So you’re a lady and a grown-up. You go to work when you have to but you take a vacation day when you want to. You eat whatever you want for dinner and only think twice about it for a moment while wondering if your husband would also enjoy a bowl of popcorn for dinner… regardless, that is what you eat anyway. You have an adult beverage when you feel like it, because you are an adult and you are responsible. You wake up on Saturday late-morning or afternoon, because you can… because you can stay up late doing whatever it is you “should” have done in the morning while you were snoozing. You really don’t have that many chores to do around the house because you are hardly home (and awake) long enough to make it messy, and when you do make it messy it’s not that messy. You work-out when you happen to muster enough motivation to get to the gym and when you get there, 45 minutes on the elliptical while watching tv is enough to keep your body in working order and looking fit. Your friends call you up and an hour later you are at the movie theater or out to dinner or shopping or all three in succession. You have conversations that are long and uninterupted and you finish your sentences. You do all these things and you don’t think twice about them.
And then you find yourself in the midst of motherhood. At some point, you will stop what you are doing and wonder where you are and what you are doing…. well, my friends, you have entered the ‘hood. Motherhood.
You go to work every moment of every day… even when you are sleeping you will have one ear partially open just in case a baby whimpers or a toddler coughs or a teenager sneaks out. You will take vacations, but truly it is just working the same job in a new location with different scenery for a week or two (not to mention the overtime you put in packing and unpacking for said vacation). You will eat cold dinners for the first few months because no matter when you fed the baby last, she will want to nurse when you sit down in front of your plate of hot food… then, your dinner will be a healthy meal followed by bites of mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets or pb&j sandwiches and a handful of goldfish because you don’t really want to throw away their leftovers… eventually they will be healthy meals with a nutritious balance of veggies, whole grains, and protein but really all you’ll want is a bowl of popcorn (but what kind of example would that be for your 7 year old?!). You will have to think twice before your adult beverage and maybe forgo because your newborn gets gassy and that glass of pinot is just not worth waking up every hour on the hour to burp the fussy wee one… or you will have to ‘pump and dump’ and that is just a sad waste. You NEVER sleep past 7:00am anymore… that is sleeping in. Your list of chores has grown beyond your wildest dream and it is nearly impossible to get the entire house clean at the same time. You will forever follow the tiny little tornados around your house either cleaning up after them, or telling them it’s time to clean up. Your chores, themselves, will grow… the bathroom during the potty-training-of-boys phase will be a feat of incredible cleaning strength and determination; not to mention sweeping the floor after the toddler ate rice (dropped rice), or mopping up milk when the pre-schooler made breakfast ‘all by myself, mom!’ You will work-out only when the child-care is open at your gym and 45 minutes on the elliptical no longer cuts it. Your friends call you up and you try to coordinate a night to go out together, but between Tae Kwon Do, ballet practice, swim meets, their family vacation, your husband’s work schedule, the best you can do is pencil-in a date in approximately 6 weeks (and most likely when that date rolls around one of your kids will be sick). You start… you start a sentence… wait. What was I saying? I’m sorry, I lost my train of thought. You do all these things… and you probably do think twice.
This ‘hood is a tough one. You give up a lot; you sacrifice a lot. You might groan and furrow your brow, look desperately at your friends without kids, yearn for those years you could do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. You might even give your husband the stink-eye from across the messy kitchen. But we can’t stop there. There’s another part of this ‘hood…
and while its not always easy to see every day, it’s important to take the time to remember this part of the ‘hood too…
You get to be ‘mommy’ every day. every. day. Your little ones wake up and run to your bedroom and fall asleep after you tucked them in. You take vacations and get to make new memories with them and watch them explore new parts of the world. You get to sit down to dinner with them and share a meal together (no matter hot or cold, or what exactly you’re eating… sharing a meal together is a special thing) and talk about your day with them.* You may have to wake up several times a night thanks to that one glass of pinot, but you get to cuddle that sweet baby boy in the middle of the night while the rest of the world sleeps and misses out. You may be exhausted but is there a better place than cuddled up with your tiny newborn?! You don’t get to sleep in, but you can watch saturday morning cartoons while eating a big bowl of cereal and your kids will think you’re pretty cool. You have chores. Lots of chores. But one day your kids will be old enough to do them for you. (Right?! Please tell me yes… my kids aren’t there yet, but I’m holding out hope.) You work-out harder than you ever thought you could… you get stronger… your kids see it’s important to be healthy and to take care of yourself… and if you have a daughter, that is particularly important and awesome. You are busy, but you are busy watching your children grow and learn and try new things… and when you finally find time to hang out with your friends, those Moms’ Nights Out are sooo much more appreciated and enjoyed and relished and needed. You will at some point, be able to have full conversations again, but if you have children under the age of 3, you might just have to trust me on this one. But just think of all the things you will have to say after 3 years of not being able to communicate fully! You’ll want to talk all the time, tell your stories…. start a blog!!!
So if you’ve wandered accidently into the ‘hood or deliberately mapped your way here, know that you aren’t alone if you sometimes think it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But please do not get stuck in the funky and disappointing parts…. there are happy and sweet and safe and wonderful parts of Motherhood too.
*My caveat to the dinner thing… during my husband’s deployment, dinner time was my worst… we had all spent the entire day together, we didn’t really need to talk about what we did all day. If you are there, I don’t blame you if you want to eat a bowl of popcorn for dinner and turn on the tv. Survive!