Being a woman… getting older… finding out who you are… it’s all part of a journey that is probably never really complete (I’ll let you know in 50 years or so if I still feel the same way). I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching this past year. I’ve made a conscious effort to find places for self-improvement, and tonight I’ve found another one.
I tend to take on the role of the “responsible adult” in my family. (If you’ve been reading for a while, you know this already.) I’ve been parenting my parents nearly as long as I can remember, and now that my Dad has passed away and my brother has reached the peak of his “stupid” phase, I find myself wanting to parent him too. But I’m not his parent, and he is an adult now (albeit, barely).
My responsibilities lie in taking care of myself, my Dad’s two dogs (which now reside with me) and my future children. I have to make my decisions for their best interest, as I am their primary caregiver. It is (and will be) my job to ensure they are kept safe and healthy, so if my brother tells me to “go fuck myself” after I’ve refused to let him take the dog camping in the middle of the night with a group of his rowdy 19 year old friends, then I’ll have to be okay with that.
I consider this practice for when I have finally adopted. I will learn to trust my judgement, and not feel guilty or sorry for my decisions.
Growing up I was always a little bigger than my friends. As I got older and gained more weight, that gap got bigger and bigger until it was more of a canyon than a gap. In my teenage years and early twenties, I loathed shopping for clothes because it usually consisted of me sitting outside the fitting room of a store meant for girls much smaller than me, while I told my friends what I thought of all the cute clothes they got to try on. I usually found myself staring in the mirror on the front of the fitting room door, feeling depressed by my reflection.
Those years lead to many where I avoided the malls all together, and instead I shopped in plus size stores that were located in strip malls or separate buildings, where I didn’t have to walk past all of the stores for “skinny girls”. I shopped mostly alone and sometimes with my mother accompanying me, but rarely was I with a friend.
All I’ve wanted for so long is to be able to shop in the same stores as my friends, and tonight I finally got to do that. My friend and I aren’t anywhere near the same size, but we finally found a store with such a variety from extra small to XXL, that we got to pick things out and try them on together. Sure, some of the stuff that was cute on her didn’t fit me quite as well, but we got to shop side by side, picking things out for one another and talking about which dresses had a strangely placed waistline and what on earth I would wear with those neon yellow flats I found by the counter.
It’s something that I’m sure seems so trivial to you, but it was a dream come true for me.
As I think about my decision to adopt, there are certain concerns that jump out at me. I’m trying to deal with them one by one, identifying and weighing my options, trying to find the best solutions to each. The concerns I have are pretty typical I think… can I afford this? What about the logistics? Will I be able to find after school care or babysitting? Will I have to move into a house with more bedrooms? Should I stay in the city or go back to the ‘burbs? Where are the best schools located? And the list goes on…
But my biggest concern is when will there be time for me? What about my Friday nights when I like to hit the take-out aisle of the grocery store and curl up on the couch at home in front of the TV, after a long week at the office? I don’t think I could function now without my night to stay in and veg, so how will I function once I have kids?
I do not intend on being one of those mom’s who says “once you have kids there’s just no time left for you!”. I firmly believe that to be a good parent, you need to be good to yourself, and that means taking breaks. Lots of breaks. I’m lucky enough to have an incredible support system in the making. I have already informed my mother that she’ll be my free after-school care (one down!), but she’ll also be there for me if I need some time off once in a while. There’s no reason my kids can’t go to Grandma’s for a weekend once a month, or spend the day at the zoo with my cousins, or once they’re comfortable enough, to have sleepovers with friends. I’m certain there’s another mom out there willing to trade sleepovers once in a while.
As for those Friday nights, I think the answer to that problem is to embrace it by making it a fun thing for the kids. “Children, Friday is our family night in! We can order pizza and watch movies until mommy falls asleep!”