Friday, May 13, 2016


I recently chatted with a friend about anxiety. Specifically, parenting-related anxieties. Both of us have children still waking in the early morning hours, and both of us have been having trouble falling back asleep after tending to that child. We talked about how that even on nights we were able to successfully silence that middle-of-the-night mental dialogue, anxieties manifested themselves in our dreams. These nightmares, if you will, are not of the monsters-in-the-closet variety. For my friend who has two young boys, she dreamed her boys were growing and growing while everything around her shrunk, Alice in Wonderland-style, rendering her Cambridge, Mass., house too small. For me, my nightmare involved both my girls moving to Paris, leaving me to age alone.

Now, let me start by saying both of these dreams are laughable. First, my friend's house has more than enough space. She's really doing a bang-up job in her urban space, not to mention many people raise children with a lot less. And as for my nightmare: I spent my twenties living in Boston and New York, and I believe there is something truly marvelous that happens when you are forced to live outside the bubble of your childhood. There is more than one way to skin a cat, of course, but my point is that I would love my children to move away from me. At least for some time. I encourage it, in fact.

I'm not entirely sure why I am bringing this all up immediately following Mother's Day weekend, when all of us anxiety-ridden, sleep-deprived mothers were given a riot of flowers for all the anxiety-inducing, sleep-depriving work we do. (In my case, Cecile made me a card with glitter-terrorist-level amounts of sparkle; and Genevieve finally started saying "mama," which tugs the heartstrings.) Maybe I bring it up because in the lead-up to the "holiday" I spoke with more than one parent who expressed a desire to ditch the kids and hit the spa for the day. Or the week. In other words, on the very day meant to honor all that mothering, so many crave an escape from parenting completely. Myself included.

Perhaps it's simplicity we're all craving. Or just the need to hear our inner voices speak without the interruption of a toddler, or the interruption of someone telling you you're doing the whole parenting thing wrong. And not in the middle of the night.

As mothers, we know our children before the world does. Pretty simple. So why all the chatter?

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