The other day I read that parents are less happy than the childless. After my automatic snort of derision, I was forced to agree.
Before having a child my husband and I used to go out for dinner to gorgeous restaurants at least once a week, we binge watched shows, played music loudly and stayed up late. We had conversations that didn’t revolve around the intake and output of our offspring, hangovers were a minor inconvenience and our clothes were clean. We spent our nights in the same bed and woke up together when we decided to. We went on holiday on a whim and worked late and went out for drinks with nary a second thought.
We did what we wanted, when we wanted.
We are living under a dictatorship ruled by a nonsensical tyrant who has just turned two. Our freedom has been curtailed by a human being we really, really wanted in our lives. A human being that we fought for.
I am not unhappy being a mother but it is a lie to say that I don’t resent the chains that have been placed around me. The small person taking over our lives brings immeasurable amounts of joy every day but there is a constant soundtrack of nursery rhymes, food smeared on every surface and my car looks like crack addled teenagers have been living in it. I don’t know what the inside of a restaurant looks like but I can accurately remember every item on our doctor’s desk. I am bitten, scratched and kicked daily and the last time my husband and I went anywhere together was when we organised a day off and the child was at school. Sometimes I arrange a babysitter and work late just to have some time off. I would give my kidney to sleep late and have a lazy weekend with my man. Sometimes I feel like there is a noose around my neck and my child is playing with the trapdoor.
History has buried freedom fighters in the hundreds, people who died for causes that I have never had to experience. It is ironic to know that I would readily die for the creature who has taken my freedom away.
For the next decade or so I am responsible for my child’s happiness and I worry that his happiness is at the cost of my own. What does that leave me with when he spreads his little wings to wreak happy havoc on the world?
For their tomorrow, we gave our today – John Maxwell Edmonds