I hope to never hear another mother complain of the past she lost or her current situation of regret and despair.
Every regret I have is temporary. One day I'll have time to scrapbook again. I'll have hours to sit and read. And maybe, after a successful surgery, my bladder will hold out for a wild, pick-up game of soccer with the other neighborhood grandmas.
But right now I have a beautiful life full of amazing people that I'm responsible for, so in contrast to the few inconveniences I experience, I really don't feel any sincere regret.
I don't regret that the bookshelves and beds in this house are littered with these:
I'm part of the movement to make Dr. Seuss posthumously famous . . . and rich. But I've never felt an ounce of sorrow that the words read on a page rhyme or are devoid of any adjectives longer than three letters. The twinkle in the eyes of my listeners makes up for it. So does the fact that one day, my little people will be soaking in their own To Kill a Mockingbirds.
I don't regret that I've already had to stop typing this twice to rock a sick, little baby back to sleep. I don't regret a single time that I've let the dishes sit in the sink in answer to a request from a sweet, five year old that I lay with him for awhile. I've never been sorry that I helped with homework or washed little socks.
I don't regret my awful pregnancies or the throwing up or kidney stones. I would let my bladder fall out again if it meant the safe arrival of my first baby boy. And that's exactly what it meant. I don't regret the sleepless nights or the swollen ankles. I don't regret one second of the never ending exhaustion that I can feel deep into my bones, even now.
I don't regret the fact that my seven year old asks me to buy him new notebooks more often than he needs new socks and underwear because he loves to write like his mom . . . about anything and everything. I don't regret that my children have learned to be compassionate towards others or that they thrive off of learning new things.
I don't regret any of the hours I've sat and watched (or coached) baseball or soccer or dance. I'd do it again . . . although I will say that I might think twice about wearing my 6 month old on my chest as I coached/reffed my boys' soccer game this past fall. There is something about that scenario that has rendered my back very unforgiving.
My point is, I don't regret any of what I've gained from what I lost. Regret implies sorrow. Regret means you feel repentant. Even the thought of that makes me cringe.
I don't regret my motherhood. I'm not sorry for any sacrifice I've had to make for my children. I don't regret the things that, from the outside, look inconvenient because from the inside, they're the only things that matter.
So moms, please, remember that this exhaustion actually does have an end. Remember that someday you're going to wish you were cuddling your babies again instead of scrapbooking about it. Remember that Dr. Seuss was just as talented as Harper Lee . . . things for you aren't worse, they're just different. Remember that dishes can wait, but babies can't. Remember that the person you were is insignificant because the person you're becoming is far better than you ever could have been without your children. Remember to laugh, remember to breathe, and remember to leave your regrets at the front door.