I wrote this and submitted it to Huffpost Parents. Apparently it didn’t interest them. Well, I still wanted this to be read by someone in hopes of helping other mothers find their way in this parenting thing. Excuse the lacking recipe while I give these thoughts some air. Also, I had a really cute photo of my girls to add to this, but WordPress won’t let me upload anymore pictures right now. So here’s an old photo that was already in my media library.
I am determined. I am stubborn. Those are synonyms in my book. I was the strange girl in school. Instead of writing names of boys I had a crush on all over my notebook pages, I was making lists about future goals and coming up with names for my future children.
I often regret wasting my adolescence on planning what I wanted the next 20 years to be like. As I grew older more and more people told me what a great mom/wife/doormat I would make one day. I loved hearing this! It meant my dreams were on track. Even through all the interest changes and chapter additions in my life, all of my roads on the map still led to babies, kids, family.
This is where my stubbornness comes in. There were plenty of signs along the way telling me I shouldn’t have kids. I ignored them all because once my mind is made and my eyes are set on a goal nothing can stop me.
- I’m really cranky if someone wakes me up. It’s all rainbows and sunshine if I wake up 5 minutes before you. If you wake up 5 minutes before me you better pretend I’m not even in the house until I decide it’s time to get out of bed.
- I struggle with anger management. I’m a lot better than I was as a hot-headed teenager, but still could use some work.
- I hate being interrupted. Especially by someone saying the same phrase over and over until I stop to look at them.
- I’m a bit of a control freak. Just a bit. Okay, maybe a lot.
- Once I start a project I prefer not to stop until it is completed. Staring at a pile of unfinished business day after day turns me into one of those cartoon characters that beat themselves over the head with a hammer until little birdies begin circling.
- Being poked, kicked, bit, scratched, pulled on, puked, pooped, and peed on by a beady-eyed little kid with a creepy laugh (it’s a horror movie thing) isn’t my idea of fun.
- Sleep is good.
- I love traveling. One of my many wishes in life is to see every wonder the world has to offer.
- Having a full wallet is nice.
- I like to enjoy my meals instead of scarfing them down like a prisoner.
- I enjoy spontaneity.
- I hate repeating myself. How many times can a person yell “No, don’t, stop that!” in a day? Roughly a thousand would be the answer.
- Zero patience should be my tagline.
- I hate messes. I’m a little OCD about it.
- I really do enjoy pure silence. I don’t even need music. Just give me a quiet room to reflect, some paper and a pencil.
- I’m an introvert. Big time. No let’s get down and boogie all night for me. I’m more of a let’s get down in some pajamas and chill.
All of this screams “DON’T HAVE KIDS,” right?! Wrong! Hello, stubborn over here! I ignored all those signs. Whizzing right passed them on the highway of life- speeding down it like a mad woman.
Somewhere in my youth my biological clock started malfunctioning. My mother used to tell people I was 10 going on 30. In all this planning I never gave much thought to the man I would marry that would help bring these pre-named babies into the world. I was too busy fantasizing about being wooed by J.T.T. to give reality any focus. Or was it Mark McGrath?
Anyway, not having an idea of the kind of guy I wanted to start a family with made things slightly more difficult. I clung to any man that gave me attention. No matter how wrong he was for me. Mistake after heartbreak after mistake just prolonged my process. I started to panic and made drastic changes in my life. I didn’t want to be a cranky, tired OLD mom. If I was going to be cranky and tired I still wanted plenty of good years left on my engine.
This is where my determination comes in. I survived all the wrongs and found my right. I knew it. He knew it. We didn’t care that our families didn’t know it. Got the guy – now it was time for… BABIES!
Boom boom boom! My life was finally catching up to my plan. Oh shit – what was I thinking?! Why did I ignore all those signs?! Simple. Now I’m over here worrying I’ll forget all the little things.
- How your curls fall into your eyes. (Seeing this when being woken up makes it a little easier)
- How you let out a sigh in my arms before I lay you down. (That sigh melts my anger instantly)
- How many times you annoyingly say “Mom!” wanting every bit of my attention. (I can learn to forgive the interrupting)
- How proud you are with every step you stumble into my arms. (I can afford to give up a little control)
- How you smell after you’ve been playing outside. (Projects will get done eventually)
- How small your hands are when you reach up to touch my face. (The sweet touches seem to erase all of the physical abuse)
- How you crawl into bed with us for midnight snuggles. (What are a few lost hours of sleep? That’s what coffee is for)
- How you follow me around for no other reason except you love me. (You would make traveling even more fun)
- How adorably you mispronounce words. (As long as my money is going toward you my wallet can be empty)
- How you hum when you eat. (Even if meal times are fast, you do make them more enjoyable)
- How you love every new discovery. (We can be spontaneous together)
- How you must touch everything. (Repeating myself isn’t so bad)
- How everything is followed by an inquisitive “Why?” (The patience seems to grow with each passing year)
- How you make that face when you know you’ve done something wrong. (Okay, I don’t really have OCD)
- How you randomly ask for music to be put on so you can dance. (I can enjoy silence when I’m old)
- How you have yet to realize your potential. (I will always make sure me being an introvert will never get in the way of your potential)
Yeah, motherhood is hard, but not in the obvious ways everyone thinks of. It changes you. It evolves you (hopefully for the better). It makes you aware of exactly who you are. All of those signs can define you and you can still be a mom. You just adapt to the changes. As depressing as it is, those changes are only temporary. Your kids will exit your life as quickly as they entered it and all that will be left is you. Don’t lose sight of who that is through all the fog.
The truth is, who we are before we become parents is what shapes us as a parent. We all have our fallbacks and we all have our strengths. Your neighbor may spend countless hours a week preparing meals from scratch while you serve your child store-bought mac & cheese. That same neighbor may also lose her cool on a regular basis and find herself yelling at her kids more than she would care to admit. You may be the only one on the block that allows their children to watch as much television as they want. Hey, as long as you get time to get things done and they are watching what you believe to be enriching it’s no one’s business!
Is either of these right or wrong? No. We are all right, as long as we are doing the best we can. We are all wrong for judging others. No excuses there. Be kind to one another. Our energy is best spent supporting our fellow mommas. God knows we all need at least one good friend that understands and helps get us through those hard times. Now if you could just pass that memo around to all the mommy and me groups I might actually attend one.