Friday, May 22, 2015
Motherhood isn't for Sissies
When I was in my 20's, single and "on fleek" - assuming I used that correctly - I moved to LA from Chicago with no friends, all my stuff in a Toyota Celica, and a dream to be an actress. I thought that this would be one of the toughest things I would do and prayed that I came out whole.
I mean, I had to work, and then there was going out after work and sleeping in the next morning. And I had no one to focus on but myself. How awful. There was not one person relying on me to raise them into functioning humans except myself.
I later became a mom and had no idea the kind of challenge and growth I would endure during this metamorphosis. This little thing that so many people do is maybe the most challenging, isolating, and rewarding thing that I have done in my life.
I have a single friend with an amazing job where he shoulders a lot of responsibilities and makes many high-level decisions in a day that have potentially large financial repercussions for the company. He only has to spend one phone call with me with kids in the background to leave him shaking in his shoes. Sometimes he even comes to visit, and as he looks around him at my chaotic house, hears loud screams coming from upstairs, endures constant interrupting, sees spilling of whatever they are attempting to eat on the rug, and in general experiences the continuous melee, he keeps the visits short. I think I even saw him running to his car a little last time. As the godfather of one of my kids, I bet he's banking on our longevity, but after seeing us in action not convinced we are going to make it.
My point is that being a parent is hard core. My three-year old can take even the biggest and boldest person down to their knees when she wants to, but the longer I'm in it, the more resilient and determined I have become. I have come up with several pieces of evidence that parenthood isn't for sissies. There's by far many more, but since I can't hold my attention in one direction for very long, this is as far as I got:
1. Bodily function conversations.
"Mom! I pooped!"
"Congrats. I'll alert the media"
"Can you wipe my butt?"
"Be right there."
"Mom, you need to look in my underwear."
"Stop poking your brother's penis."
"Get you hands out of your vagina!"
All things that I've actually said or had said to me. You can't giggle or they'll keep doing or saying it, and you have to let them know you mean business to really shut it down.
2. The Sybil
They hate you, or they love you forty-two times in a day, and you have to remain calm and cool in response because it can turn at any moment. Staying effectively caffeinated is important to remain alert and ready, but not TOO caffeinated or you start to get reactive.
3. Toddlers are like honey badgers.
They don't give a damn where you are in public when starting a tantrum. They want it, and they want
it now. Whatever it is. Their self conscious meter is about at a one. Plus, they aren't afraid to blurt out any conversations from #1. Anywhere - anytime. It is always on.
There's a myth out there that when they become 3 or 4, you are over the sleep hump. And you are, the night waking is down to a minimum, but instead, they wake up and need things:
"Mom, I need water."
"Mom, can you cover me?" (That's right, can you get out of bed come into my room and pull my covers up which I am actually touching right now?)
"Mom, I had a bad dream."
"Mom, my vagina itches." (See, the #1 conversations come up anytime!)
They might even sleep some nights all the way through to give us a false sense of security, and then wake for 3 nights in a row, several times a night, to really mess with us. The middle of the night is like a sitcom that would be funny if it wasn't your life.
5. The other moms.
Some of these moms will be your amazing friends who get you through everything by providing a box of wine to enjoy, and an ear to listen whenever you need. Others will leave you feeling like you're failing miserably, and you'll be lucky if your kid gets into a online college.
6. The secret.
This whole raising of kids is hard. I clearly don't have a problem talking about it, but in certain circles, it seems taboo to admit it. We post on facebook all our perfect moments in order to lead others to the conclusion that we have it all figured out, but we know that that's about 30% right. More and more blogs are coming clean on the craziness that is parenting, but when you are face to face with moms and complain about your kids, some give the pitied look as if to say, "Oh, my kids don't do that. They are amazing. Little blessings everyday. You must be doing something wrong."
7. Tweens and Teenagers.
Look, I'm not even there yet, but I've seen my sister and my friends go through some things that make tantrums in the grocery and poop on a plane when you forgot to bring a change of clothes look like a cake walk. Sometimes I have to look away because it's too hard to imagine. It seems to me that if you can survive your teenagers -- the eye rolling, the friend drama, the getting caught with illegal substances, the fights, the total disregard for you as a person, the heartbreak of relationships, and the college application process -- you can really feel accomplished.
8. Your heart is split.
The minute they exit your body, your kids are like pieces of your heart running around the world making mistakes, getting hurt, and having wild successes. You, as a mother, will feel all of these as if they are your own. It hurts to see your kids hurt, but it's also your job to help them learn how to navigate those feelings. Since your coping mechanism is to sit in a dark room with a bottle of wine and a pint of ice cream until it's better, you probably haven't perfected it. You have to simply fake it until you make it.
9. ---- sorry, I just got derailed by naked children running across my line of sight who are supposed to be ready for school!
Feel free to chime in with a few yourself. I'd love to hear them!