New Year's Eve is coming up, and it's even on a Saturday this year! Fun, right?! Well, the thing is, I only have one answer to any sort of NYE plans. Big party downtown? That's a no. Bar hopping with friends? Thanks but no. Small party at a friend's house? Gonna have to pass, sorry. Dinner out? Again, really sorry, but no. What I really want to do on New Year's Eve is sit on my couch and watch movies. For real. You see, I am stuck in the Netflix and Nesting phase of motherhood.
Now, before you get all crazy, no I am not pregnant again, but I might as well be, that is how boring my social life is at the moment. With five kids, one of which is a baby and one of which is Talley, the sheer idea of getting dressed up to go anywhere is exhausting, let alone actually going out into the cold (NO) and staying up till past midnight (not happening, my bedtime hovers around 9pm and even that is late for me).
Not that I don't think that kind of stuff is fun, I mean, I've done it. A bunch. I even used to cover parties for the local newspaper as a side job, so I know going out. It's just that, especially after this last baby, I don't think I've ever left the pre-baby nesting phase. You know that phase, it's the one that almost borders on maniacal cleaning and organizing and getting your home ready for the baby? Except now that the baby is here I just went into overdrive with making things comfortable, like all the time. Fuzzy socks? Yes please. Finding the softest blankets for the couch? Amen to that, sister. Having a list of movies and shows to binge watch once the kids are in bed? High on my list of priorities right now. All I wanna do is feather my nest with more seasonal throw pillows and candles that smell like sugar cookies and peonies from Home Goods and watch TV, is that too much to ask?
Sometimes a little self doubt creeps in, like, am I totally lame now? I used to love New Year's Eve. Much thought and anticipation would go into finding a cute festive outfit and the right place to ring in the new year with friends, and it would always turn out to be a good time. Am I now one step away from mom jeans and a crocheted vest? I mean, I already drive a minivan, should I just give up and go full soccer mom and forget ever feeling cool again for the rest of my life?
To be honest though, I just don't care. Twenty year old me would probably be in total disbelief that I am happier in fleece leggings and a flannel on New Year's ringing in the fake ball dropping at 8pm with my kids and then going to bed. Twenty year old me would probably think I have "given up". But I'm not twenty year old me, I'm thirty eight year old me, and thirty eight year old me wants to tell twenty year old me to pipe down and take a multivitamin once in a while.
You see, the pre-baby me (and even the me from five years ago) are not the person I need to hold on to for the rest of my life. Moms are always made to feel like we have "given something up" when we become mothers. Oh you don't get to travel as much anymore, you don't get to go out as much anymore, you don't get to do those things you used to do anymore, so sad, right? You aren't YOU anymore because you aren't doing those things, right? You have "lost yourself", right?!
No, not right. Changing as a mother, as a person, as you age, isn't giving something up, isn't losing who you are, it's just that, it's changing. Would you expect to always like doing the things you did at 17 now that you are in your 30s? Hell no. So why are we supposed to hang on to pre-baby selves like it's a badge of honor? Like we have somehow hung on to something that we should never let go of?
Like with phases that kids go through, our selves and sense of self change and evolve as we get older as mothers. The terrible twos won't last forever (I swear), and maybe my hyper-nesting Netflix mode as a mom won't last either. Maybe once my kids are older (and the idea of five kids aged 10 and under doesn't send most babysitters running for the hills) I'll want to venture out again and even, gasp, put a dress on and do my hair. Maybe not, maybe my days of sipping drinks in a club as the ball drops are done for good. Either way, I'm cool with it.
Just like aging gracefully, I want my motherhood to evolve gracefully. The only cool you can be is to be cool with who you are, right in this moment, to be comfortable with yourself. And if that means minivans and mom jeans for me, bring it on.