Enjoying a Suck-Ass Day

I recently went out for non-drinks with a pregnant writer friend, who is understandably concerned that motherhood will ruin her life.

Oh, it will, I told her. Everyone’s going to tell you to go see a movie alone or some stupid thing like that. As if balancing a popcorn bucket on your belly for a couple of hours is gonna make up for the fact that life as you know it is just about over.

She looked at me, shocked. Okay, so maybe I could have been a little gentler.

But seriously- I had just had a day, during which I drove from a school conference in Altadena to an occupational therapist in Encino then over to a child development specialist in Sierra Madre then to Trader Joe’s for some special fucking salami and crackers that we can’t possibly live without in this house for five seconds, even though the rest of the stuff we need is at FOUR different other stores. Then I made a stew that nobody liked and they both ate frozen pizzas. The end.

But you’re happier now, right? She continued.

Nope.

Nope, not happier. I was happy when Scott and I went to Japan every ten minutes. I’m exaggerating for effect here- I’m sometimes happier. I’m also more worried, stressed, exhausted, annoyed, et al.

But I am certainly better. I am less selfish. I am stronger. And the world breaks open for me in surprising and transformative ways.

Of COURSE you’re happy spending your days shopping for Hello Kitty barrettes (for yourself) in Harajuku and then writing humorous little blogs for Vanity Fair while eating room service and overlooking snow-blanketed Tokyo from your hotel room. That’s easy.

But what I never would have expected, is that somewhere in between the school conference and the occupational therapist, I was listening to a great Shins song and the car was facing west toward the beach (sometimes it’s enough just to know the ocean is so close) and the afternoon light was buttery gorgeous and this enormous and surprising sense of joy cracked over me.

Because who knew that I ever was this person? That I can show up for my kid and seek help for him and advocate for his needs? I always thought I was selfish and depressed and narcissistic and barely functioning. I guess I still am on some days, but there are other facets to me that I never would have had a chance to see without my son. I prefer to be this person, even when she is less happy than my previous, more carefree incarnation.

And then there is the thing about the giant, heart-expanding, crazy-making, everything-they-ever-said-it-would-be love that comes with motherhood. Happiness is for wusses. I’ll take the love.

Here’s that Shins song I was talking about…. Also- the dog in the video looks just like my dogs!

10 Responses to 'Enjoying a Suck-Ass Day'

  1. eve says:

    needed this today! just was in glendale getting expensive pro-biotics we can’t afford, headed to Bev-hills now to a GI specialiast, then to the valley for work tonight for millionaires with spoiled teenage daughters. my life is NOT better or easier with my baby, but I am fuller-wholer-better 150%.

  2. Karin says:

    Great song, great video, great post. One of my favorites of yours, I’d say.

  3. Luke MacGillivray says:

    Thank you for the song. It made me sad yet happy at the same time.
    Ive been meaning to visit your website for a while now as I am a fan of your husbands band as well as a musician myself.
    Cheers!

  4. Tyler says:

    couldn’t have said it better….happy new year to you and yours! xo

  5. Alisa says:

    Great, honest post. Thank you for sharing the real deal. So true…so true.

  6. Jasmine says:

    I love you, Jillian. I love your family.I’m glad to know awesome people like you and Scott exist. T is a lucky little guy to have you two and vice versa <3

  7. Jennifer says:

    Ooo, I needed this post. I am an “expert” mother to an 8 week old. Usually he is an insanely easy baby, even sleeping 7-10 hours a few nights in a row at a time several times now. But the tough times feel so tough in relation to the sweet/easy/sleepy baby times. At church today they said we will all be given a chance to shine this week. I realize that every opportunity with my son, who won’t even remember these moments, is a chance to shine. And often, especially late at night I don’t shine at all-I dim myself, I dim the room, I dim the love I have for my own son. Which is NOT at all what I long to do. This week with every fiber of my being, I want to shine even if I am not happy with it, I can shine.

  8. Leslie says:

    This is beautiful. Just wanted to add that not having children does not a selfish person make. There are many ways to live a fulfilling life and I think its important to acknowledge that for those men and women that choose not to have a child. I love your blog and get so much out of your writing – so thank you for that.

    L

  9. Shannon says:

    Gah. I love your writing. Our boys are so similar. (Mine a year or two behind yours.) Can you please just write my feelings down in words every other day so I can pass them out to people I can’t explain them to?

  10. heather says:

    Great post. I’m definitely feeling not happier at the moment. And my instincts are to be selfish – but you just can’t. Or you can, and look like a total asshole.

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