One really fun night, I went out with my very amazing friend who so graciously got us tickets to go see a comedy show called Parentally Incorrect. It was hysterical! Let me start off by saying it was a blast.
First, my friend and I ate sushi, which we could never do with our children because they would gag at the thought of it. We enjoyed each bite, and I didn’t break a sweat once. (Light back story: when you have five kids, going out to a restaurant isn’t really too enjoyable for us or the other patrons. Most times, I am in a full sweat before the drinks arrive.)
After we finished eating, we walked over to the show and had a great time. I was in tears because I was laughing so hard! And I wasn’t alone. Every single seat was filled with a mom who got a night off and came to see these ladies. The language was not G-rated, which I don’t mind because I’m not sure I am very G-rated myself.
They talked about real mom-life issues. One song they sang, which was fantastic, was “I don’t wanna die, but when I do, I wanna come back as a dad”! Some topics were inappropriate and others were super legitimate. They closed out by singing a ditty about how we are all doing a great job and that we are all awesome moms. They even handed out these business cards that said, “You’re an awesome mom,” and they encouraged everyone to give one to that mom at Target whose kid is having a tantrum. I had an awesome time.
One thing I will note is that it was the first time in a looooong time that I had gone out and done something and been sober. My sobriety has been a battle for me for over years. If you know me, then you know what my poison was.
Let me add a disclaimer to all of this by saying that my choice to get sober was based solely on my feelings and thoughts of myself and not others. I am in no way here to judge anyone for how they live their lives. I in no way look down upon anyone for what they do. But for me, it had to stop. Cold turkey. No turning back. Quit. It was hard, and it took a lot of trying to actually conquer that beast. Every day is another day towards clarity, and I wouldn’t change it for anyone.
But being sober in that space, I noticed that there was a faint smell of merlot in the air. It made me stop and take a hard look at being sober.
I can’t say every woman in there was drunk. But I can say that not just on this occasion, but on other occasions as well, I’ve heard all too often about moms who drown their life’s miseries in a bottle of wine after a hard day. Again, if that’s what you do…you do you, girl (or boy).
But for me, it all seemed so sad to see how much people—not just moms—rely on some THING to cope with their lives. It is hard to explain because it almost seems hypocritical to say, but with sober eyes, I looked around at all these moms and couldn’t imagine first of all, how they were all getting home; but secondly, the thought that popped into my mind was how they were going to care for their children once they got home or the morning after. Almost every reference in this stand-up act had some sort of funny way of saying that it’s okay to drink to escape. My question is, why do you need to escape?
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for over six years now, and I have been a mother for over thirteen (tear). Every single day is a challenge. Whether it’s something simple like unclogging a toilet, or harder, like mending a broken heart, parenthood is something that I don’t want to just do. I want to be present. I want to feel all the feelings, not numb them or dull them.
Yeah, sometimes those feelings are just awful and they really suck. But I would rather feel all the feelings of the crappy days than to miss one single moment of a memory I could be making with my family because I wasn’t in my right mind. I didn’t get sober for my kids or my husband or a job. I got sober for me. I’d put this roadblock up in front of myself, and the only way I was going to be able to detour was to put down the habit I had formed.
It was hard, too. My poor husband had to deal with my mood swings, and it wasn’t even PMS! Bless his heart, he saw I needed to quit, not because I hated my poison, but because I hated who I had become with it in my life.
With all the love in my heart, I say to you that you have every tool inside of you to be the best version of yourself. If you are constantly putting up roadblocks in your own way, you will never find out what your full potential is. Who you could really be. Who God wants you to be. I’m not saying get sober. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that for me, I found my crutch and decided that I would rather limp for the rest of my life than lean on it anymore. Just like that, I opened my eyes and my heart, I submitted to God all that I had, and He brought me through.
So whether it’s a glass of wine, overexercising, overeating, cleaning your house until it’s spotless, smoking cigarettes, or marijuana…don’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of your true potential. Dr. Seuss said it best:
Be safe, be great, BE YOU!
As Fr. Brian says, “Let me hear a hearty AMEN!”
Reality Changing Observations:
1. What thing do you think might have more control over your life than you’d like to give it? How might letting that thing go shape a new you?
2. What do you think you may have missed out on because you let something else stand in your way?
3. Starting today, what could you tell yourself or give yourself to make sure that you are being the best version of you?