I’m on an adventure with my husband and kid, and it’s been lovely in many ways. In other ways, it’s tougher than I anticipated. It’s not a vacation: it’s a working vacation. For me, that meant cordoning off days in which I would be available and for Brandon, that meant doing his best to keep up a full-time gig on the road. In Mexico. With a two-year-old.
We’ve had a blast, but he’s tough to wrap my head around. Stressed, overwhelmed, sick. I don’t know whether to be supportive or tell him to “snap out of it.” I’ve lately been leaning toward the latter as I spend hours entertaining our toddler while he sends “just one more email.”
I’m trying to be the person I read about the other week – the person who “doesn’t give a fuck.” The person who doesn’t let things stress them out, shrugs and lets things roll off her back. It’s hard when my toddler throws a tantrum in a restaurant in Oaxaca and I’m thinking about how we’re “those” tourists; giving the U.S. a bad name and what is wrong with us letting our 2-year-old watch “Monsters, Inc” at the table so we can all eat in some semblance of peace? The obnoxious people who buy the spinny toy at the market so the kid will stop screaming? This is not the mother I want to be, and yet, I am. And I do give a fuck.
This trip has left me with a lot on my mind, which is kind of the opposite of where I’d hoped to be. I’ve removed toxic and unreciprocated friendships from my life this year and have begun to build new ones – particularly with those who share my values, my passion, and my interest in connecting (although, Dione, I am TERRIBLE at being present lately).
Politics, per usual, is garbage, although I’m excited to see the field of candidates of my party growing like a field of tulips in a desert. My mystery side project is heating up and nearing its end; a project I’ve been working on for nearly a year and am excited to complete. I turn 32 in a few months and I am perilously close to missing certain goals, but I’m making new ones, so it’s okay. I’m considering hip hop classes and improv workshops. I want to rediscover me outside of my kid. For his sake and my own.
Nevertheless, I know I’ve got a good one. He is kind, he is smart and playful. He’s funny. He has all my bad habits: entitlement (UCK), a love of television (working on it–my, how quickly it happens), a penchant for cursing (today, a ball almost rolled into a sewer and he shouted, “JESUS CHRIST!”–not the best idea in a heavily Catholic country). He also has some of my strengths: perseverance, goofiness, deep love, a strong will. Other traits not inherited by me include coordination, athleticism, and a very broad palette (Brandon said the other day, “He either has an extremely refined palette or no tastebuds at all.” He later tried to eat the helmet off a Lego man). Despite my best efforts, he is spoiled. Not indulged at every turn but spoiled by our lifestyle: dinners out, trips, treats. It can simply be difficult to avoid privilege when your parents have it. The one plus I’ll put in our category is that we are passionate about activism and diversity. Not only does he come to every march and protest, Cam understands, at barely two years old, that he is not alone on this planet. Today, he played with a little girl who spoke not a lick of English, and they became friends, teaching each other “hello” and “thank you” in their own languages. He waves at everyone and says “Adios” and “Gracias.” He hears another language surround him, and he plays at home with people on the playground who don’t necessarily look like him. His best friend has two mommies. We are raising a good kid. A real good kid.
Being a mom is a constantly-evolving, yet rewarding, challenge. Being a woman with a career, particularly one that is self-made, is also an evolving rewarding challenge. Being a wife lately has, frankly, been mostly a challenge. But such is the tide of ebbs and flows of a relationship. You love hard and you weather the storm.
My focus this year is on personal growth. Feeling better, doing better, staying active for me, getting back to my core desire of a work-life balance (versus what’s now a work-work-work balance), and being a better mom to my kid. Part of that means not being swallowed whole by him. And that’s been the most difficult thing of all.