Adventures in Motherhood: How A Mom Can Make Anywhere That's Quiet Her Own
An interesting and educational look at 1 mother's flawed attempt at solitude and the spaces that become her makeshift sanctuaries as a result
When I was a little girl I never had any dreams involving kids or of being a mother.
As a matter of fact, I never even considered it. While the other girls were busy playing house or with their dolls, I was figuring out how to fit an old-school typewriter into the piece of carry-on luggage I'd be taking for my upcoming Amtrack adventure with my Abuelita.
But, as we know all too well by now, life is what happens while we're busy lugging unnecessary luggage around...
And with that, I am catapulted off of my trip down memory lane and thrown, haphazardly I might add, back into my present-day reality. Immediately I long for a place where I can reflect and hear my own thoughts.
Unfortunately, there isn't one room, corner, or even crevice in my home that I can truly claim as my own. No, not even my bedroom belongs to just me. That room was overtaken by toddlers with their random toys and partners with their random tools long ago.
So where does this former little girl with journalistic tendencies find solace? Anywhere that even remotely holds the promise of silence and the always-sought-after-yet-never-found, elusive "me time".
But being the mother means that we have given all that we have in every way imaginable, often leaving nothing for ourselves. We have no cozy corner, quiet reflection room, or quaint book corner.
So here are a few of my go-to areas while in pursuit of quiet contemplation for my fellow givers of all:
1.) The Mom-Desk
You'd think that, by now, we'd all be aware of this particular ruse. Think that we couldn't be fooled by this blatant familial lie ever again. But the promise of a 10 x 10 tabletop, one that isn't covered with broken toys or uncapped markers is too alluring a thought, and we fall for it every time. It doesn't matter that our loved ones have used it as a catch-all for close to a decade. Or that you can't even recall the last time you actually saw the top of it, the Mom-Desk is, and forever will be, our number 1 go-to.
The dream of our very own workspace, however, fades as quickly as kids that have been asked to clean up after themselves. And soon it occurs to us that our faux space was doomed from the very beginning, despite our families cooperation or not. Our mom-desk is in the middle of Grand Central Station, it's right in the middle of the damned family room! Who puts that there? Don't answer that, nevermind. Moving on...
2.) The Bathroom
As repulsive as it now sounds to me, this space offers some of the most consistent "me time" opportunities out of all the available areas in the house. But be advised, even this place offers only a temporary reprieve. Disgusting or not, the bathroom will, at some point, cease to provide the zen you seek and be overrun and overpopulated by the very people that claim to love you more than life itself.
**Note that if this does not happen, if for some reason the heavens shine down on you and you are able to complete 1 rational thought before the inevitable invasion, just know that it is coming. Even almighty mom can't put a halt on nature to the tune of every one of their family member's urinary tracts. Enjoy-with caution!
3.) The MiniVan
A maze of trickery, 13-day-old chicken nugget pieces, and half-full juice box containers, the minivan is the mere definition of misrepresentation. After a few good hours of irrational meltdowns and sibling fights that could rival any professional MMA ring, the stillness of the family's minivan can seem inviting. I assure you that this is nothing short of a dirty, evil trick that should be given more thought than any mom has available to her on any given day. EVER.
It's for this reason that every day across America thousands of mothers can be found not relaxing on the rear seat, not basking in the silence of their thoughts and their thoughts alone, but crawling on their hands and knees in an effort to put a dent in the aforementioned, disregarded trash that has somehow begun replacing the carpeting in the family's primary mode of transportation. What was sought out as a much-needed break has turned into yet another free maid service provided by the crazy lady that already cleans everything else!
You've been warned!
4.) The Balcony/ Yard/ Anywhere Outside
Traditionally an area reserved only for smokers and/or active alcoholics, the square footage that is not under air is making a comeback with mothers from all walks of life. Whether due to the epic fails of its predesessors, the mom-desk, the bathroom, and the minivan, or because fresh air is all the rage right now no one knows. But one thing is clear- It's perhaps the only place in the house that a mom isn't overtaken by the urge to tidy, redecorate, or deep-clean mere moments after entry. Therefore making it the winner by default and the basecamp of operation "alone in silence".
If you are fortunate enough to have a balcony, I've found that graphic warnings of head injuries from 2nd stories work wonders keeping the solitude of the space. If that doesn't work, may I suggest youtube videos of the like for the most stubborn of your brood?
If the yard is your option here, try any real-or-not antidote involving a horrifying lawnmower accident, and don't hesitate to utilize youtube again if need be on the most stubborn of your brood! There's A LOT to be said about the power of smartly placed suggestions with visual aids to assist you in your efforts to ultimately keep the mini's alive and kicking!
For obvious reasons, we have come to the end of our journey. At the very least, I hope that you've taken away some ideas for your future attempted escapes. If not, then surely you know now where not to go to regain your sanity and peace of mind, and that's worth something.
I leave you with this quote from Anne Lamot that can benefit every mother. It is simple, logical, and true, yet despite its simplicity, it's something that needs to be drilled into our caretaking heads:
I encourage you to go find any place and unplug, if only for a second. I guarantee you, it will make you a calmer person and a more patient momma, enabling you to better care for all of those people that you simply couldn't live without. Me time be damned.