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Incompatible Me

The mother I am, and the woman I am are not always compatible.

Sure, we can manage to get along, make small talk, find common ground – but what we each want out of life doesn’t ever connect in any viable means. The mother I am, wants to be there for her children, wants to nurture, love, protect, she wants sit on the couch with her little ones on her lap and run her fingers through their hair while they tell her stories of their great adventures in childhood.

Meanwhile, the woman that I am, wants to be on a train, far, far away, watching scenery scroll past, scribbling stories in a journal, composing photographs of sunsets over mountaintops. She wants to be somewhere, where sticky fingers and he-said-she-said arguments can’t find her and she is not needed at all, by anyone, anywhere. She’s on the road. She’s beat. She’s not here.

And so, there are moments in my day,  when the world seems too impossibly small, or too terribly large, but no matter which way it’s out of proportion, it doesn’t really even matter. I am a mother scooping the wet, soft cereal from the drain and muttering about how she wishes her children would not dump half full bowls into the kitchen sink.

I’m the mom who stays in the shower for three minutes longer than she needs to, wasting water down the drain, blinking droplets from her eyelashes, and staring at the tiles and the grout in between, just because.

I’m a woman far, far away, in her own living room, watching children make puzzles on the floor at her feet.


I’m the woman who sat on the couch at three-thirty this morning and thought these thoughts, dwelled on them, really. How can two, so often different, wills co-exist in this body. I wondered: is it just normal wanderlust, or a wash of hormones? Is it a wave of anxiety, the burden of potential, or is it only my spirit, sensing the tug of newness and life that comes with a long awaited (and still dusted in snow) spring?


Lila, this weary, slushy, tired morning, has told me that she can’t do math, because she wants to read. But, that she only wants to read if she can choose…but that she doesn’t want to choose….because the choices are so different (Ivy and Bean, or How to Train Your Dragon?)

And how can one possibly choose when they know either will be good?

Life is all just one choice after another, Lila, I told her.

And I ached, knowing I was talking just as much to myself.

I’ve always seen choosing one’s path as both an excellent adventure and a sad loss. I’ve always walked through the door to one opportunity, keenly aware that I was turning my back on countless others. I’ve always been drawn to the what-if.

I’ve always wanted a window to stare out and wonder.

Motherhood may be the biggest (most rewarding, wonderful, inspiring) anchor to the here and now that I’ve ever been given…but I am always going to be the woman who wants to be somewhere else. I am always going to be the woman who needs to focus her heart with the intention to be present in the small moments with her children, with her husband, with her life.

Be here now.

Asher is snapping pictures with a disposable camera and reporting for the All About Asher Gazette.

Be here now.

Lila is wearing Hello Kitty pajamas and lounging with her books in the recliner. She’s wrapping her fingers around the quilt your aunt made for her and she carries around, still, like Linus.

Be here now.

Alex is sprawled on the wood floor, setting up his army men for battle at his bedside. In ten years, he will be twenty.

Be here now.

These are moments that all of the adventure in the world cannot give you. And these are the moments that you cannot take with you.

Be here now.

Do the dishes. Pick up the bits of cereal and brush them into your palm on the way to the garbage. Kiss Evaline on her forehead as she learns her letters and numbers.

Be here now.

The coffee in the pot is still hot.

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About the Author

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Writer, Photographer, Wife, Mother to four rambunctious and amazing children.


  1. Karen

    Reading this reflection made me take a deep breath. That’s what I really needed to do… to breathe and breathe and breathe – quietly, rhythmically and groundingly. To be gentle with myself and forgive my desire to escape. Thank you for capturing the internal struggles that I regularly feel and writing about them with such grace and honesty.

    • Thank you, Karen. Your comment was very much needed today…to be reminded, again, to breathe through the moments that would otherwise wash me away…

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