Saturday, April 29, 2006

As if...

I am so ashamed...

I have sadly neglected you. I do hope you'll forgive me.

My only excuse is... a full-time job, two children, a husband (although admittedly Alpha Male is very low-maintenance) and an increasingly fuzzy brain.

MM and I started this blog when I was freelancing and less of a wage-slave than I am now. I might have been a little bored back then in between projects but I had plenty of glorious time to spend writing about the minutae of my daily life in the hope it would resonate with with other mothers or whoever else chanced across the blog. It turned out that the things MM and I wrote about from either side of the Pond struck a chord with people all over the world, from as far afield as Japan, Malaysia and Australia. How cool is that? Suddenly, the stuff MM and I talk about - with each other and our respective friends in London and NYC - along with the stuff we usually only think about (there's more room for bravery on a blog than out in the big bad world, after all, you can't see us and we can't see you, nor can you hit us if you disagree with our musings) is out there and it's generating a response. That's a huge buzz.

From the comments people leave on the blog, it seems that whatever our circumstances, whatever language we speak, whether we live in the 'burbs, the City or in a remote idyll, whatever our politics, occupation and education, there is a core shared experience that comes from being a mother. And I'm sure you'll all agree that whatever you do, whether you're a stay-at-home Mom or a boardroom ball-breaker, one of the things that most defines you once you've had kids is the relationship you have with your offspring. Once you've had kids you are no longer just 'you'.

Before I had Firstborn I was a self-obsessed workaholic. My life revolved around work, my boyfriend (most notably Alpha Male, who I met when I was 24 and have been with ever since), hanging out with friends, drinking too much, sleeping off hangovers, and shopping. Alpha Male and I were the classic good-time couple - lots of cash to splash, lots of time to devote on the pursuit of pleasure, and not much responsibility.

After Firstborn arrived I was suddenly catapulted into being a devoted-on-the-verge-of-obsession mother and a so-so wife (too tired to do much more than lactate and gaze at this wondrous new bundle of chub). Then the Small(er) One arrived and a I was worried-on-the-verge-of-neurotic mother (two of them! The responsibility! The fear! The lack of sleep! The stereo-sound screaming!) And now I am a stressed out workaholic mother-of-two trying desperately to juggle all these balls I feel the need to keep in the air. I am so stretched out across every part of life I wish I could clone myself. Only then, I think, will I be able to be truly outstanding at all these roles I feel compelled to fulfil and shine at - as a mother, wife (and lover), friend, daughter, sister, employee, boss... I simply don't have enough hours in the day and I certainly don't have anywhere near enough energy.

But why do we beat ourselves up about the non-essential stuff? Let's face it, if I suddenly stopped doing what I do everyday to merit my paycheck at the end of the month, the world would not grind to a halt. It's my damned ego, you see. I love to think that I am so essential out there in the big world of work, such a big swinging dick, that if I take even a single day off then my colleagues will undoubtably end up weeping and tearing their hair, whispering my name in imploring misery as they attempt to grapple with the issues only I can solve.

As if.

In truth, the only people I am truly essential to are my two daughters and Alpha Male. The rest of it is just bullshit on a plate, nicely garnished and served up with a delightful flourish.

So, it may be a bit late to make a New Year's resolution, but here is a great big one....

I WILL stop obsessing about work and I WILL spend more time obsessing about the really important stuff - my family. And if that makes me less than a high-flyer... well, hell. My ego is just going to have to learn to cope with that.

Anyone know of a 12-step programme for workaholic mothers who seriously need to chill out?

1 comment:

Manhattan Mama said...

Hey you--you're essential me to me..Here it is a Saturday night, 9:45 pm and am I nursing a fine glass of wine with The Prince while snuggling on the couch?
I just finished an edit on a story and checked in here to find you!
Let's start our own 12-step program:

Step One:

I admit I am powerless over my ego-driven obsession to be a glorious mama, purring spouse and an influential writer.

Step Two Anyone?