The weirdest thing about growing up is the awkward transitional phase between being single to being a mom and having to manage a busy family life. I definitely didn’t think I would still be a student and working full-time amidst throwing cupcakes together for class parties. Then, there is the whole housekeeping thing, which no one enjoys, but some type of maintenance is needed. Finally the last thing on the to-do list is keeping that pesky flame lit with your significant other so that things are bearable and worthwhile.
Oh wait, friends too, right?
When the night winds down - close the laptop and get to bed, I give myself a few minutes to scroll down my Instagram feed so I can at least try to get some clues about what is going on in former friends’ lives.
Who has a new job? Who is dating who? I never know anymore.
My friends used to come to me for advice all the time. Now, I am lucky to get a single text over the course of a day. I wasn’t available to my friends anymore, and I didn’t live the same life as them anymore either. I used to be like every other single gal, eating chipotle with the girls, drinks on the weekends, and heart-to-hearts late at night. Now, I’m just the Mom of the group, who everyone calls to visit once in awhile. Sigh.
I don’t regret having my daughter when I did. In fact, it was the best thing for me. It gave me a clear direction to straighten my life out versus me standing with my hands out, waiting for an opportunity to be handed to me. I got myself in a routine, eating healthy and exercising regularly, taking her out to play, and getting homework done at night when she has gone to bed. We have pre-scheduled date nights so my boyfriend and I make sure we have time together as just us as a Couple and not as Parents. I knew after school, my career needed to offer me as much as I offered the position, including benefits and paid-time off. All of these things are wonderful, but take lots of time and preparation.
In order to eat healthy and exercise, I have to pay careful attention to what is being purchased at the grocery store. In order to sit and relax and enjoy a movie, the house has to be cleaned so I don’t feel like I’m sitting around being lazy when there is work to be done. Homework speaks for itself, being that it generally comes with class time and reading. All of this is aside from the regular 40-hour work week.
I love who I have become, because it is someone I always imagined I would be. Playing house with friends as a child was easy, nothing that took actual work was ever included, but I am always drawn back to that place in my mind:
I am Mom.
The glue of the family. The finder of all missing things. The holder of magical healing kisses. As Peter Parker would say, “With Great power, comes great responsibility.” It may be work and it may make me want to rip my hair out sometimes, but I also find so much happiness and completeness in the appreciation from my family.
I felt like I am a new person, but I also missed my old self. I missed being included in group texts, girls nights, and all that other fun stuff. But for good reason! After all, family comes first. My friends just hadn’t reached that point yet, and I’m sure eventually they will. I am constantly reminding myself that I am walking my own path, and so is everyone else. Some people come into our lives new because our paths cross later in life. For example, I have yoga and mommy friends, that I can spend time with during the day when I am out and about. Other people who understand the struggle of icing cupcakes while typing a mid term. Then of course there are the old friends who have been around since the glory days of high school or even childhood. What I have really learned, though, is some people we only need for a moment. There are only a few we actually need for a lifetime. Change doesn’t have to be bad, but it is always different and always worthwhile.
Written by Melissa