Now that I am 40, I know the value of a good bra, a good man, and a good friend.
I know how to install tile flooring and how to make a recognizable Pokemon without the benefit of a pattern.
I know that staying out past 1:00 am guarantees at least one child will wake up at 6:00 am.
I also know that having children doesn't mean you are no longer a woman, and that family oriented fun does not negate the need for grown up fun.
There are a lot of touchingly sappy quotes going around Facebook that go something like this:
"Now that I am a mother,
fun consists of watching Disney movies
and snuggling on the couch,
not going to bars!
"Like" if you love your family
and are proud of being a mom!"
It's not an exact quote, but you get the picture. I am here to tell you that this is a whole heap of steaming hot crap. Not only that, but I think it even qualifies as misogynist bullshit.
"What,what?" You say? If you are thinking, "But I clicked "like" on this! I do love my family! " It's OK. You got sucked in to some anti-woman sentimentality disguised as motherly love. I have, too. It happens, but let's look at it a little deeper.
Here's the problem; it assumes that once you become a parent, all other needs you previously had have disappeared. As a single parent, I have been able to reclaim the part of me that is still woman not not just mama, and I hope every woman does the same.
Here's some other things I have learned:
1. Sex is better after having children. The illicit nature of hiding from children adds to the spice of it, but also after getting to know my vagina up close and personal while a baby pushed its way out of me, I am a lot less squeamish. I'm less inhibited. I'm proud of my female power. Giving up a healthy sex life after you have children is not noble, it's stupid. You had needs before, you have needs now.
2. Sometimes bars suck and are a total drag. If you are married, you probably look back on your bar days and, if you believe the internet quote mentioned above, you remember what a colossal disappointment going out was. But here's the thing; sometimes bars are wicked fun. Sometimes you dance or sing karaoke or someone flirts with you or you laugh too loud at things that aren't really funny. Sometimes they are really groovy.
3. Giving up your own brand of fun, whether it's dancing at bars or winning trivia contests, does not make you heroic or a better mother. It makes you prone to being short tempered and bitchy.
I may not be a role model for much of anything, but I do know how to have fun, or at least my own brand of it. I devoted myself to a well-rounded 40th birthday week, and this is what it included:
A romantic getaway with my romancer of choice.
A family dinner with presents and cake with the children.
A girls' night complete with instruction from a professional burlesque dancer, followed by a trip to the local saloon.
I got to wear a tiara and boa in public, and at the end of my birthday week, Tiny Pants was wearing my birthday tiara and Big Pants had adopted my marabou boa as a pet snake. It was a win for everyone.
My children were a part of my birthday, but they weren't the only part. My children are wonderful, sweet, loving little beasties that I adore to the ends of the earth, but they are not grown up companions, and turning into a mother did not negate my life as a grown up.
So you love to cuddle your kids and watch Disney movies on the couch? Rock on!
But I hope you also get to :
Have crazy sex with your preferred partner. (For most of you this would be your spouse. I hope all you marrieds still rip the pants off your husbands or wives regularly.)
Enjoy inappropriate laughter with your besties until tears roll down your face.
Do things that are a little outrageous and fill you with joy, and don't feel bad about it.