Happy 4th, my lovely readers. Happy 4th.
We are braving the great big typical world this weekend with a staycation at a local resort. There will be swim-up movies, a water balloon toss, t-shirt decorating, hoola hoop contests – this sounds like kid heaven. My son is going to love this.
And yet, I am sitting here at my kitchen counter with a knot in my stomach. Why??
I went zen on this. I closed my eyes, and ran through my brain’s list of why I might be nervous for a weekend packed full of good old-fashioned Americana. Packing? Done. Schedule Maneuvering? Handled. Being Seen in a Swimsuit? Over It.
Being around loads of people with my son for an entire weekend? Ding Ding Ding! Whoomp, there it is.
Let’s mix a giant dose of self-shame in with that stomach knot.
Truth? I’m tired of being Mom on Display. I’m tired of people awkwardly pretending not to notice my son. I’m tired of smiling at strangers to put them at ease. I’m tired of “He’s adorable!” when they mean, “Crap, she caught us staring and now we don’t know what to say.”
I’m tired of polite smiles and sideways glances. I’m tired of my game face being stuck in calm, cool and collected because of the stupid notion that demonstrating human emotion in public means you’re losing it. I’m tired of my son’s very presence providing parents with perspective.
In a sentence, I’m tired of being an inherently private person who takes center stage every time I go out into the world with my son.
That’s it, really. I recognize that I probably sound like a paranoid schizophrenic, but you guys, I am just tired of feeling watched. My brain says, Becca, this is reasonable, this doesn’t make you a lousy mom. But my heart, my-walk-the-line-tell-like-it-is-heart says, Homegirl, you suck. Jax deserves a warrior, not a whiner.
One of my sisters tells her employees “speak in solutions.” I like this. I can’t solve Jax’s behavioral issues and make him less noticeable today, and I can’t draw new boundaries for my comfort zone in the next hour. But I can pick up the phone and reserve a poolside cabana. It’s expensive if you’re just buying shade. For a sheltered place to glue your cracked game face back on? It’s a bargain.
Rebecca Masterson is a writer, speaker, and an advocate for children. For more from Rebecca, follow her on Instagram.