Thursday, March 11, 2004

It's mom's week off.
commonbeauty imagines his mother as someone before she was his mother in one of a series of letters on childhood today.
There are weeks when I think I wouldn't survive as a mother if I didn't know I was getting a break to be me in the next few days, while the kids spend time at their Dad's.
And there are days, weeks when I think there is no other part of my identity that really matters other than that part of me that is Mom. Those weeks and days, I am lonely or restless without my kids at the house.

It's a bit strange to turn the role on and off every Wednesday. One week I cook, help with homework, listen to endless discussion on the minutiae of Donkey Kong barrels, pick up sweatshirts, sign school papers, volunteer in the classroom, explain why middle school boys do not like girls to like them. At least in public. The next week cereal and cheese and crackers seems like fine dinner fare, I can watch CSI without worrying about the violence, go out to poetry readings or fancy schmancy restaurants, spend hours at the paint store staring at those little chips, read until 3AM, swear like a sailor.

It might seem a bit bipolar, but I actually think it's sort of sane. Maybe this is a justification in my subconscious, but when I'm mom, I'm ON as mom. Not negotiating with a partner over who's in charge, not wishing for a vacation without the kids. Well, I have to admit, I might lack patience with the game boy and middle school boy discussions, but someone needs to listen, and that's my job right? So I do it because it means someone listens. Then when I'm off duty, I am an adult with hobbies, interests, freedom to travel, the occasional center of attention long enough to finish my sentence without being interrupted. Sometimes sloppy, sometimes lazy, sometimes a role model for absolutely no one.

Today I'm not sure which I am. I guess the mom badge is a bit slow to come off. It will be quiet in the house until I readjust to it. I'm not always so sure I want to be alone with my thoughts.

(cartoon courtesy of Dr. Dudd)

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