On my break, headed towards Old Navy to buy a pair of Super Skinny jeans (not for me! For my 13 year old son, silly), driving along the highway and doing that random-thought thing that happens. You know, when you're focused on the road and where you're going and what you have to get done when you get there and everything else you have to do after that...those scenarios that play through your mind. Sometimes I finish arguments during these drives, sometimes I pretend I'm famous and give interviews (shut up! It's fun. Try it sometime).
Today, though...today was different.
Today I thought about what life would be like if I didn't have kids. And I don't mean just a fleeting thing, a "gah can you imagine how much easier things would be" sort of thing. I think a lot of moms, if pressed and mayhap plied with a cocktail, would admit to sometimes thinking about life without children. But mom guilt and love for our progeny quickly smother such evil thoughts.
Not today. Today I spent the majority of my car ride fantasizing (YES I said fantasizing because I thought of this much like I think about winning the lottery or sleeping with Louis CK) about a child-free life.
I thought about where I might be working, what kind of home I'd have and yes I thought about what my body would look like if it hadn't produced and fed four human beings in six years. I thought about education (mine) and money (again, mine) and traveling and OH MY GOD what it would be like to not live and breathe motherhood every second of every day.
I thought about what it would be like to not worry about things like lunch money and grades and shady friends and judgy adults and financial aid forms and junk food and mother effing cell phone bills.
I thought about clean bathrooms and guest bedrooms and what it would be like to have to save up dirty clothes to get a full load. What it would be like to always know where the freaking remotes are and to live the kind of life where you don't open the fridge and find a milk carton with half a tablespoon of milk left in it.
All of these thoughts happened. All of them paraded through my cranium as the gray road was consumed in front of me and the gray skies gloomed above me. Big deal, right? Who doesn't think about this kind of stuff every once in a while, right?
But here's the kicker:
This time, I didn't feel bad. There was zero guilt for allowing myself to pretend for just a moment, for just a drive's worth of time. I didn't picture my children's faces and curse myself for being such an ungrateful heathen.
In fact, I was envious. Jealous of this Jenny in my mind, this Me living in Bizarro world, childless and flat-bellied and perched upon a toilet not decorated with amber splotches of dried pee. I even felt a little sad, not because I'd had these awful thoughts but because I'd never know what life would have been like if I'd chosen what was behind Door B instead of pushing Door A open without a moment's hesitation.
But this is what I did: I bought the jeans for William, and then I stopped at Trader Joe's for some Orange Chicken. Because my kids love it and dinner isn't going to make itself, right?
I forgave myself for having the kid-free fantasies and also for not feeling bad about having them.
I decided that as nice as it would be to have all of that stuff I thought about on my drive to Old Navy, I'm certain that choosing to have kids was the right choice for me.
And my children would probably agree.
This post is my first attempt at free writing in conjunction with my friend Heather and her blog The Extraordinary Ordinary. Do you blog? Have a stab at it. Write free and then link up at Heather's blog.