I was reading a post over at Hella Stella the other day, where she was imagining what her 19-year-old self would think of herself today. Stella came out pretty well, but I’m thinking my own 19-year-old self wouldn’t be too happy.
When I was 19, I was so sure I never wanted to have children. I just knew I’d be a bad mother – absent minded, self-absorbed, too heavy of a sleeper. I had a million reasons why it was a bad idea, and I was just terrified at the thought. I’m sure my younger self would think it was hilarious that I ended up with three kids. Right after laughing and pointing at me, she’d go see a double bill at the movies, go out for a coffee afterwards and then head home to sleep in until noon. BITCA.
I never had very grand ambitions as a teenager. My mother thought maybe a pharmacist or a librarian, but I liked the concrete right-or-wrong of math so I went into engineering. I had fleeting thoughts of being Governor General or maybe an Oscar winning actress, but really, I just wanted to find something I loved, get paid to do it, and earn some respect.
(Although, there was that time when me and my friend Sheila told our favourite teacher at school, Mr. Mercer, that we both thought we’d make excellent secretaries. He was aghast, but actually, Sheila and I are both highly detail-oriented people with good memories and excellent typing skills, and we would have been seriously adored and highly paid as 50s era secretaries. Born too late, I guess.)
Running a household and being a full-time mom…well, it doesn’t pay very well. I do love it, most days, but there’s a decided lack of kudos – my three little bosses are more likely to whine and complain about my work than offer me a day off “in lieu” or give me an excellent review. Being at home just does not give you a feeling of actual accomplishment – it’s day in, day out of the same stuff, struggling to feel like you’re making a difference, wondering when someone is actually going to APPRECIATE what you do around here, for a change.
(Although, I did get a round of applause for finally cracking the lid on that bottle of apple juice that I was struggling with for 10 minutes. Thank you, thank you.)
And it’s not as though I’m going to be winning any awards for my awesome diaper changes, or the kick-ass way I changed those sheets, or the way I yelled at my kids until they finally, FINALLY did their homework/practiced piano/cleaned up their freakin’ Barbie shoes. My weekly meal plan does not appear to be patentable, nor will I be receiving a bonus for actually remembering to send the library books in on library day this week.
(Although, I am about to revolutionize parenthood with a landmark new finding: bring a box of crackers with you when you pick up your preschooler from nursery school. The brilliance! The Nobel Prize Committee should be calling any day now.)
I think the 19-year-old Lynn would call this life a fail. She loved getting A+ on tests. She always got the pats on the back. She never would have considered it a major triumph if someone told her they thought dinner was “okay, I guess,” or picked up enough toys to make a clear path from the bedrooms to the bathroom.
She’d laugh to think that I’d grown interested in volunteering, that I was most proud of my ability to put together a balanced meal from scratch, and that I (SHUDDER) occasionally, sometimes, identified with my own mother.
She’s certainly frown to think that I’d put my own big plans and dreams on the back burner – at least for a little while – and put the wants and needs of a family before my own.
But the thing is, I’m very happy with who I am now, where I am now, what I have now. I wouldn’t swap it out for the world. Quite frankly, that young version of me was a little obnoxious. And self-absorbed. And judgy.
(Although, she sudid know how to get a good night’s sleep.)
Times do change, don’t they?