And yet, I am profoundly unfree.

But, a note on being married: I have been a mother while married, a mother while not married, and then that rather tricky hybrid beast, a mother and stepmother while remarried. When I was a mother while divorced, I quickly discovered that the experience was eerily similar to being a mother while married to my first husband, in that everything being accomplished was solely up to me and me alone, with no help or input from my husband. This not only made very clear the reasons why I was no longer married to my first husband, but also what I knew I would never again tolerate from a supposed partner in life. You may, by evolutionary design, be a slave to your children, but you are not a slave to your husband.

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I balance between my children’s needs and mine because I believe I’m modeling self-care for them (if things are urgent for my children or important for their emotional and physical well-being, I take care of them, but there are times when I allow them to wait and take care of myself first… yes, I would take the dawdling three-year-old off the potty if I needed to go… and if I later needed to clean poop off the floor, I’d just do it :-)). And I take whole days off from all obligations–work and family. I know all this allows me to earn more, be happier, and be my absolute best self for my children.

Abruptly, her tone changed. “Cut the cord!” she barked.

“Cut it now!” the midwife commanded.

Is this comment a joke?! This woman wrote a gorgeous, touching essay about coming to terms with her child’s disability and life’s beautiful imperfections, and *that* is what you latched on to?

“Yeah,” she says, “You should generally do exactly what you want.”

I had not known that I felt that way until I said it. It frightened me that I said it. That night at the party, I kept thinking about it, and on the flight home, I kept thinking about it, and no matter how I looked at that phrase I couldn’t make it any less true. If something disastrous were to happen and my husband were to leave me or die or simply vanish, I would never remarry. I actually cannot imagine even dating another man. Part of this is out of intense loyalty to my husband, but part of it is because the idea of cooking some idiot man dinner for the rest of my life makes my skin prickle with rage.

“Looks good!” the young doctor said cheerily.

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Go much deeper now, much deeper. –Hypnobabies.

But how can I be so angry at the idea of cooking dinner for a theoretical and highly imaginary man when I cook dinner for my husband, whom I love, all the time? Do I secretly hate cooking dinner? Do I hate being a wife? Do I hate being a mother?

Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. :-)

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Please– leave the underwear on the bathroom floor.

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