Remember when I attended a blogging conference last month? It was awesome. Conversely, re-entry back into real life and motherhood was a cold, hard bitch.
Adulting wasn’t terribly difficult for me until it involved being in charge of other people. Currently, adulting feels very much like trying to run through Jell-O while being chased by three angry midgets who suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome and make me stop every few minutes to feed them.
Except that they hate food.
Despite the fact that it’s hard, I love being a mom. There is no arguing that it’s emotionally and physically exhausting and is by far the most difficult task I have undertaken and will continue to undertake every day that I’m alive, but I consider my role to be a higher calling. I actively CHOSE to be a mom. In fact, I actively CHOOSE to be a stay-at-home mom, which sometimes means looking out of my kitchen window to see my middle child standing butt-naked in the driveway watching his older brother wave the water hose in the air from the top of our car.
I also take motherhood seriously, which is why instead of screaming profanities at my children or beating them silly when they cram balloons down two of our bathroom sinks, I take a deep breath and only yell a fraction louder than the situation necessitates.
Okay … that was a lie.
But I do my best, I really do. And I try to enjoy it. Then, when no one is looking, I harness all of that angst and I channel it into humor. If I can’t laugh at my life — my maddening, insane, hilarious life — then I wouldn’t be a happy, functional, wife and mother. I would be a depressed, angry, pill-popping excuse for a wife and mother. I know this because that is what I was before I learned how to channel my emotions in a healthy way.
Some people don’t find my humor funny. Some people find it distasteful or downright offensive. I understand that, because humor isn’t supposed to be universally understood or accepted. The things I find the funniest tread a line between “completely offensive to Conservatives” and “marginally offensive to the average person.” I make a lot of jokes about alcohol and motherhood because to me, it’s funny.
Writing what I write is how I keep my sanity while shepherding three children under the age of 6. I joke, I exaggerate, and I drink, because I’m a 35-year-old responsible adult. Drinking is not for children. Profanity is not for children. This blog is not for children. My Facebook page is not for children. ALMOST THE ENTIRE INTERNET IS NOT FOR CHILDREN.
But you know what? Part of my job as a mom is to teach my children how to navigate the modern world responsibly, so that when they do become adults they are able to adult with more finesse than their mother. I like to think that I’m somehow able to walk through my life capable and self-aware enough to continue writing and joking and mothering appropriately all at the same time.
Circling back to the blogging conference. On Friday night I attended an event, and with a drink in my hand I was shown this video which is sponsored by Responsibility.org (the organization that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol).
Essentially, the video says that our children are watching us and by making jokes about parenthood and drinking, we are perhaps influencing them in a negative way. We were then asked to consider refraining from making our usual jokes about alcohol on social media for a solid month, and given the opportunity to write a blog post outlining our honest reaction to the presentation for a cash prize.
The first place prize is $500. That’s a lot of money.
I have great respect for Responsibility.org, and in no way wish to disrespect the organizers of the conference, the lovely woman who led the presentation, my colleagues who may feel differently about this topic, or my family of origin (who do not believe in alcohol consumption — nope, not at all), but as I sat there listening, a rage began to build up inside of me.
I say this with every ounce of Southern courtesy I can muster: I will say what I want, when I want, how I want. My writing is all that I have that is mine. The rest of me is constantly being given away to everyone else. If I want to make a joke about drinking wine out of my massive wine glass that holds 24 ounces, and no one finds it funny, I don’t give a shit. The one thing that is special about my writing is that it’s real. I’m not here to sell anything, win anything, trick anyone or perform for the masses. I am here because I am real and this is real and the people who enjoy what I write are real.
I don’t want to win $500 by pretending to be something that I’m not.
So maybe I’m not so bad at adulting, after all.
Disclaimer: I’m submitting this piece for a writing contest sponsored by Responsibility.org. I’m not being compensated for this post. In fact, I probably black-balled myself by writing it. I think we all know I’m not going to win. All opinions are 100% my own … obviously.