Wednesday, March 08, 2006

How Do They Do It?

I ran into a mom I knew from my kids' school during the waning days of summer. We chatted a bit in the grocery aisle about summer and she told me she was sorry to see it go. She was going to miss her kids. I think my face petrified like a fossil. It was the only way not to scream: "ARE YOU NUTS??????" When I go to school, I watch the other moms, eager to get their kids home because that is what their lives revolve around. I can't imagine it. These are women with law degrees, ph.d's, brains up the whazoo...but they cashed it all in to be full time mothers. They seem to tackle the chores of motherhood with the ferocity and focus of supernatural beings. And I wonder how they do it.

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and, well, usually enjoy being a mother. But it isn't my entire world. My life revolves around my kids simply because it does, not from my desire to make them the center of my universe. My interests go way beyond children. Perhaps it was the way I was raised or maybe the quirk in my personality, but I couldn't imagine making my kids the only thing in my life.

Many of these women didn't start having kids until they were in their 40's and they seemed to have stopped with two. But when you talk to them, all they can talk about is their kids, the school, the sports, the dance classes, playdates, etc. It is as if they never had a previous life. I never hear them yelling at their kids. I can't imagine them telling their kids to "stop it because I said so." They explain things. I don't have the patience.

In some ways I envy them the joy they take in motherhood. To be able to immerse themselves in their children's lives so completely and seem content to do so is beyond my comprehension. I'm always longing for something more. Writers understand that craving for time to write, time to focus, etc. But even if I didn't write, I'd have something else that occupied my mind.

I do wonder, however, what happens when their kids hit high school and the last thing they want is their moms breathing down their necks. I wonder what happens then?