The Thief

I read a book about a woman living a double life. Two husbands, two families, one set of biological children and a nearly matching set of step kids. There was a line in there that made me pause. She’s reflecting on her life (lives) and how she ended up where she was. The resonation within me felt shameful, but there was also relief. A strange sense of being seen by a fictional character, understood in a way I didn’t understand.

“Motherhood is the thief you invite into your home.”

I sat and stared at that line by the light of a lamp while my husband slept beside me. Or didn’t sleep. I didn’t care to find out if his measured breaths were false, a tool to avoid my resentment. It had been my birthday and I was bitterly disappointed. He hadn’t forgotten, per se, he just hadn’t bothered. Like Mothers Day a few months prior, Valentines and Christmas before that. Those nine words told me that this was a woman who had wanted more, but had settled for the sake of her family. She was so full of promise and ambition, and had doused the fire that was her with breastmilk and diapers, dishwater and housework - and she had done so willingly.


I don’t have the energy for anger, but self pity takes up residence faster than I like to admit. I wonder if every marriage is like this. Am I broken for my discontent? I should be grateful for my kids, and I am. I should love my children with all that I have within me, and I do! My husband… But still a part of me yearns for freedom. Perhaps motherhood is more jailer than thief. And how can I think that? I live a good life! I have a work-from-home full time job, two dogs, two cats, three beautiful not-so-little ones, a home I’m mostly happy with (except when I’m exploding with the need to escape it). What prisoner lives this way? What right do I have to feel lost and trapped in this life that God has been so generous to me in? A few weeks ago I felt a storm rising within me and I left the house and my family in it. I walked for hours, contemplating the fantasy of not returning. Where would I go? How could I be sure they’d never find me? If I just kept walking, how far could I get? Do I want to? I walked until I was lost and my heels blistered. Then I found my way home, prayers to God to lead me there and of course He did.

The thing about it is, I want to explore. The world, myself. And to experience! How wonderful it might be to make rash decisions, dumb choices just because I can. I envy the idea of being beholden to no one. Who could I be without the weight of it all? Who even am I, outside of my motherhood? Would I be married? I don’t think so. I really don’t think so. I dream of the lack of roots, of flitting about like an unmoored kite commanded by the winds. And I don’t feel guilty anymore. I feel instead resigned to mourning. I shall endure, because what else is there? Motherhood is the jailer you invite into your home. Then you bleed for it, cook for it, clean for it, cry for it and die for it. And if you’ve done it well, it means you’ve done it with a smile. I suppose I am not a good mother.

Jul 30

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