I’m not superwoman.
I don’t even want to be superwoman, but I don’t have a village.
I have my husband, and he’s amazing. He’s more than just a good father—he’s a good parent. I don’t even differentiate between how he cares for our kids, as dad, and how I do, as mom, when he’s at home. I have my parents, too, and they visit as often as they can, which usually works out to about once a week. I see my sister regularly. My long-distance best friend and I at least text every day. But I don’t have a village. Today I was reminded of that, when I could have used one.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s inspiring and powerful to remember that we are in charge of making our own friends, and that we can’t always do it all alone. Yet making friends is like dating, and I already have to work like hell to have a relationship with my husband, in our “spare” time.
I thought I had a village once. I had amazing friends, and their kids, and we played, and we took care of each other. They helped me stay afloat when I moved away from my family, and they gave my child an extended family nearby when she really didn’t have one. But not all friendships last, despite our efforts and attempts to make them. It’s also incredibly hard to make good friends, around children’s schedules of different ages and needs, and caring for small children in general.
These last two weeks have been especially rough for my little family. Today, gratefully, a friend stopped by with her daughter, and I don’t know who loved their company more, me or my kids—but it’s just me with these girls largely all day long, and visits like this afternoon’s are a rarity for us for a plethora of reasons.
I don’t want to be superwoman—mainly because I’m not one, and I know it. (Today I yelled at my kids, and I’d like to say that it was just one time, but it wasn’t.)
I’m not superwoman, but, like a lot of women I talk to—including my friend that came over today, and another friend who stopped by last week—we’re often doing it alone.
We are stay-at-home moms, or we’re working-outside-the-home moms, and we’re parenting alongside our husbands, with maybe a little help from our parents, but there are a lot of us, where it’s the mamas and these babies most of the time. It’s us.
We’re not superwomen, and we all know it, and we try like hell to make up for it, too.
We make playdates. We try to meet new friends. We try to keep the ones we have. We ask our husbands if they can come home early, or at least not late, when we have days like mine today, where I’m trying simply to neither implode or explode.
We hold our kids, and we read books. We draw, and we make lunch. We meet school buses. We pick kids up, and we shuffle them to their activities.
We drink coffee, even though there are always those mornings when there is never enough of it.
We make jokes about how hard it is, and we tell the people who truly love us when we feel like we can’t make it until dinnertime.
We wipe butts. We wipe noses. We cuddle little hearts. We discipline and send kids to timeout.
We go to school meetings. We have doctor’s visits. We try to make at least one thing feel special for our kids each day, even if it’s only running through the cupcake drive-thru (and that was really so that we could get out of the house for a few minutes).
It’s why we read blogs, and share posts on social media about motherhood—because we sometimes feel so alone in this experience, and we want to both offer and receive reminders that we aren’t.
One day, this will all be over. Registering my daughter for kindergarten this week was one of the most devastating and exciting things that I’ve ever done—ecstatic for her, and grieving for me. I like her—I like my daughter, and I enjoy her company. I will miss her so much next year, when she’s gone for much of the day.
Mothers have this secret, tucked inside of our mommy-hearts. It’s knowing that these days are long, and that the years feel unfairly short. It’s not having much of a choice. It’s why we pretend to be superwoman.