Tag Archives: motherhood

Being An Adult

Sometimes I forget that I’m older then when I last checked 10 years ago. I seem to eternally hover in my mid 20’s, and often it’s surprising to see my friends celebrate their 30-something birthday and then realize I’m next. It’s not that I don’t want to age, it’s that sometimes I feel that I’ve missed it’s happening. I look in the mirror and I look older. I come home and there are two kids waiting for me. There is evidence that I have been adulting, but the things that I thought would make me an adult while in my youthful 20’s are perpetually out of my reach. I wrote out the list, ad lib, and realized that not only do I seem unable to check off the items, but I can’t seem to make a new list, one that is probably more realistic. Here is what I’ve been banging my head against, in all it’s miserable glory:

Signs of (Unattained) Adulthood That Plague Me On a Daily Basis

  1. I need a big(ger) apartment. No. I need a house. I need a house so that I can have people over and cook dinner for them and tell them it was no trouble at all!, and then it will look like I’m doing okay.
  2. I need matching sheets and sham pillows so that my adulthood is validated, like I’m winning at this adult game. Also, those matching bedside tables. Maybe an accent wall. Definitely a dresser.
  3. I need at least one piece of leather furniture, Miriam Come on!
  4. I need to stop using cinder blocks and wood planks as shelves.
  5. Laminate flooring is for losers.
  6. Towels that are older than 5 years is a sign of life dysfunction.
  7. The filling of my pillows must match. One feathered, one foam? Jesus, when did I become such a failure?
  8. The cupboards are disorganized. Tea and medication on the same shelf? Spices and a cheese grater? Canned food and a cat brush? This is an all time low.
  9. I need to start planning for a successful life right now. Why didn’t I start right now 10 years ago?
  10. Google has the answers. “What should I be when I grow up?” There are a surprising number of hits. “Changing careers”. Too broad. My husband tells me I’m too vague when I Google. “Best careers for Miriam”. I end up taking an aptitude test that has 71 questions of multiple choice and then I have to pay twenty dollars to get the results. Hang your head and go back to scrolling through everybody else’s PPL (projected perfect life).

I try to conjure up my blessings, a quick substitute for a new list of what it actually means to be an adult. I mean, if there’s one thing Western Society is great at reminding me, it’s to Be Grateful asshole – accompanied by photoshopped images of somebody’s zen travels and tanned skin hiding under GAP Body underwear. It’s hard to fail daily at the one piece of advice constantly thrown at me over newsfeeds, petition emails and viral ad compaigns. But I keep trying. So I made a list. I’m good at lists.

A List of Things To Be Grateful For You Ingrate

  1. Keep it Simple: You have a roof over your head. You eat fresh food everyday. You take hot showers, and cold showers, depending on your mood. You have family, you haven’t experienced deep trauma and you aren’t isolated or alone physically or emotionally. Simple. Stupid.
  2. Your son thinks you know everything. Proof: “Mommy, how come you know everything?” (I will shamelessly nourish this delusion for numerous years)
  3. You have 2 beautiful healthy children, and a handsome, hilarious husband. (Screw white picket fences, you tell yourself while staring at real estate listings and comparing the impossible with your bank statement)
  4. Your husband makes you laugh to the point of tears running down your cheeks or legs at your expense, his expense, your kids’ expense, and neutral life observations. He knows you so well it’s scary. Honey, please remember to read the labels when buying things; I always know you’re wrong when you say your 99% sure about something; No matter how amazing your life is, I know you’ll only post about how imperfect it is. Too true honey, too true.
  5. You have wild, beautiful friends all over the country. Some are artists, some are new mothers, most are more successful than you. All of them are unapologetically authentic, which is really your only criteria for friendship, and one of the hardest things to find. All your friends seem to really like you, which gives you tremendous strength while you forge ahead on this adult path.
  6. How many more of these do I need?
  7. You have a job that is in the arts – and as a graduate of one of Canada’s top theatre schools (out of…5?) this is huge. As a trained actor who has made people laugh and cry (remember when I made you cry Jessica?) because of your insane talent on the stage (your words KShaw, not mine – also she never said that but she was thinking it) it is a miracle that you are working in the arts. You’re not the artist, but you’re part of that world. Yes, you are doing more admin work, more IT support, more stamping and mailing, more supply ordering, but still. You get to say you’re working in the  –  Never mind, can I move this up to my first list?
  8. You still need to listen to music loudly, alone, dancing, singing to ground yourself. You still have fun moving your body in different ways to music and are slightly convinced it keeps you young. In spirit. Nothing is stopping the physical decay.
  9. No major health issues – you know how quickly life can turn around when you suffer from light illnesses. Kids continue to need you, money still needs to be made – there is no amount of gratefulness that can sufficiently amount to how grateful you are for this. Should probably be #1 on the list you numbskull.
  10. Despite a visceral aversion to parenting, you do have some excellent mothering qualities. Mostly just being present and honest. Your kids won’t have memories of veggies cut into little shapes in their lunches or super organized birthday parties (See blog post titled ‘Let Me Invite You to (Judge) My Birthday Party!’) but your kids are emotionally intelligent because of your emotional demand, will ask you tough questions and have a sturdy self esteem. Take that adulating!
Ultimately, I have the unnerving feeling that I might be wrestling with these lists forever. Maybe there is no ‘ah ha!’ moment when an adult finally becomes an adult. Maybe adulting is just multiple lists of what you are failing at, and what you have to be grateful for. In my true youth, I wouldn’t have thought to make these lists. My youth was a blissful ignorance of lists. I can’t imagine the other lists waiting for me around the corner…I should stop now, or I’ll start making a list of possible lists that I’ll be making in the next 10 years.
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Lucky Girl

I love this.

I love this. That my son is sick and needs to be up every hour in order to have his nose wiped, to be held in an upright position and that I have nowhere to be to. I love that I can be exhausted, at the end of my rope emotionally and physically, and I have no boss to answer to, no co-worker to get along with and no customer to satisfy.

I love that my apartment is messy with toys and clothes everywhere. I love tripping over scooter cars and hearing a battery powered animal call from the living room while I make my tea. I love that everything sort of smells like wet towel and that the garbage reeks of dirty diapers, the dishes are stacking up on the counter and the recycling needs to be taken out. I love that as each of these things get taken care of, I feel lighter and more capable. I love the look of an empty garbage can, I love the smell of clean clothes, fresh towels and I love having a counter clear of clutter.

I love this. I love picking up after my daughter who leaves her clothing lying on the ground after furiously pulling out all the possible outfits in the morning and finding socks under her bed, under her carpet, strewn on a jewelry box. I love re-hanging all her shirts and and re-folding all her pants and re-pairing all her clean socks. I love making her bed, making it just the way she likes, the top folded down so that the covers don’t ride up too high onto her face while she tries to fall asleep. I love picking up hundreds of tiny elastics from her Rainbow Loom set that her brother or the cat stuff in their mouths and putting them all in an old baby bottle tightly sealed and out of harms way. I love finding markers and crayons absolutely everywhere and placing them in the garbage so that one day we will have to start fresh again and buy a full set and begin all over again. I love that we can argue about cleanliness, about responsibility and about learning to keep things organized. I love that we have come so far.

I love paying off debt. I love paying it off because all my demons and all my bad habits have a huge party in my head and try to get me to do things like buy new boots and new sheets and a new watch and they throw things at me like ‘you’re so irresponsible’ and ‘you’ll never amount to anything’, and I ruin their fun by kicking them out of my head and all of a sudden it’s quiet and I’m left sitting with myself. I love it because sitting with myself is really hard and it makes me eat a lot of chocolate and I evaluate every square inch of my life and I’m a Taurus so I remember everything which means evaluating everything takes a long time, but time is what I have.

I love having a pimple on my neck. I love it. I love it because it makes me feel like 16 years old again and I’m almost about to cover it with make-up and then I remember that I’m not 16 and I have nowhere to be. Fester away.

I love nursing my 16 month old. I love not feeling conflicted about nursing past a year, and I love how surprisingly loving it is. I love that my son is old enough to know when something funny is happening and can laugh while at my breast and we giggle together. I love that he is aware of what he needs and can point, hop or clap for it. I love what he needs is something physically provided by me, and will wait if I’m busy, or will laugh his way to the sweet spot if he gets it right away. I love that I think by nursing him longer, he is learning more about sharing than he would if he was sent into a playground and told to share all his toys. I love that I watch him restrain himself when he gets very excited and has to remember not to get so excited that he accidentally bites, and I think he is learning about self regulation and having respect for others regardless of his own feelings.

I love not having everything I think I want right now. I love watching my jealousies and insecurities battle it out and I love knowing that so much of what I want has nothing to do with me but has more to do with all of you and how I want you to see me. I love removing that hold over myself, and seeing that I make things very complicated by hosting a civil war. I love the image of myself at war with myself and then I can see how wasteful it is and I choose wholeness for a moment and I think to myself “I’m going to live from this place more often” and the moment passes and I watch myself get split down the center again, but it’s okay because over time wholeness will last longer than a moment and there will be less inner conflict.

I love winter. I love it. When temperatures drop to -30 and I have to bundle the baby up and push the stroller through snow because the city hasn’t cleared the sidewalks, I remember how much I love it. I love when my lungs ache and the cold triggers my asthma and I feel out of shape and embarrassed that I’m not tougher, I remember that I’m tough in a different way. I love when strangers don’t move over for me and the kids but instead plough straight into us and I’m forced to move to the side because I take the opportunity to explain to my kids that that is the perfect example of how not to be. I love getting inside and the mad dash of removing outter wear and the snow on the stroller melts into salt puddles and kids are crying and cold and look to me to take off mitts and boots and I’m cold too but I remember how much I love the feeling of sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and seeing my kids faces bright red with cold and they look healthy and happy and I love that.

I love it.