It is amazing the amnesia (mom-nesia?) that hits at the end of most days. Consider this: We are on a family vacation with my parents. On Monday, my husband and father went to play golf. My mother and I stayed with my two kids, who are 5 1/2 and 3 years old. The day was pure insanity from the get go. There was screaming and toys were broken. There were tantrums and tears and punches and bites. Some from the kids, others not so much. We did not make it to the beach until 11, though preparations started much earlier. My mother adores my children, always and forever, until she has had enough and reserves the right to close her eyes, sigh, and leave them to me. She's earned the privilege of ignoring them at their worst, and then some. But I digress; by noon, I felt I had lived through three days at the very least, and there was so much time before the monsters went to bed...My 3 year old's horrible behavior continued unabated and when I finally cracked, it was the sand throwing that did it. Though that was the least of the problem behaviors of the day. I picked him up, put him in the wagon and dragged him back to the house (by the handle of the wagon, not by his sandy locks, though I was tempted), where he refused to nap for 45 minutes. When we woke up from our much needed nap...something had happened. The air had shifted. My chest felt suspiciously lighter, like it wasn't holding back the screams of generations of mothers. I could breathe, and looking over at my son, I noticed that he too felt it. He was giggling and suddenly I was laughing and there was a ball and toys and playing and merriment and when my husband got home and offered to watch the kids while my mom and I went out to dinner, I actually found myself protesting!
I mention all of this, because, as every mother knows, it is not an anomaly. Every mother suffers from (sometimes debilitating) mom-nesia. It gets in the way of our drop offs, and time outs. It gets in the way of dinner reservations and drinks with friends. It is a problem.
There are points during many of my days, when all I want is space to breathe. All I want is time away from my attention needing, constantly fighting, mommy calling, children. But by the end of a nap, or a glass of wine or a hug-cuddle-tickle session, mom-nesia kicks in again, and all seems right with my crazy little world. It is not news that we forget the pain and horrors of childbirth, but no one told me about the day to day forgetfulness that allows me to continue this job. Oh yes, there are moments...moments when I want to get in my car and drive. When I want to scream and curse and shake and growl. When I want to just give up. But then we are on a beach and they are running after each other and laughing. They are lying in the wet sand, letting the waves crash over them, and they are pure unadulterated joy and I can not imagine any other life. There are moments when we are in our house amidst a chaos of toys and they are moving chairs and stuffies and blankets and jumping and spinning and creating rules that make no sense to my adult ears, and I am entranced on the stairs, for once not waiting for the next shedding of tears, or the next scream, because I am seeing their hearts and loving their noise and I am thankful, so thankful for the now. And the screaming of five minutes ago, which was so intense and angry is just...gone. But the most amazing element of this psychosis (if it's not listed in the DSM, it should be!) is that when I do get away, when I take my husband up on the chance for a drink or a day off or moment alone, when the babysitter has been hired, or playdate arranged, mom-nesia really kicks in. The scene may be blissful; I am on a terrace, high above the sea, glass of white grenache in my hands, crab dip at my fingertips, and a confidant across the table. But I am thinking of their smiles, and that freckle above her right eyebrow. I am wondering if they are engaged or zoning out. Are they missing me or playing at a high pitch, mommy far from their minds? And when given the option for more time away, or time to go back, the psychosis answers for me.
Take me home.