So I had a friend write me a note about my blog and besides making my whole week it got me to thinking about some things regarding motherhood. This post is partially for me because I write this stuff to maintain the small portion of my sanity that is still left, but it's mostly for an old friend who is where I was three and a half years ago and I can't help but remember that I thought I'd never be okay again. I'd like her to know she will be better than okay. I had this crazy, hair-tearing out morning with my easiest daughter and then...BAM fast forward four hours and I'm sitting in a chair with the same child on my lap and she is literally dazzling me with her joy!
It’s really the only thing you will ever do that is completely incompatible with it’s self. Most things in life you either like them or you don’t. You love them or you don’t. Motherhood is one big bag of contradictions and a bizarre balancing act. It’s by far the most amazing thing that can ever happen to you. However you get your kids; whether you’ve had them on purpose, accidentally, with medical help or through fostering or adoption, suddenly you find yourself with a person’s life literally in your hands and their smell; it’s crack for women with hormones. It’s also the most insanely frustrating, exhausting and complicated job you will ever have. There is no right or wrong answer for ANYTHING. Everyone has a different idea or different advice and they WILL SHARE IT WITH YOU WHETHER YOU WANT IT OR NOT.
In theory it sounds simple; meet a boy, get married, have a baby. (Here’s where I can’t resist inserting the formula I used: Chase after and catch good looking but wholly inappropriate man, drink and drug way too much, find yourself pregnant while on TWO FORMS OF BIRTH CONTROL, decide to have a baby on your own because clearly said baby was a message from God, send your newly acquired kid to hit on another good looking and much less inappropriate man who you can totally tell will be SO FUN TO MAKEOUT WITH, marry him, try to get pregnant with one more baby and accidentally get knocked up with two at one time).
In practice, it’s something else entirely. In the best case scenario you get pregnant easily and deliver easily and find yourself the proud parent of a life-sucking amoeba. Seriously; other than a baby, is there anything else you would tolerate that is so exhausting or that pees, poops, spits up, drools and gets snot on you? I think not. Even with a difficult pregnancy there is at least shower and you get happy notes from people that say things like “enjoy this time”. Enjoy this time? Well if those people already have a child, what they actually mean is THIS TIME RIGHT NOW WHILE YOU’RE READING THIS CARD, BECAUSE LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT IS SO SERIOUSLY OVER. YOU WILL NEVER GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP AGAIN. YOU WILL HAVE A SCREAMING BABY, THEN A TEETHING BABY THEN A TODDLER THEN A PRESCHOOLER WITH WHOOPING COUGH, THEN A ‘TWEEN’ WITH GROWING PAINS IN THEIR LEGS AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT THEY ARE BREAKING CURFEW AND SNEAKING OUT THE WINDOW. FINALLY THEY WILL GO TO COLLEGE AND YOU THINK YOU’RE DONE BUT YOU’RE NOT, YOU WON’T SLEEP BECAUSE YOU KNOW THEY ARE OUT HAVING SEX THEN THEY WILL BE MARRIED (IF YOU’RE LUCKY) AND HAVING THEIR OWN BABY AND YOU WILL LOOSE SLEEP OVER THAT. SO, THIS IS IT, SLEEP TONIGHT BECAUSE AS SOON AS THAT KID COMES OUT YOU ARE DONE. D.O.N.E.
So then the baby shows up and you have all of these new gadgets that you can’t wait to try. Oh wait, the directions are in Swedish and they are 7 pages long, is that normal for a baby swing? Yes. None of them have batteries and it doesn’t really matter because you can’t figure out how they work anyway. You haven’t showered in days and you’re so tired you called your husband “Steve” (you’re married to Dan; you don’t even know a Steve). You can’t figure out how you are totally aware of the fact that you’ve never loved someone so much in your whole life and yet you want to get away from them and out of the house so bad you would mow over Steve, oops, I mean Dan to get to your car and get to Panera for a latte by yourself. For days and days in a row you will do nothing but feed, change, cloth and burp a tiny person. You will wonder at the fact that all other mammals that were born the same day as your baby are already caring for themselves. Dogs, cats, horses, elephants; it’s just us humans who are wholly dependent on our mommies. You will think that a puppy was probably a better idea. You will look at your baby and then at your body and wonder if anything will ever be the same again. Well, it won’t. NOT EVER. Some of it will be better; you will have moments of pride in another person’s accomplishments that you did not know existed. When Aidan read a book for the first time I cried, I still cry when I think about it. You will gain a perspective and respect for your parents that you could never have had before. You will get through the mind numbing feeding, clothing, changing, burping and have some whole new set of problems. You will wish for nothing more than your baby to sleep for 6 hours. When your baby sleeps 6 hours you will check them every two hours to make sure they are still breathing. It goes on and on like this, the good balancing out the bad. Earlier today Olivia got really mad and picked up my lia sophia bag and dumped it out on the floor and then had a total mental breakdown involving screaming, stomping and some sort of rain dance. I actually welled up because I was so frustrated. Five minutes ago she came in here, climbed on my lap, put her hands on my face and told me that she loves me all the way to the sun. It’s a carefully orchestrated juggling act, no one can keep their balls in the air all of the time, everyone drops them at some point. Forgive yourself when you drop a ball, we’ve all done it, pick it up and start over. Also, anyone who tells you their kid was potty trained at 18 months is LYING! (I’ve just been waiting to throw that in somewhere)