Sometimes, I drive my husband crazy with the fact that I will watch shows from beginning to end, and then about a year later, watch the same show from beginning to end. Each time I watch shows, I find a different appreciation for it and its like watching a new show. I think this is because I've matured and moved on in my life and when I rewatch a show, I see it from new eyes.
The last time that I had watched "How I Met Your Mother", from Season One through Season 9, we were struggling with infertility. Therefore, I really connected with Lily and Marshall's struggle and the happiness they had when they conceived. When they got to the "Band or DJ" episode and Lily said that she was the most horrible person on the roof because "sometimes, I wish I wasn't a mother" I just could never fathom feeling that way. It was a horrible thing to say, but now, I want to thank How I Met Your Mother for really connecting showing the non-perfect side of parenthood.
When you are preparing to become a mom (or dad), all the books tell you your life will change, but don't worry, its always for the better. The pictures on the front of every magazine, book, cover and article shows these sweet bundles of joy happily nestled into a perfectly rested looking mother. Therefore, oftentimes, in the early days of sleepless nights, I wondered what I was doing wrong. My little angel didn't sleep, didn't nurse and I don't think I really ever looked blissful while holding my adorable squirming baby close. I loved him and we had our own thing, but I had to think that nothing really accurately represented what my husband and I were currently going through.
I love being a mom, every day, but I would be lying if sometimes I yearned for a few (minutes) hours (days) of child-free time. A time where I didn't have to say no to anything and where sitting down with a glass of red wine didn't pose the danger of being soaked in it when a very adorable little boy throws his ball when I looked away to say something sweet to my husband. A time when I was able to sleep in past 6:15AM in the morning and stayed up past 10:30PM at night. A time when I was able to watch a movie - without pausing it for snacks, tantrums, book readings, puppet shows and to go down a slide. I used to be able to get out of the door on-time and was often early, looking good with make-up and my hair done, without the risk of spit-up, juice or whatever else staining my clothes before arriving to my destination.
When someone becomes a mom (or dad), there life is forever changed. Who they were before immediately and irreversibly changes, and that is ok. That is life. That is the definition of being a parent - putting someone else's needs, wants and desires before yours and society has told us that we are supposed to be 100% happy with this 100% of the time, otherwise we are bad parents. Therefore, when there is time when I wish that I had just a few minutes to myself, I feel like the most horrible person in the world. Who would want time alone from the baby (or toddler now), especially when I work full time and am already away for 10 hours a day? Then, the other day, I was watching How I Met Your Mother, yet again, and realized, I wasn't alone.
Although, Lily probably phrased her sobbing confession in a very awkward way "sometimes, I wish I wasn't a mother", it is a sentiment that all moms feel when they are in the trenches. Its a desire to be the person you were before. The person who could use the restroom without an audience. The person that wasn't changing diapers or who is covered in poop from a blowout. The person who can eat a warm meal, without little fingers trying to help themselves. The person who isn't sleep deprived and feeling awful and guilty for just wanting a few minutes to ourselves. This is also a sentiment that is very taboo in society, that a mother could want and desire time and a life away from their children. That mother's could need more than children to feel fulfilled with their life - they may need a career, whether in the home or out of it, they may want to volunteer, be a room mom or have a hobby - is a very hard concept for some individuals.
Therefore, I will venture into the unknown and say that although I love being a mom and that it is one of the most rewarding things in my life, I believe I am a better mother now that I am giving myself permission to also be myself. I'm not just a mother. I'm a teacher. A tutor. A daughter. A writer. A blogger. A wife and many other things that make me the person I am and with whom my husband fell in love. I am finding I need to balance motherhood with personhood ... and its making be a more dynamic mom! Bringing science to my son, teaching him how not to run (i'm not athletic) and just being joyful together making silly faces reminds me, I am a mother, but he is learning who he is from who I am.
Thank you, How I Met Your Mother, for showing real sides of parenthood and making me realize that I'm not the only one who may need more that just being a mother.