I was talking to my best friend the other day. She’s single and childless, works three jobs (this girl is a machine), and there are things that she and I don’t quite get about one another any more. Which is fine. The fun thing about having friends is that, hopefully, on some level, they’re different from you and you’re constantly learning new things about one another and how to work with and love all sorts of different people.
But this isn’t about how to be friends with people who live entirely different lives from you. It’s about not comparing your entirely different lives.
I don’t exactly look at BFF’s life with a wistful eye. For all the “freedoms” she might have because she doesn’t have to worry about anyone besides herself, there is all that single girl drama that I am more than happy to avoid (and, am frankly naive about, since I’ve not been single since I was a teenager). Plus, I love the fact that my husband is mine and we are a team. And, above all, I have a wonderful kiddo in my life who makes things all the more rich and exciting. BUT, I have a hell of a lot of stuff on my plate. And I don’t get out much. And I’m fairly sheltered from the outside world. I also don’t have much time to hang out with friends and dish about the stuff that goes on in our lives.
As I was chatting with the BFF the other day, I found us both agreeing that I have no life. And, I think there are lots of moms out there (or other people who just find themselves incredibly busy all the time) tend to think or say the same thing. And when I first said this, I felt okay about it. But as I heard my BFF agreeing with me, I felt a little pang, and that pang has been gnawing at me for days now.
Who decides what a life should look like? Just because I am not living the life that has been ascribed to vaguely middle to upper class, white, educated 23 year olds does not mean I’m not living. Damnit, I’ve done more LIVING in the last five years than most chicks in their early twenties. And that’s awesome.
What’s more–what an incredible insult to my child and husband, to say these two fundamental people who shape my life, are completely inconsequential. If they are what my life currently consists of, and then I go on to say, “I have no life,” then I’m really saying, “Hey, you two, shorty and beast-man–LOSERS!”
And if all that’s the case, then what about my job? My job, to some degree, is important and it’s a huge part of my life because I spend a heck of a lot time there. And I’m not sitting at some desk filing my nails. I’m working with kids who have special needs, and I’m trying to help them work their skills and be better students. It’s not, like, being Mother Theresa, or even being that Freedom Writer teacher, but it’s a job to be proud of, and if I say I have no life, then the work I put in and the people I work with suddenly have no meaning (in my universe, anyway).
Now, I’m not saying that if I’m feeling a certain dissatisfaction with how things are going in my life, like I’m feeling a little stir crazy and need to get out with the hubs or some friends, or I’d like to read something other than Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, or I’m kind of down because I’ve yet to travel outside of the country, despite our ridiculously close proximity to Canada, it’s not okay. We’ve all got things we want to do, and we should make time or try to find a way to do those things. But we can’t look at others who are maybe getting more of a taste of that particular side of life and feel like we’re doing something wrong or there is something “bad” about our lives, or, worst of all, that we’re not living one. If you can look at your world, as a complete whole, and feel proud, feel happy, and feel content, then even the busiest, biggest, and most naive shut-in of a mother (a.k.a. me), can confidently know she is living. It. UP.