It’s absurd. The Baby Man has a hold on us moms. Our innate competitiveness (my child WILL be the cutest kid ever) paired with our maternal instincts (my baby WILL be the most loved baby ever) have turned us into raging consumeristic, neurotic, materialistic snobs. And we don’t even realize it.
I remembered I probably wouldn’t see you again until late that evening. We’d give each other a quick kiss, a tired, lingering hug, and chat about our days. I would tell you a few funny and/or disturbing stories about the kids and you would fill me in on work. We would give our best effort to listen and respond, though our eyes would be growing heavier by the minute. I thought about how you’d probably fall asleep on the couch later and I’d attempt to wake you up to come to bed, but eventually give up and crawl into bed alone, but not necessarily lonely.
And I felt a twinge of sadness. Like we’d lost something. That excitement and anticipation. That passion. What happened to us? I wondered. And for a minute, I wished we were back there, flirting in your dorm room, listening to that song on repeat.
I’d tell her her stuff makes me laugh as hard as the first time I saw Anchorman (really hard, BTW). I’d tell her how I just finished her latest book, Church of the Small Things, and cried the last two chapters like all three of my babies because it was like she was speaking to my soul. I’d try not to get too deep on our first encounter, but casually insert that I too struggle with feeling like I’m not doing enough and not making a big enough impact. I’d tell her I also have “all these feelings of being inadequate and questioning why things happen the way they do and wondering why I wasn’t good enough for this or that.” I’d tell her her words mattered to me.
I’m just overwhelmed, I finally squeak out. Clark and I got into a fight last night. About floors. I don’t think we can afford new floors in the new house, but he thinks we can. And watching our savings account disappear makes me feel all kinds of out of control. I like having a cushion. I think it’s an irresponsible decision, and all I want right now is to feel stable. In case you haven’t noticed, I am feeling unstable.
I laugh, but it comes out more like a bark. I make a mental note to google “How to Cry Adorably” when I get home.
We talk for a while. They ask questions and hold my hand. They pray over me. And then they give me the best marriage advice I’ve ever received.
We seem to all agree on the dangers of smartphones (addiction, academic distraction, sleep impairment, anxiety and depression, cyber bullying, sexual content). But we also agree that if and when we choose to hold off, we’re going to be fighting an uphill battle because kids who DON’T have a smartphone are increasingly becoming the minority.