It was Tuesday and I was ready to go home. My boss came in and asked me what time I wanted to leave for the Chamber Networking event that night. Ugh, I completely forgot. A few years back, I’d be more than willing to go to a brewery for a work event. Free beer, good conversations, and I get paid. Sounds like a dream part of the job. Well, present Me wasn’t so thrilled. Sure, we’d be networking and finding potential sponsorships for our events, blah blah blah, but honestly, it didn’t excite me. Truth be told, I didn’t really care. What does excite me these days? What do I care about?
I found myself after working hours at this event, with an empty glass in my hand, standing in a circle of professionals sharing stories about how our businesses are connected. Everyone was smiling, a few of them laughed at something someone said. And what did I do? I excused myself. I had to go to the bathroom, then I would be making my exit so that I could go home to my baby.
Just like that. In the middle of a conversation. With multiple people. I basically announced that I did not care nor did I feel the need to continue the conversation. I honestly thought “what the heck is wrong with me, why did I just do that?” My basic social skills seemed to have escaped me.
Lately, I’ve felt a disconnect. From everything, from everyone. Well, for the most part. On one recent occasion, I met up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time and we talked and caught up and I did feel like my old self again. Beyond that one occasion, I’ve felt like the ONLY thing I can think about, no, obsess over, is Wesley. His well-being, his schedule, his health, everything. I took him to the Emergency Room with a fever, and he’s had a 99.something fever for a few weeks now. He had a viral “thing,” which he got over, and now the pediatrician thinks he’s getting his molars. But I obsess. I even made plans with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Wesley’s father offered to watch him for the night so I could go have a good time, and I was excited, legitimately! However, the day came, and I canceled. I could not fathom the idea of leaving Wesley past 10PM. I couldn’t stand the thought of not being there for his bedtime and to make sure he was safely sleeping. I have a work conference 2 hours away from home in a few months. Guess who is coming with me? You guessed it- the baby!
I can be anywhere, doing anything, and my primal instinct of being a mother and needing to protect Wesley sets my mind and body into overdrive. Normally, I’m vibrant, fun, and, if I may say, pretty funny (sometimes.) Yet, recently, in social situations, I cower. I run away because I can’t focus on anything else, and if I find myself focusing on anything else for “too long,” a wave of guilt comes over me, and I am then beating myself up for not being a good enough mother.
I’m not trying to sell myself short. I believe that I can be less socially awkward and be a good mom all at the same time. But my new found question is….how? How do you take those worries and thoughts and turn them into something productive? I bet I’m not the only one with those questions, or the only one obsessing over their baby and trying to do what’s best for them.
Recently, my boss started listening to this “uplifting” podcast/audiobook about empowerment. Stop saying sorry for who you are, stop letting yourself or anyone else for that matter, get in the way of being WHO YOU ARE! Honestly, that kind of makes me cringe. Those ideas are all well and good until you have kids, have crushing anxiety, and don’t necessarily have certain opportunities given to you that some other people get (different in every situation.) Sometimes, and I hate to be a downer, but it just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes life is hard and you just have to get through it. Sometimes, your anxiety is going to stop you from doing things. Sometimes, life doesn’t go the way you want it. Your made up fantasies about being rich and hanging out with celebrities are, well, stupid. And you know what, if that’s what gets you through the day, fine! I’m not against it. All I’m saying is that for me, I can’t simply fantasize myself out of a situation and into a better one. I have to, like a lot of other mothers, women, etc., face reality on a day to day basis.
Side note: Wesley finally got his first pair of glasses. Like all other things, all I can say is “we’re working on it.”
Social disconnect, when all you can think about is being there for your babies, well, I don’t think that’s out of the ordinary. I think I’m just one of the many moms who put their children before their secular job, and I’m not sorry about that. Maybe I won’t ever be genuinely interested in what’s going on in a committee meeting I’m forced to attend, maybe I’ll always just be thinking of my little one, my family, and getting to the next day off. Maybe I didn’t turn out to be a “career” woman. But you know what- excuse my language….Fuck it. I don’t care. I care about being there for my son. I care about holding my family together in the way that is truly important. And I am not sorry about loving my family so fiercely, so protectively.
So I will say the only thing I can, the only thing that really applies in this situation as well as in a ton of others, but it’s as real as I can get- “We’re working on it.”
And that’s okay.