pretending to be an adult

Mark and I had some friends over this evening.  This is something we haven't done in a long time.  We've had people over, but usually it involves other friends with kids, so there is a lot of chaos as we yell over the noise of the kids, and try to remember where the conversation left off before one of us was interrupted by rescuing a child off the side of the trampoline, or cutting someone's chicken, or telling the boys that they must allow the girls to play with them, etc etc.  So yeah.  The whole intentional "just adults" socializing/hosting thing . . . it's been a while.

We used to really like entertaining.  Today I felt like I was trying to re-awaken some dormant part of myself.  But simultaneously, I felt like an impostor - like I was trying to pretend to be a normal, functioning person again . . . . a person who lights candles in the evening, who puts music on the stereo, who sits and chats for two hours without falling asleep, who talks about interesting subjects beyond choosing a preschool or potty-training techniques.  And the sense of pretending, or the sense of trying to be someone I used to be . . .  the thing is, it wasn't for the benefit of the guests (although the feelings of wanting to impress where there, certainly).  But more so, there was this overwhelming feeling of wanting to be a "normal", functioning, socially-connected adult again.  And then a sad sense that I wasn't, and that something as simple as having another couple over for coffee was outside of my capabilities right now.

The friends that came over are single.  The guy is one of my husband's friends from high school. He's dating a cute girl in her twenties that I've only met a few times.  Something about that combination - a guy in the corporate world, who doesn't spend a lot of time with kids, and a girl still in college, coming over to my house . . . something made me start looking disapprovingly at my dirty floors, my fingernails, my formula-stained sofa, my three-inch roots, and my living room full of plastic toys.  Suddenly I was looking at myself from the gaze of my former self, and wondering when I had gotten so tired, so messy, so scattered.  So old.

I did manage to get the house decently clean, and the kids in pajamas before they came.  I didn't, however, manage to wash or brush my own hair today (or to pick up the prescription at Target that  has been waiting for three days, or return the overdue library books or return one single email.  But I digress).

And as they arrived, it was as I expected.  They seemed refreshed and energetic, bearing a cute jug of high-end beer.  She was adorable.  She did brush her hair this morning.  Her toenails were painted, her clothes were not caked in baby food.  Her purse was not overflowing with diapers and sippy cups.   She was funny and charming.  So was he.

When they arrived, my kids were doing their usual routine of running through the house full-speed, trying to avoid bedtime.  Not five minutes in, I could see them grimace at the noise level.  It was loud.  I was self-conscious.  And then, the question.  The question that was sort of a joke, but also an observation.  An observation tinged with a little pity, and maybe just a hint of concern.

"Is it always this loud?"

Yes.  It is.

The kids went down.  The guests both went to the bathroom.  I winced at the thought of how that room smells (a result of two boys with very bad aim and a neglected diaper genie).   I made excuses.  Haha - the bathroom stinks.  Haha - don't mind the laundry in the hallway.  Haha - that drywall hasn't been patched yet.  Haha - sorry the hand towels are so dirty.  Haha - Kristen SHUT UP.

We chatted.  It was nice.  They were lovely.  We laughed at the chasm between us as we discussed carpooling to a mutual friends wedding, and debated whether we should drive in their Porsche or our minivan.  Haha - I have a minivan.

But still . . . I felt like I was pretending.  Pretending to be more than a tired, frazzled, overwhelmed mom.  Pretending to be a grown-up.  But a younger grown-up?

I don't know.

It was a simple evening with friends, but it brought up a lot of stuff for me. I need to be more content.  I need to be more grateful for my kids, and less whiny about the inevitable obstacles in this lifestage. I need to stop assuming that the fatigue I feel this week is the way I will feel forever.  I need to get more sleep.   At the same time, I need to take some breaks from the preschool set.  I need to figure out how to be a social being and not just a mom.

I need to find more balance.  And I need a pedicure.  Stat.

5 comments:

  1. I hear you!!! The ha ha parts are the parts I identify with the most. Good for you for overcoming. I would have canceled. I'm a coward. I would love to know how to become content, comfortable in my skin, confident to have anyone over any time (not because my house is perfect, but because I'm ok with imperfection). Sigh, how how how??? Thanks for sharing, I'm so there with you.

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  2. Well, you can content yourself with knowing that there are many, many couples out there who envy what you have. Maybe not the couple who came round (or maybe they do envy you!)but lots and lots of others. The grass is always greener on the other side, so give yourselves a break. But I think you should still get a pedicure if you want one!

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  3. OK, this has nothing to do with your post, but I can't seem to get to your Contact Us Page, and hope you mama's can shed some light on potty life for me. See here:
    http://thesplendidstuff.blogspot.com/2010/04/we-need-potty-help.html

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  4. Kristen, you're awesome.Thanks for your vulnerability and telling it like it is! I've been there! I've been following your guys' blog for a few months and haven't commented yet. I wanted to encourage you with a post I wrote on wanting to be a "grown-up" last month in my own quest to be one! You're definitely one. You just have to look at the qualifications differently. :)
    http://topofthepagewithleslie.blogspot.com/2010/03/grown-ups.html

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  5. I just made aaron sit and listen to me read him this whole thing. this is OUR LIFE too. i do the same thing. and people ask the same question about the noise. and my bathroom stinks b/c of THREE boys and i don't get to my hair each day and ......

    love you girl.

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