It may sound far-fetched, but bear with me. My three-year-old, who is tiara-deep in her princess phase, informed me the other day that I was just like a princess. When pressed, she explained that I cook, clean, and take care of people just like Snow White and Cinderella. She also was quick to clarify that I am not, however, like Ariel because I am not a mermaid.
This got me thinking: how far can I take this analogy? Turns out, pretty darn far! Feel free to join me down this self-actualizing rabbit hole (like Alice, who is not a princess but has a “pretty dress” and thus, according to my daughter, is allowed to pretend to be a princess if she wants)!
Only if I manage to finish all of my chores (imposed by my “Evil Stepmother” alter-ego) may I go to the Ball. In my case, however, the “Ball” is really the ball that I curl into, fetal position style, with a glass of wine and some chocolate after the kids go to sleep and only if all of the aforementioned chores are completed.
However, when the end is in sight, and I’m all ready for the “Ball,” something manages to go disastrously wrong. For instance, potty breaks (you cannot possibly need to go AGAIN), misplacing a favorite stuffed animal (it’s under your pillow), and declarations of “I NEED YOU” (why?! I forget).
And, as my husband informed me this evening, my current unplanned/unwanted cohabitation with a mouse makes me even MORE like Cinderella. I find that after this week-long waged warfare, however, I am not inclined to name it “Gus,” sew it clothing, or protect it from its hopefully imminent departure/demise.
I pine away incessantly waiting (and wishing) for my Prince Charming to appear. Often, Prince Charming takes the form of the babysitter, preschool, iPad, or my husband returning from work to screaming children, careworn mommy, and aforementioned chores.
♫ I’m wishing for the one I love, to find me today. I’m hoping, and I’m dreaming of, the nice things he’ll say…hahahahahaha. ♫ <—- It actually fits pretty well if you think about it.
The cleaning, cooking, entertaining, and general tending to the needs of small-ish beings also hits fairly close to home.
The similarity that initially struck me here was the absurd amount of tears. Between hormones and sleep deprivation, I never thought I was capable of this level of hysteria.
Then, I really got creative (and slightly tipsy on Pinot) and came up with this: just like when Aurora finally falls in love with her “dream prince,” when my dreams of sanity and relative peace come true, seemingly insurmountable obstacles appear before me and can include things such as:
- undeniable exhaustion (almost as if cursed);
- competing family obligations (while I am not, nor have ever been, betrothed, previous generations feel free to weigh in on my life and how I’m living it);
- a crushing sense of duty (what I’m “meant” to be doing oftentimes doesn’t resemble what I’d like to do or even what I feel I should be doing);
- and possibly a dragon-sized tantrum that I get to attempt slaying with my “sword of Truth” and “shield of Virtue” (aka tools of parenthood).
Yah, it’s a stretch, but I had fun.
Oh, and I’ve decided that the entire “Once Upon A Dream” song is really an Ode to a Lonely Husband:
♫ I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream; I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam, and I know it’s true that visions are seldom what they seam; but if I know you, I know what you’ll do: you’ll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream.” ♫
It helps that the song ends with the two characters running away from each other with a vague plan to meet up again, “maybe someday.”
My aspirations (full night’s sleep, uninterrupted shower, children who may one day peacefully play together, should I go on?) may not seem like much to most people, but they are deeply held and coveted dreams to me. In my efforts to achieve them, I work to the bone and send countless prayers to the heavens for divine intervention.
When quick fixes present themselves (extra screen time, playpen for the baby, etc), they inevitably backfire and add their own layer of complication.
I often hear people saying, singing, and screaming at me (verbally or digitally) in order to convince me that my life is amazing and that I need to enjoy it while it lasts, all the while I feel like there is a mystical land where all my problems of sleepless nights and piling laundry disappear. I hear it’s called empty-nesterhood.
And like Ariel, I will more than likely be sorely disappointed with the terms of having this wish granted (incidentally, that will probably be my face when I’m co-signing federal school loan papers).
After a frustratingly long time, I finally get over the wall and past my feelings of abandoning duty and family for something I know I need. I leave behind my domestic life for ONE DAY and some minor crisis drags me back.
A surprising number of people think I’m ♫ rather odd ♫ when I start raving about breastmilk, stretch marks, and nap schedules. It doesn’t matter whether it’s other parents with kids at the same stage or any other seeming common ground. Eventually, I will get the look that says:
♫ Look there she goes, that girl is strange, no question.
Dazed and distracted can’t you tell? ♫
Uh huh. That about sums it up.
And I like books.
♫ It’s 7am, the usual morning line-up… ♫
Except for us, it’s more like 6am, and nothing ever gets ♫ all clean. ♫ Often in my day, I wonder ♫ when will my life begin, ♫ as in the life I deluded myself into thinking I would have as a stay-at-home mom to small children. Also, I can totally respect a frying pan as the weapon of choice…that thing has heft!
When I finally do start living my life, I obsess over whether I’m making the right decisions, and what impact those decisions will have on my future, and the future of my kids, and… Okay, that’s it, moving on!
I downright refuse to succumb to convention and be “that” mom. I wear sweatpants (a lot) and actively try to avoid wearing makeup or doing my hair. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like to do those things, but I’d much rather let my hair down, wear non-constraining clothing, and eat to my heart’s content.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am totally “that” mom in other ways: I actually enjoy cleaning, cooking, and crafting. But, to be fair, no one can be “that” mom all the time, am I right?!
Double whammy here, and I figured out a way to make them both work (cue Pinot round deux). My daughter insists that Elsa is not a “real princess” and is, instead, a “Queen;” but, this is MY article, so I’m rolling with it!
When I can no longer control my “power” (temper), I remove myself to a dark, quiet place (bedroom) that becomes my impenetrable sanctuary (I wish).
When that fails, and social convention requires that I leave my “sanctuary,” there are definitely still times where I can think of nothing better than escaping to a desolate mountain-top to sing, uninterrupted, at the top of my lungs, ♫ LET IT GO! ♫ On second thought, I think I’ll call the desolate mountain-top “the spa,” and my anthem will be called “silence.”
As for Anna, anyone who’s ever tried to potty-train a child will appreciate the unique blend of hopefulness and persistence that one must embody to survive and bonus points for putting it to music:
♫ Do you have to go-o poopy? Come on let’s go and see. I want you to get off the floor, and through the door, and get onto the seat! We used to change your diapers, but now we don’t. I wish you’d just understand! Don’t you want to go-o poopy? It doesn’t have to be a poopy… Okay, bye. ♫
…ten minutes later…
♫ Do you have to go-o poopy? ♫
And so, I rest my case. You may now refer to me as “Princess Mommy.” I will be in my tower/castle/cottage proceeding with my princess-ly duties of cleaning, cooking, taking care of people, and generally being awesome because, after all, I am a Disney Princess!
UP NEXT: How Being a Stay-At Home Mom is Most Definitely NOT Like Being a Disney Princess