As has already been established, contentment is far preferable to happiness in CrankMama Land. In my view, happiness, like success, is often an illusory experience, based on denial, or insularity, or a determination to ignore all grim things. It’s like that peppy high school cheerleader raw-rawing as I froze my ass off playing the flute in marching band. She just didn’t get it.
That same sensation of "huh?" grips me each time I talk to a mom who seems to not only never experience maternal angst and frustration, but whose very existence is seemingly wholly fulfilled by motherhood and its attendant domestic tasks and endless opportunities for craftmaking projects.
When you feel that you’re existing on the parenting edge of insanity, other’s cheerful chipperness and apparent normality make you feel so horrid and totally incompetent you not only suspect, you know you’re in hell. You’re just the dumbass in the band uniform while all the cute girls are dancing and laughing on the sidelines in their sweet little cheerleader skirts.
It is only now, five years later, one new husband and one more singleton child into The Motherhood, that I find myself… content. Not always, not predictably, but frequently content. I’m not fulfilled solely by these girls and the endless demands of preschooler twin girls (the TALKING the TALKING), but when they tell me they love me "bigger than the world" and my youngest puts her arms around my neck and snuggles her soft chubby face against mine in the waning days of her babyhood, I can finally see what all the fuss is about. Finally.
But I haven’t left the snarky, cranky fold of the imperfect. I’ll never be the put-together PTA president, the Halloween costume making stay-at-home-and-love-it-cutie mom, or the champion of all things mother.
Like my lovely sister-in-law who was the only person on the Canadian Boat O’ Happiness to pay real attention to the particular hell of chasing a new walker in a crouched position for two days around a small sharp-edged boat, I understand and feel great affinity for those who really get it –the many aspects of motherhood angst.
At one point, my pretty SIL put her warm hand on my arm, looked into my eyes and said in her beautiful Spanish accent, "Ahh, Rachael… I see you."