This week I had an email from a friend. I liked my answer and since I’m pressed for time and words and ideas, I clearly decided to make it a blog post.
So, tell me with 100% honesty… What do you think of the Mommy thing? I am afraid that maybe I am only good at the “your my kids for no more than a few hours or a few days” gig. I am wondering if I really want to put in an additional 20+ years into this torture they call parenting.
Since our tolerance level is similar, what do you think?
I thought about this answer all day yesterday. And at different points in the day, I had different answers.
You remember having to write the philosophy of education in undergrad? This is kind of like that.
Bottom line. If you choose to have kid(s) or not to have kid(s), you’ll be happy with your choice. You’ll also look over at the green grass on the other side and wonder if you should have chosen differently.
There are days I’m not a great mom. I’m not down on the floor playing with Alex, reading him books, and showing him new things. I am on the couch knitting and gazing at the tv while he scoots around on the floor doing his own thing. There are days I merely keep him safe, fed and more or less adequately diapered. I spend too much time on the computer trying to cling to the part of me that is mine all mine and no one elses. I write the blog to have something that is mine. I take time away from Alex that maybe he deserves to have – maybe not – because I’m still with him more than if I had a full time gig, and I certainly wouldn’t expect a sitter to spend every minute with him.
Sometimes he’s a pain in the ass and I want to call the gypsies to come take him away. Sometimes I picture throwing him into the wall just to make the crying stop. (Carrie once told me about feeling that way and I didn’t get it – now I get it.) He’s not a good sleeper, and while I’m really okay with that in theory (he can’t feed himself, toilet himself, walk around himself or communicate with words, I don’t expect him to sleep well either), after a night or two of soul crushing wakeups followed by a couple of days of only taking naps on me … I’m ready to put him on the curb with a free sign.
Like now, when he’s crying in his crib – It’s about time for me to go get him – but I’m trying to give him a chance to fall asleep on his own.
I can’t watch the news anymore, every time I see a headline that has a baby in it – I see Alex’s face. I see him hurt, abused, tortured, or dead. I’m oversensitive to it so I’ve shoved my head in the sand and I rely on mommy blogs and the husband to get me important news. Well, that, Saturday Night Live News and the occasionally Daily Show and Colbert Report.
OMG, I think baby might just put himself to sleep.
I still don’t care for other people’s kids just because I have a kid. Some kids are sweet and likable, some are not.
My marriage is different. There’s less passion right now – which is mostly from me – It’s hard to want to have sex when I’ve had a baby attached to me all day long and then on the weeks where I’m attached to the breast pump trying to keep the baby fed – forget it, I don’t even want to be touched at all. On the other hand, I love him more for seeing him as a father, for seeing him with Alex, the love that is there, the way he lets himself be vulnerable to this little dictator that we have in our home now. I have a real partner in this parenting gig, it is a shared responsibility, which is a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to feel so 50/50 with the parenting thing.
I think my heart is full with one. I don’t think we need another baby. Ever. I have the occasional fleeting moment of wanting another one, and then Alex screams or whines, or basically acts like a real live baby and I remember that this is hard and I have my limits and I need to respect those limits.
I do love him more than I thought possible. And through that I love hubs more each day. Which sounds like trite bs, but it is actually true. I do have a drive to take care of them both, even when I’m feeling tired and bored.
Sometimes I resent that I have no schedule – that I can’t plan to be someplace and have a clue as to how Alex will act. Like right now, I’m supposed to be walking with people, I’m supposed to be outside, getting exercise, doing something good for my body and having conversation good for my mind. I had shoes on and was in the process of being in the process of walking out the door. Then Alex got hungry and wanted his bottle, so I gave him the bottle, then he didn’t want the bottle, then he did want the bottle, then it was 4 minutes before I was supposed to be 20 minutes away and I gave up on the idea of getting to do something *I* wanted to do. And I don’t do that with a free heart. I don’t like not getting my way.
(baby needs me. he’s past sleeping on his own, and the cry now has changed to the one that breaks my heart. I’ll be back)
I get tired of having to type one handed because I’m either holding baby or a breast pump. I wonder why he just can’t sleep. I wonder why why WHY I have to be everything to this little boy.
If I had the choice, like the country song, I’d choose him again. I’d choose this little boy who’s smile in the morning is a welcome sight, even when I’m tired. I love watching him learn new things. Somewhere around 4 months, I felt a change when I would pick him up, it’s like I could feel his little heart next to mine, and I could feel the mommy love there. And that’s pretty addictive.
Read these, I think they are good.
Remember – you’ll be happy no matter what you choose. I think that’s important to hold on to.
Beautiful. I know those days of not being the best mom ever, letting the Little Mister play on his own because I just don’t have the energy to give to him. But when I go into his room in the morning and his cries turn to a shining smile the instant he sees me…well, everything is worth it.
I think you have summed it up wonderfully. There are days when we play and teach and are model mothers and then there are the days when the TV stays on and finger food is all that is consumed.
We do the best we can.
Now I need to go resettle my little terror for the 20th time tonight (and no, I am not exaggerating. She has woken up 20 times since bedtime. I have been counting.)
What an excellent, honest post. It’s exactly how I felt 16 or so years ago. ex.act.ly.
And you know what? I feel the same way today. There’s some days when I would happily climb into my car and drive away from wifehood and motherhood and live on a beach someplace with books and coffee and wine and cheese. Other days, I cry at the thought of Shortman leaving in a couple of years to go to college. It never changes.
The Other Dawn
I think the worst kind of hubris we harbor as competimommies is to pretend that it’s always sunshine and roses, that we have no regrets, and that our former selves dissolved away the moment our hoohahs were forever altered. I can’t stand to be around moms like that in real life, can you?
We’re good mommies because we acknowledge this part of ourselves, and love with abandon anyway. Even if you’re bitching in your head while you do it, you get out of bed and tend for the screaming demon in the next room. And that’s why you’re the MOMMY.
What an awesome post. I have an 8 year old step son and I’ve been part of his life since he was a year old. Every other weekend…sometimes more. I’m ALMOST 41 now..hubby and I always thought we would have one of our own. We never have and now we realize that having an 8 year old around is a handful. Soccer, Cub Scouts, School Functions, Family things..then finally we have time to ourselves…vacation, movies, dinner..our best friend times…Do we WANT to have a baby in our lives. I think we’re a little too selfish. I don’t think it’s going to happen, I hope I’m not making the wrong decision that I’ll regret later on.
ARCI for NovBlow&Go
You write it, I read it!
On the passion thingie: Having been married altogether (both marriages) for 30 years and no kids (not one, mostly because I was afraid) kids get way more meaningful when you don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t have them and passion morphs into uh-humm other things. Little favor swaps. The HUGS and the KISSES way make up. And a woman?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s SPOT is ALWAYS ON THE MOVE. Sit still spot, where are you spot, c-mere spot. I?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m always exploring. Why can?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t we just have the Na-Na-Na-Bang, it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s done, wash it off, watch a ball game? (I?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m so weird, I can?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t believe I just wrote that).
Wonderful letter. Really. So honest, so true.
Well said! I would only add that sometimes you do regret it (or think, “maybe I should not have done this”) yet at the same time feel that you would not change it for anything. Parenthood is very contrary that way (or is it just me?). 😛
I so appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness
Lovely, honest post.
I’m serious. I want to steal you from Scout and whisk you away.
We’ll just put Braden and Alex in the closet while we go galavanting.
But really? You say it all so well.
[One of my favorite things I’ve said when I’ve had to respond to him for the 232nd time of the night, knowing he’s tired and miserable, but can’t sleep: “OMG, If you’re TIRED, why don’t you JUST SLEEP???’ Heh.]
well said, bravo. I’m not much of a hands on mommy either, but I wouldn’t trade doing it for all the coffee in the world.
Things will change in time and you will think fondly of these days. The days I want to pull out my hair I have to remind myself, “I chose this when I was in a sound state of mind.”
It really helps.
Great post and I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Absolutely. Wonderful post that is filled with honesty and is exactly how my life is. 🙂
I am right there with you! Anyone who says they never have those feelings sometimes, must be a saint or lying!
There’s hope. Now that the libido is back, on my part, hubby and I are having the best sex of our married life! Having been through some of the most disgusting, yet strangely beautiful, moments of our marriage (i.e. pregnancy and birth-emergency c-section), we are so comfortable with each other that our sex life is so much better now. Plus the whole team thing really makes you in tune with each other. Sounds like you guys have that in spades!
Keep up the good work on the NaNo Novel.
What an awesome, awesome post. The part about marriage, passion, and 50/50 parenting…yes! yes! yes!
(don’t know what happened to the comment, but here it is now:)
I heart you totally. Just this week #7 and I were discussing our tendencies to have fleeting thoughts of the throwing variety.
Ah, motherhood. What a beautiful, cruel, wonderful bitch.
Oh, jeez. The lousy sleeper. I have one myself. If you want to commiserate you can read through my “sleep” category. I’m brewing another post on the subject very soon.