Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Grass is Always Greener

Before I had children, I had a few acquaintances who would frequently use a variation of the following phrase in conversations with me: You'll understand when you have children. For example:

Oh, you're in a book club? The only thing I read these days are children's books. You'll understand when you have children.

You and your husband are going away for the weekend? Must be nice. You'll understand when you have children.

Your house is decorated beautifully. You can kiss that goodbye when you have children.

You're having another glass of wine? I'd have another glass if I didn't have to go home and take care of my children.

You're taking more graduate courses? If I didn't have children, I could do that, too.

You get the idea.

The comments were always innocent enough, and I don't believe they were intended to hurt my feelings in any way. It was more of a Mother's Lament, a longing for the way things once were, a desire for the freedom of days past...and believe me, I can relate. Most of these people didn't know about my struggles with infertility, so had no idea how much these comments stung. I vowed that I would never, ever, say this to anyone, no matter how wistful I became for my child-free days.

I think it's incredibly important that your children don't become the sole definition of who you are. It's likely that this was the issue with the acquaintances to whom I'm referring; that they were no longer willing or able to partake in some of the activities they once enjoyed. I am a Mother, yes, and perhaps most importantly. But I am so many other things, too. And I can't let those other things get buried under my day-to-day motherly duties just because I have children now.

To date, I don't believe I have uttered that phrase, or any variation of it, to anyone. Largely because I am still a member of said Book Club (even though I haven't read the last few books), and I still collect and display antiques that I love, and I am three courses shy of my second Master's Degree (bedrest got in the way of the final three courses, but I will be taking them in the Spring with any luck!). The weekend get-away has yet to be realized, but I hope it's not far off. And if I want another glass of wine, darn it, I deserve it.


  1. I so agree. I do most things I did before I became a mom to twins, plus I have more friends than I used to, and I write, both freelance and for pleasure. I do things differently, and some things less frequently, but I still do them. I think motherhood has made me a lot more efficient, and not in a rushed way either. What I don't know, though, is what the heck I *did* with all that time before kids!

  2. I'll have that glass of wine with you...

  3. I so enjoy reading your posts, Amy! Let me know when you want to share that glass of wine!


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