If I Wasn’t A Parent…

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If I wasn’t a mom, I’d have so much time to for myself.

I’d go sit for hours in remote woods, finding God in the silence, without worrying about the babysitter’s schedule and whether I’m in a place where cell phone coverage will reach.

I’d write all day…I’d have my novel finished and be tearing through revisions on a glorious wave of momentum, instead of limping along a few hundred words at a time between other commitments. Maybe even be published. I’d practice my flute and write more music…because it wouldn’t get shunted aside in trying to get everything else done. (Practicing my flute and writing music, I have learned, are intimately connected. Weird, I know. But that’s the truth of it.)

I’d weigh a lot less and dress better.

I’d go out on more dates with my husband, and we’d have time to attend to our own pursuits and each other without feeling like we’re fraying at the edges to do it.

I’d scrapbook my wedding photos. It would be a gorgeous album, lovingly, painstakingly crafted, a real work of art.

Then again, maybe that whole list is baloney.

If I wasn’t a mom, I’d find some other excuse not to take the time to quiet my soul. I might go out more, but it wouldn’t necessarily accomplish the goal better.

I’d have so much time that I’d treat it flippantly, getting distracted from writing by Facebook and StumbleUpon and Twitter instead of boo-boos and bickering and meal preparation. And probably I’d still lose momentum and limp along a few hundred words at a time. Besides, I’d still be working. So scratch all that vaunted time to myself.

I’d weigh exactly the same, because I have no natural self-discipline where exercise is concerned; I loathe the stuff. Only having kids could force me to get up at 5:30 every morning.

I’d go out on dates with my husband, but it would be a shallow life, and who’s to say we’d actually connect more deeply? Our children connect us.

And I’d scrapbook, but let’s be honest. When I finished my wedding photos, what would I scrapbook?

I mean, face it. If I wasn’t a parent, I’d be lacking the motivation, the self-discipline, the sheer persistence, to write, to scrapbook, to exercise. Because becoming a parent has changed me. It has taught me those qualities. Without my children, most of those things I do, those many flaming torches I struggle so valiantly to keep in the air, wouldn’t ever have crossed my mind. Writing stories about the real life struggles of married couples to stay connected in a world that pulls them apart? Riiiight. I’d still be writing girlish love stories about fantasy princesses. Talking to medical students? Riiiight. I’d still be tiptoeing around people with disabilities, terrified of being asked to make a connection.

No, I am right where I’m supposed to be. Because without children, I wouldn’t be me.

Mama's Losin' It

10 thoughts on “If I Wasn’t A Parent…

  1. I’ve pondered this a few times myself. You’re right…where we are is where we often need to be. whenever I do ponder life without kids, I remember a time without kids and I don’t remember being all that diligent in my “me-time” pursuits. Sure, something for me here or there…but still just a lot of static in the grand scheme of things.

  2. Well put! I was worried when you started, because as one who does not have kids, I know that I fail to use my time for better pursuits, so I know that kids aren’t the reason…

  3. naomiclark

    Hear, hear! As a grad student surrounded by many non-parents, my mind goes there too sometimes. And then I remember that my overall productivity has probably gone up rather than down since becoming a mother.

    • I *know* mine has. Although I suppose it depends on how you measure productivity, too. I used to just hang out with the kids more than I do now. Everything has to have so much more structure these days. But I suppose that would be true whether or not I was trying to write!

  4. Amen! I’d love to believe that I would accomplish more if I wasn’t a parent, too; but, no, I wouldn’t. There would be other demands on my time, real or imagined that would get in the way.

    Thanks for the reality check!

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