I became a writer before I became a mother, but when I became a mother I found my voice. I started as a self-centered 20-something writer who was hell-bent on making sentences for a living. I knew I wanted to write, but I bounced around trying to find what it was I really wanted to say.
Eight years ago I was gazing at my big round belly, blissfully delighted that I was soon to be a mother. I’d known that baby was a boy before my pee had even dried on the stick, and I’d read all the books ensuring my success as a parent. I’d have this little man sleep trained by 2 weeks and reading by 3.
Tonight my 7-year-old daughter is sleeping on the floor of her sister’s room buried under a pile of books. Parenting has turned out to be nothing like I imagined it would be. It’s so much harder, but indescribably more beautiful than any book ever let on.
The moment I held that little girl in my arms, everything changed. Not just my carefree childless existence and sleeping in on weekends, but everything I ever knew about being a woman and my purpose on earth has shifted.
Having daughters taught me what it was I needed to tell the world. Their existence shone a light on my own. It gave new meaning and perspective to everything I’d experienced and every experience I was preparing them for.
I’m ready to rewrite the parenting books I used to guide me. I’m ready to change what it means to be perfect. I want other women and men to know that going off-script is sometimes the best way to learn anything at all and grow. No one ever learned anything by just hearing themselves talk or listening to only those who agree with them. I want to hear and understand your experience, because it may shed light on mine.
Writing and parenting is so perfectly imperfect, and if you don’t laugh you’ll cry. I’m a horribly hideous crier. We’re talking snotty nose, puffy eyes, spit flying out of my mouth. Ugly crier.
For everyone’s sake I think it’s better if I stick to laughter. I’m the person who trips and falls on my face, and then I look around to see if anyone saw because I need someone to laugh with me about it. If you fart in public I’m not acting like I didn’t hear it. I’m going to die laughing and probably fart while I laugh. I’m that friend you don’t need to clean your house for.
What I won’t do is try to tell you that life or parenting is all sunshine and rainbows. There is literally more poop than smiles sometimes. But I grew up on Mister Rogers telling me to look for the helpers. Even in the darkest hours there are people who are good and people who care. I want to be a helper.
So on your dark day, or on your Monday or on your lunch break, when you need a happy helper – I’m here. I’ll do my best to entertain you with my mediocrity and self-deprecating humor. Let my imperfection guide you and boost your morale. Let this be a safe place where you know that my Mother-of-the-Year trophy is dented, scuffed and full of Pinot Noir.
Thanks for coming, thanks for reading, and thanks for listening. Without readers a writer is just a crazy cat lady talking to herself.