mother relaxMarisa Siegel wrote the other day about scheduling her pregnancy around a destination wedding and a tattoo. Before I had kids, I may have thought something along the lines of This lady isn’t ready to be a mother. Now that I have kids – it makes so much sense.

Maybe there are some women who still have all the time in the world after they have kids. Maybe there are families who have the budget to pay for help so they don’t have to be with their kids all the live long day. I’m not that woman and I don’t have that family. As much as I love being a mom, I’m becoming increasingly aware of certain pangs of jealousy appearing at the oddest times.

We were sitting at dinner the other day when I overheard the couple next to us say, What should we do now? Wanna go to a movie? I immediately became wrapped in a fiery blanket of envy. I barely remember what it’s like to go to the movies on a whim. Heck – I barely remember what it’s like to do anything on a whim that doesn’t involve being “family friendly” or something I am able to rush through in time for my toddler to not completely wear my mother out.

Manicures, pedicures, movies, leisurely days drinking in the afternoon and strolling along the streets of New York – these are all things that are but a distant memory to me. Yes, I still squeeze these things in. But they are so few and far between now that I am noticing something about myself. I am becoming seriously high maintenance.

My years in the service industry prevent me from acting on the frustration that plays out in my head when one of these insignificant events doesn’t go perfectly. But now, each of these undertakings is an intricate juggling act – one that mostly plays out in my mind. How do I get the most out of every, single benign event that I get to experience that doesn’t involve motherhood? I have yet to master this.

I got a pedicure a couple weeks ago.  The trivial ritual that I used to take part in at least twice a month has now become one of the only little things I do to pamper myself outside of the home. You can imagine the kind of pressure that puts on the occurrence. I used to just be content if the pedicurist got the polish right and I managed to make it home without totally fucking it up. Now, the actual pedicure better be the best damn pedicure around. Okay, maybe not the best. But good. Really good.

The whole thing has become a ridiculous mental balancing act. Is the massage chair strong enough? Is the water hot enough? Will this color match all the outfits I want to wear for the next month? And the pedicure itself? I can’t tell you how many times I have submerged my feet in scalding hot water and not said anything.

I’ve caught myself several times glancing down to make sure the water is not boiling, and that my skin is still in tact. You may wonder why I wouldn’t just complain about the water being too hot. Well, let me share a little tip with you. The secret to getting a good pedicure/manicure/massage is this: at no time can you come across as a delicate flower. It ruins everything. They won’t give you a good massage, they won’t scrub the shit out of your callouses, they won’t use the cuticle cutters – they will be too afraid to hurt you. You have to put on your game face or risk getting the lamest spa service, ever.

Do you see what is happening here? Doesn’t it all sound exhausting? You’re right – it is. All of these mental Olympics for a stupid, fucking pedicure. Damn it. It sucks.

Pedicures are one thing, but don’t even get me started on the movies. I’ve seen exactly six in the theatre since I had my son two-and-a-half years ago. You can imagine the kind of pressure that kind of rarity puts on a director.

Christmas day. My best friend convinces me to slip out of the house for a few hours to go to a movie. My husband agrees to watch the kids. I am on cloud nine. We decide on Silver Linings Playbook because everyone and their mother is salivating over it. It doesn’t take me long to realize that we chose wrong.

Why did he just throw that book through the window?
Is that Sally Struthers? It is, right?
What the hell is wrong with that girl? Why is she totally manipulating him?
Am I supposed to believe that Robert DeNiro‘s lifelong OCD was cured by seeing his son dance?
What the fuck did she just whisper in his ear?
This is the dumbest fucking movie ever. We should just leave. 

These are all things that came out of my mouth during this movie. Flash-forward three months and it’s being nominated for every Oscar that exists. I was unable to be entertained by a movie that was nominated for just about every award a film could be nominated for. What has happened to me?

I blame motherhood. I seriously do. I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep, the lack of time doing grownup things, or the backseat that my own social life has taken to being a mommy. All of a sudden every event is one that needs to be treasured. Everyone tells me it gets better when your kid goes to pre-school. I’m sure it does, only I’m about to give birth to a second. Ha!

You’re probably all thinking, this woman is terrible! Being a mother is the best thing in the world! You’re right. I just wish I could experience shitty pedicures and be bored at movies a little more often, that’s all.

(photo: Everett Collection / Shutterstock)