Planned life is boring

The struggle between being mom and feeling like you're in your mid-twenties

by Julia Ballerst├Ądt
Our author feels as if she leads two lives: one between the playground, dirty laundry, lunch boxes and other mothers, the other on the road with friends, at concerts and, above all, far away from the crafting table. But which self gives the direction?

I'm exactly in my mid-thirties. In summer it will be closer to my late thirties. Provided that at 36 you are already in your late thirties. But 40 is getting closer, and closer, and closer. Those who are over 40 say: It's not that wild. I, on the other hand, think it's very wild. Because it feels like I'm 27. But I was 27 when I became a mother for the first time.

A planned life

Husband, job, children, house, wedding - that's what I thought about when I was 27, because that's how it is done. Basically what a lot of people imagine. But with the size of my children, so did my desire for a different life, far away from diapers, screaming, playground and talking about children, cooking and Co.

I wanted to be independent, discover new things, be light again and not live the same life day in and day out. Some may now think: "Yes, that's the way it is when you have children - it is called everyday life" or "You can make life difficult for yourself". Still, I longed for another part-time life. The life I should perhaps have lived in my early twenties when I longed for that of a 35-year-old. Many of my friends take on the role of parents. Or they settle in well with her. I drowned in my role.

Something is wrong with me

When the baby time was over and the kids became more independent, it started. I wanted more than just to be a mother and I took my liberties. For a while, from a strange perspective, I was a bit proud of being a different mom and then somehow jealous that I wasn't like other people anymore. Out and about with friends in the evening, playing games, at the weekend more often in the club and during the week at concerts, during the day at home and at work, playgrounds and everything that a mother has to deal with in everyday life. I feel good in both, but strangely unadjusted in both worlds at the same time. Somehow I always thought that as a mother you would feel different, wiser somehow. As a mother, you know how things are and how life is ticking. Nope, I'm very far from wise. But how do you start looking for yourself when you don't even know what you want to find?

Breaking out

Going out for a long time at night between my childless friends in my mid-thirties has a strange aftertaste that I can't completely break free of - maybe because my mother regularly shakes her head about it; I also sometimes think I got stuck a bit and other parents wonder how I can physically get through dancing the night away. In the same breath I am told that they can and do not need it anymore.

I, on the other hand, need little sleep overall, but a lot of music and people around me. "I don't need that anymore" sounds to my ears as if I were needy in some way and had to compensate for something when I go dancing and at the same time it is the reason for the fact that one has grown up so boringly and terribly since children were there . Maybe just too exhausted from everyday life. In fact, I know very, very few mums who still feel like going out every now and then, let alone dancing, without going home shortly after 12.

And I wonder why that is. It's not like I have more time than others, but apparently the needs of a 25 year old. Of course I can live without clubs, bars, movies and concerts, but I don't want to - needing a big difference. I just like to be not mom, just Julia - without responsibility for other people, without to-do lists and outside the idyllic row house. Here I feel alive, young and full of energy.

Knowing something and then doing it are two different shoes

When I realized that I didn't really want to do the things I thought I really wanted to achieve in life, I was really upset. What kind of life do I want then? Up to my generation, my family only had linear life paths that corresponded exactly to the picture mentioned above. My grandparents celebrated a diamond wedding this year, it's an incredible 60 years. My parents will soon be celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary, similarly with aunts and uncles. All of them have been working in the same job for years or are now retired. There are no branches, and neither are divorces. Good and bad times anyway, of course. And in me a heart beats for exactly such a life that feels very safe and one that wants to live things differently, not in the same rhythm, but in the middle of life.

"Then just do as you think", say my friends. And of course they are right. It is just amazing how learned mechanisms work, how impressions influence our emotional world, between what we believe how we should be, what demands we should and want to meet and finding out who we actually are.

"You shouldn't care what others think"

That saying is so funny. Maybe they exist, the people who really don't care what others say or think. I don't know anyone, but some who pretend to be. Of course we compare ourselves, sometimes more, sometimes less, want to be liked, have access to other people and look for bonds. The art is to learn to differentiate between who or what is doing well, what suits me and when I just want to please others. At least those are always the tips that you read. However, implementation is a rocky road. After all, we did not become the way we are now overnight.

And when you as a mother are judged what is still happening everywhere and always, that is something very intimate, that is criticism of my inner being. I know that I am the best mom I can be for my children, but still I often (doubt) because being outside bothers me. Because I feel constricted and have made myself so vulnerable through the two of them - not only as a target as a mother to attack, but rather because the thought that something could happen to them is so unbearable.

Everything is in flow

To free oneself from evaluation systems, to focus only on oneself, this is something that our generation is learning for the first time and for which we are often referred to as egoists; throw away relationships too quickly, attach too much value to this self-love thing, who always want more than just accept that life is the way it is. Maybe it is, maybe not. When I've learned one thing: life is always changing, nothing is forever.

Established things change, new things are added. The problem is just the same here as it is with raising children: if you suddenly do it differently, it naturally calls into question, as the people before us did. And they, in turn, feel attacked because it implies that they may not have done things as well as they thought. Change often comes with fear and you need the courage and the strength to stand up for what you believe in and in which you feel comfortable, far removed from ideals and evaluations.

Not enough time for two lives

No matter how I twist and turn it, it comes down to two things in the end. First, I have an issue with getting older. I like my 25 year old me. Second, we don't have enough time. Zack, another day around, zack again spent too little time with the children, zack again the friend (s): not seen in forever. Maybe at some point you really have to decide where you want to go, or maybe you just take the road trip and see what's waiting around the next bend.

Just because they said that you live a life this way and that doesn't mean that you have to do it this way and that. And in the end there are actually only three people to whom I would like to give an account: to me and to my two children. And maybe you just don't have to decide for anything, just live the way it is right now.