Written by Shelley Cameron
Photo by Bubba Durket
The more I’m surrounded by today’s hustle and bustle and modern day living where every 30-something neeeeds an “epic Bali adventure”, a “sickkkk vacation to Europe”, or constant nights out, I find myself asking repeatedly, “What if I’m okay with living the simple life now? What if I’m totally okay with not booking an ‘epic’ international getaway? What if I’m okay with not getting a babysitter on the weekends to go out? What if I’m okay with a tiny little boy who still crawls into my bed to co-sleep and take up my entire king-sized bed, leaving me a little sliver of space? What if I’m content and totally okay with the fact that my weekends now consist of waking up before 8 a.m. to a toddler jumping on my bed or poking my eyeballs with a Batman figurine? What if I’m okay with giving up fancy dinners and staying in to watch Moana and eat mac-n-cheese in sweat pants? What if I’m HAPPY because I’m living that simple, ‘boring’ mama life?!”
You see, I’m a single mom. And for the first couple of years, I parented solo most of the time. Now, I share every other weekend, and some of those weekends start on Thursdays, so Thursday to Sunday feels like an eternity. Add three-week-long vacations to that shared co-parenting time where my son is often across the country, and each of those weeks basically feel like a month. I get used to my tiny human roomie best friend 24/7. I get used to feeling like I can never catch my breath or catch up on errands, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, or...life. I get used to feeling anxious. I get used to feeling like I never have enough time, enough patience, or enough love to go around. Because I get used to feeling SO MUCH LOVE. Like, an infinite love. A mother’s love. A real, human love I’ve never felt before - to the simple life. To my little boy. To my “boring” life.
Amongst the chaos of “just” being a mama, I also work full-time for FIT4MOM, am a freelance writer, and run my own blog, where I wanderlust through mom-life and document it. I may have a really messed up back, a handful of gray hairs, fresh crow’s feet that have blessed my blue-eyed face, and a mind that never seems to turn off to let me sleep more than 6ish hours a night; but even with those “broken” parts of me, I am grateful. I am happy. I am positive. And I love the little, simple moments that make up each and every part of my life as a mom. My life as a 29-year-old. My life as Shelley, “the mama.”
So, what if I don’t want to spend my free time backpacking through the fiords of the South Pacific? [Actually, that sounds pretty nice, but hear me out…] What if I don’t want to feel like a world away from my little one...ever? What if I don’t want to worry about not having cellphone service in a third world country that may mean I can’t wifi my son every morning and evening? What if I never want to worry that I am further than a few hour plane ride away from my little cub? What if I find the most pride, the most happiness, and the most fulfillment from being a true local where we live, exploring every nook and cranny of San Diego? What if right now I can’t commit any free time to volunteer for the PTA or donate extra money to school fundraisers? What if sometimes I feel weird at other toddlers’ birthday parties because I’m a single parent and it reminds me I don’t have an adult teammate? What if all of that is SO normal, SO okay, and SO judgement-free from others? What if that is part of my world, because my little guy IS my whole wide world?
Because, right now, he is little. L.I.T.T.L.E. He is three. He is a toddler. Which means, three years ago, he was still kicking me in the ribs and hearing my beating heart from the inside. A brand new little being who appeared on this planet with bright eyes and his whole life ahead of him that hadn’t been written yet; hadn’t been influenced; hadn’t been persuaded by anything or anyone in the “outside” world. He could - and can - be whoever he wants to be. He can believe in whatever he wants to believe in, dream whatever dreams he wants to daydream, set whatever goals his heart desires. A year ago he was two, and therefore, still a baby.
Because of that, I’m 1000% more than okay with being “simple.” With giving my whole heart and my whole wide world to these moments, right here, right now. I know one day, his tiny squishy hands will turn into little boy knuckles and hairy fingers; his cute little baby-teeth-filled-smile will one day have little gaps and teeth that await the Tooth Fairy. His doll-sized clothes will eventually take up more than just a couple dresser drawers. His bad dreams will fade and his confidence will blossom, and he will eventually no longer crawl into “our bed” for comfort. Eventually Disney movies will turn into going to the movies with friends. Our special weekends, just the two of us, will someday be filled with sleepovers with little boys who run wild and the shuffle between soccer and baseball games and surf contests. One day he won’t want night-night kisses, snuggles, and 23947 bedtime stories, or “just oneeeee more show.” I know all of that. I know this babyhood - toddlerhood - and little-boyhood will fade. He will grow. As will I. So THAT is why I don’t need an epic international adventure right now, when I have my greatest adventure of all right here at home. That is why I’m content, excited, and thrilled to be a mama of a little boy who’s making memories with me and creating our little life. In our home. In our yard. In our local area, or on the staycations or vacations we plan, together. We explore and enjoy our favorite hobbies, things, foods, and adventures as a unit. As a family. I treasure this time being present in our “plain”, incomplex, transparent little life full of love, experiences, and the comfort of our routines that make a house a home and our a life an adventure. And an incredibly epic and peaceful one at that.