Because I’m supposed to be working on things with a deadline, my imagination has taken me all sorts of places lately.
Today I was recollecting my dreams of motherhood before I had children. My most vivid memory of that time and those particular feelings is of frequent drives into work in the rain. I had to drive about 30 minutes from our home to my job as a technical writer for a large bank. I didn’t especially like the job, although I didn’t hate it either. But it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was the job that was supposed to help pay for my husband’s seminary degree, nothing more. So while I did quite well at it and was about to be appointed an officer right before I resigned, I had no attachment to that job.
Instead, I longed to be a mother.
For some odd reason, my aspirations toward motherhood would strike with the most ferocity on those rainy morning drives into work. On those wet mornings, as my windshield wipers swished back and forth and I sat in the throng of cars headed toward various places of employment, I would daydream of a different kind of rainy morning.
I imagined a mom and her preschoolers settling into their warm home for a rainy day with coloring books and Barney videos and play dough and homemade chocolate chip cookies. I imagined the little children with footed pajamas perched on their knees on the sofa and looking out the window at the rain coming down, mesmerized by the prisms cast by the thousands of drops on the panes. And I pictured the mommy, with baby on hip, stirring warm oatmeal in the pot, waiting for it to cook through and through.
In my mind, this was the epitome of the bliss of motherhood. Mommy in her faded jeans and cowl neck sweater (it was the 80s ok?) would be preparing a warm breakfast and thinking about how to entertain her housebound children all day while she also got the floors vacuumed and dinner prepared. Or maybe she’d plan a relaxing morning at home and then pack the kids into the mommy van for a lunch date at Mickey D’s. However the scenario played out, one thing I knew for sure: she would speak softly and affectionately, the children would giggle and play with one another effortlessly, and the baby would simply bounce on the hip and coo or sleep in its cradle.
And I envied this mommy, wherever she was.
And I was sure she was in every single house I was driving by on my way to work. While I was rushing from the wet parking lot to my office in my wool suit and high heels, she was cuddled up on the sofa with her adorable, sweet smelling munchkins, bellies full of oatmeal and milk.
Later when I had my own little
monsters munchkins, I would recall those dreams conjured up on a rainy highway to corporate America, and I would feel obligated compelled to do my best to recreate those scenarios in my own humble home. Usually that occurred on the mornings that rumbling thunder and the pitter patter of rain on the roof would awaken me instead of the alarm clock. Remembering my dreams of motherhood and the fact that I indeed had two little children rubbing their eyes in their own little beds, I would bound out of bed, dress in my cutest faded jeans and sweatshirt (it was the 90s now), and head to the family room to create the scene.
First I would open the curtains wide on the front window, leaving only the filmy enhancement of the sheers in place. That way we’d have a more romantic view of the rainy morning. Then I’d walk into the kitchen and look for the oatmeal.
No oatmeal. No eggs for pancakes. No cinnamon rolls to pop in the oven. We’d have to settle for cold cereal and milk.
Then I’d turn on Barney so my 3 year-old son could sit on the coffee table in front of the television and sing along. But he didn’t want to watch Barney. He wanted to bang on his work bench in his room…loudly.
Then he wanted to go outside and play in the puddles. No, that wasn’t in the plan. In my dreams everyone stayed dry.
The baby would nurse, but afterward she wanted to sit up on my lap, not bounce on my hip.
The phone would ring. A friend needed me to keep her kids while she took one to the doctor.
My husband announced he needed me to bring the kids and come to the senior adult lunch at the church that day. Wet. Not on my list. Not in my dreams.
Isn’t that the way it is with dreams, ideals? They rarely come to pass in such rosy hues as we dreamed them. The real thing is louder, messier. And other people hardly ever play their roles according to script. They are less cooperative, more demanding, less cherubic, more devilish.
I don’t have any witty or profound way to wrap up this little indulgent trip down memory’s memory lane. I just thought I’d share.
Because I’m supposed to be working on my project with a deadline and I’d rather be reliving old dreams instead.
But I’d love to know about your dreams of motherhood. What did you think it was going to be like? And how did your reality clash with those dreams?
Don’t get me wrong. I definitely got to play out some very sweet mornings with my children, whether it was raining or snowing or sizzling outside. But I just think those initial idyllic dreams are worthy of a chuckle or two. 🙂 Because my dreams did indeed come true, but the stage on which they played out were quite different than the one I’d conjured up in my hopeful mind on those rainy mornings while I drove to a job I didn’t want.
Susan Stilwell says
I'd just like to confess — THIS WAS ME TOO. Oh my gosh, in my navy suit with black closed-toe pumps, all John-Malloy-ed out and dressed for success! And I had the EXACT same scene rolling through my head — footy pajamas and all!
What were we smoking in the 80s that gave us that idea?? A couple of toddlers later, that video burned like a jammed 8mm home movie (a 70s reference for you sweet young things).
Even though that vision never quite materialized, my children – crazy and loud and messy as they were – were/ARE the greatest joys of my life. It was worth leaving the corporate world to wipe noses, sweep crumbs, change diapers, scraped dried Play Doh, build Lego towers…
They have great memories and so do I. God was/IS good to us.
Thanks for that walk down memory lane, Kay. I hadn't thought of that blue suit in years 🙂