Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Post Where John is Exonerated

The career that has chosen me, motherhood, and the career I am simultaneously striving toward and pulling away from, writing, are both lonely professions.

Motherhood might be the loneliest of professions. Especially stay-at-home motherhood, lauded by my working friends as the most sacrificial of endeavors. Some wish they could stay home with their kids, too. Others admit they don’t think they are cut out for the job. When "real" professionals ask me what I do, they always respond with: you have the most important job in the world! It’s as if they know they have to assuage my atrophied mind.

I’d rather they didn’t say that. I would never gush at my kids’ pediatrician, say, and insist that he has “the most important job in the world.” I don’t know what “the most important job in the world” is. I’m sure motherhood is up there, but scientists developing vaccines, those who keep our sewers running, and the people who make diet Dr. Pepper are pretty darn important, too. The false-sounding sentiments about the importance of motherhood by lawyers and accountants and brokers and teachers, ironically, make me feel small.

After all, an important job is not always done well. And motherhood is certainly no exception.

I’m not doing it that well, lately, as evidenced by the mess in my house, late homework notes from teachers, the tangles in my little girl’s hair, and the fact that my little boy is running around saying, “Well, crap!” every time he doesn’t get his way. (I laughed the first couple of times. Now, I feel sadly resigned to his potty mouth.)

I feel overwhelmed, busy, and oftentimes, alone. Moms are busy. We are too busy to talk to other moms, and when we do, we talk about our kids. It’s a lonely life.

Monday, my husband left for Albany until Wednesday with a promise to call on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day, with its over-commercialized hype and friends on Facebook proclaiming their husbands as the greatest ever while singles feel left out and stay-at-home moms remember Valentine’s Days of yore, when they were younger and prettier and had a night out to look forward to. Yesterday, Ella, who had a hoard of candy stashed somewhere, ate that hoard and moaned about a stomachache all day. She finally threw up on my dad and stepmom’s chair last night while I was trying to watch a Cary Grant film. It was not the best of days.

“Can you believe,” said John via telephone, “that I proposed to you fifteen years ago?”

“What? No. Thirteen years ago. You proposed thirteen years ago.”

“Really? Huh. I thought it was fifteen.”

At that point, I was feeling pretty grouchy.

“Where are my flowers?” I demanded. This is especially romantic, to demand flowers over the phone on Valentine’s Day when you know very well your husband has not ordered you flowers. It’s great for morale.

“Flowers? What flowers? I’m taking you to Philadelphia this weekend,” he said. (This is true. We are taking a much needed getaway to the city of brotherly love.)

I sniffled.

After the kids were tucked away, I folded laundry while watching old episodes of House, selected a new book to begin, and wandered up to bed at around 10:30.

It was depressing.

The phone rang.

“Did you like your flowers?” John asked.

“What flowers. I didn’t get any flowers,” I said.

“Check the porch. You probably didn’t see them. There should be a box of flowers there for you.” I grumbled and plodded down the steps in my slippers and opened the door. There, in the dark of the night, was my husband, hands full of roses and candy. Let me tell you, I haven’t cried happy tears in a long time. Because when you’re lonely, sometimes you just want someone to hold you for a long time and remind you that what you do is worthwhile. That you’re loved. That it doesn’t matter if you are dripping black mascara on their white Van Heusen collared shirt.

If you get a chance, call someone you care about today. Remind them that what they do is important. That it is important enough that they should strive to do it well. Especially if that someone is a mom… or a writer.

Remind them that they are loved.


My name is Heather. said...

aww, what a romantic!

hokgardner said...

What a lovely, lovely husband.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, John!

Kim said...

I love you, Holly! That was sweep-you-off-your-feet romantic! I'm totally jealous... :-P

And as far as your mothering skills, as long as your kids are happy, fed and not total jerks to other people on a regular basis, you have to call it a good day. I have Pop Tarts ground into my carpets, crumbs under the kitchen table, and my living room windows are covered in so many finger prints, slobber and boogers (it's cold season) that it looks like I own a llama for a pet. But my kids are happy and relatively health (except for all the snot!)

You're not alone. Don't forget that. Plus, you have an awesome husband to sweep you off your feet on Valentine's Day. :-)

Chris'Wife said...

This may have been my fav Holly Goes Lightly ever. Maybe...there are so many good ones :) are the man. Good job.
And Holly, remember that through your writing you help the rest of us to not feel so alone.

Christen Piston said...

Um. That made me cry a little :) [As an aside, I love reading your posts, because even though I am a working mom of three kids and you are a self-employed mom home with her kids, we really have so much in common. Especially with the emotional rollercoaster, the late homework notes, the "exactly how much therapy will my kids need?" panic attacks. I get it. Motherhood kind of unites us I think. So . . . anytime you need to commiserate :)]

Lori Dyan said...

Well crap - you have me getting all booey on my sandwich. What a lovely story. I'm planning on starting a colony (commune?) for funny blogging chicks who make me laugh. We will sit around doing yoga, writing, sleeping, watching bad reality tv or just drinking sugary, booze-soaked drinks served by swarthy-looking dudes. You are officially invited. #silverlining

Sheila said...

Good Lord - how romantic. I cried for you just now. But to be honest - I AM 8 months pregnant and most commercials make me cry also. :-)

Glad you had a happy ending to your day!

I hear you on the SAHM business. That's my job too.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! This is beautiful!

Holly said...

Thanks, fellow moms. It's good to remember we're not really all alone- that it just feels like that sometimes. :)

Christin Snell said... made me cry! Just dropped my hubby off at the airport for a three day trip. Sigh...

Jessica said...

How lovely and romantic!!

Mary (Jennings) Edwards said...

Awww!!! Thank you for sharing that moment Holly :) So glad you did feel loved and appreciated on Valentines Day. Way to go John!!!

Heidi said...

Kudos to the hubby! I agree with Kim on her thoughts about motherhood. Happy, fed, reasonably well-mannered children are enough.

Sometimes we all feel like haggard waste products behind close doors. Then put on a bright smiling face for everyone else.

Motherhood is hard. That doesn't me we love it any less. Just that we are realistic about what it means.