Mel and I shot another two sketches yesterday. It was a long, fun, challenging, exhausting, and creatively fulfilling day. On the ride back from the shoot Mel said, “Okay I’m going to say something and please don’t think I’m awful”.
“Sometimes when I’m not with my son, I forget I have a child. I feel like I did when I was single.”
“That happens to me too!”
“Does that make us terrible? Are we narcissists?”
“Probably, but I also think it’s kind of healthy.”
Okay, let me explain. Being a parent is an all consuming experience. Your life is no longer your own. You are responsible for another person for at least 18 years. However, there are, I have found, moments when I’m working on something or I’m out somewhere without my child and I feel like I did when I was childless. I’m not completely identified with being a mom. And then I remember, oh shit, yes I have a kid and there is a tinge of guilt.
There is so much stigma attached to being a bad mother, it’s everywhere. The wife of the new mayor of New York shared her ambivalence on being a mother and the Post wrote the headline, “I was a bad mother.” [pullquote-left] “Then I remember, oh shit, yes I have a kid and there is a tinge of guilt.” [/pullquote-left]This is about someone who quit her job to raise her children, but because she honestly admitted to feeling ambivalence about spending time with her baby, automatically becomes a bad mother.
There were days when Jack was a toddler that were unbearably lonely and long and I felt like a character in Mad Men anxiously waiting for my husband to come home. I felt angry and guilty because I wasn’t supposed to feel that way, but I did. Now Jack is older and it’s different. It’s always different. I wish I had been kinder to myself. I wish I had known it wasn’t going to always be like this so I could enjoy it just a little more.
A change of scenery is good for everyone. I’m not saying abandon your kid, I’m saying that it’s okay to enjoy yourself on your own and still be a good mom, right? We all need to help each other with this. Because guys…we are doing amazing!!!