As I sat on the front steps tonight, trying to let the cool air help me get it together, I thought about motherhood. I had that moment we moms never want to admit to, the one when we think, “Is this what being a mom is? Is this IT?!”
We think these words in all the different stages, or at least I have, so far. We wonder about it when we’re up at all hours feeding and changing diapers. We wonder about it when we’re cleaning up yet another “didn’t quite make it to the toilet” mess. We wonder about it when we’re wearing vomit to work. We wonder about it when we’re scavenging through the cabinets for something acceptable to pack for their lunch because we forgot to go to the grocery store. We think about it when we leave them crying for us at school. We think about it when balancing the checkbook is just a joke.
Yeah, all of it. It’s all motherhood.
Tonight, these are some of the things crowding my mind.
Tonight, motherhood is (among a gazillion other things):
– Putting the finishing touches on that school project because she was falling asleep on her feet. (I admit it.)
– Hoping the check for the upcoming field trip won’t clear before payday.
– Doing yet another load of laundry at 11 p.m. because she’s down to only 2 pairs of pants that fit. And they’re both dirty, of course.
– Worrying about the next milestone of girlhood happening too early.
– Wishing you hadn’t said that thing you said earlier.
– Wishing you HAD said that other thing earlier.
– Wanting her to see herself through your eyes.
– Thinking you need a second job to keep her dressed.
– Hidden tears.
– Trying to figure out what’s wrong.
– Worrying that she’s picking up your bad attitude toward nutrition.
– Eating the Oreos. All the damn Oreos.
– Worrying that she’s too sensitive.
– Worrying because she’s nailing your gift of sarcasm.
– Asking yourself how important spelling is, REALLY.
– Wondering if you’re being a pushover.
– Hoping you aren’t being too harsh.
– Worrying you’re looking at your phone too much.
– But really, REALLY, wanting to finish that video of the talking cat.
– Cursing under your breath.
– Feeling guilty for cursing out loud.
– Holding in the crazy/rage/tears/indignation/sarcasm.
– Wondering if your husband thinks you’ve completely lost it and is just afraid to say so.
– Losing it.
– Knowing you’ve lost it.
– Plotting what you would do to all the child abusers/molesters/neglecters, if you were in charge. (It ain’t pretty.)
– The knowledge that, yes, you could maim someone. (See above.)
– Praying she doesn’t inherit your particular neuroses.
– Seeing your particular neuroses in her.
– Feeling helpless.
– Wondering how many years of therapy she’ll need.
– Wondering how many years of therapy YOU need. Now.
– Staying up too late, after stressing the importance of sleep. For her.
– Dreading the words, “So, there’s this boy.”
– Praying that when there’s that boy, she’ll talk to you about him.
– Wondering whether to email the doctor or not.
– Knowing you’re being judged by other moms.
– Sitting on the front steps, alone, in the dark, at night, petting your prodigal cat, falling apart, letting it all come to the surface in the form of ugly crying.
– Forcing it back down.
– Pasting on a smile.
– Pretending periods aren’t all that bad.
– Wanting to protect her, above ALL ELSE.
– Willing her to be tough, to stand up for herself.
– Praying she never loses her kindness.
– Dreading the day her sweet, tender, heart is wounded.
– Knowing it will happen.
– Wishing she’d be more independent.
– Dreading the day she’s more independent.
– Telling yourself to “Suck it up, buttercup,” at least a dozen times a day.
– Needing to apologize to your Mom.
– There’s that guilt again.
– Loving, and hurting, more than you ever dreamed.
– Wanting more than anything in the world, to fix it, whatever “it” is.
– Treading the fine line between protecting her from the world and educating her about the world, in all its beauty and ugliness.
– Channeling your inner Mama Bear in a way that would frighten The Hulk.
– Missing your best friend.
– Praying for mercy.
– And grace.
– And forgiveness.
– Holding on.
– Knowing your world revolves around that little girl, and being completely ok with that. (Though you wouldn’t mind a girls’ night, with a girlfriend or two who would make you feel a bit more normal…or at least slightly less of a freak.)
– Praying that no matter what, she’ll always, always, ALWAYS know that you love her. More than anything.
– Loving with a frightening ferocity.
Motherhood ain’t for sissies.
Hang in there, Mama.