This will absolutely be my most controversial, divisive, provocative post to date. I anticipate a mad rush of comments, far outstripping all my previous posts. You know, like five.
It’s not about food. It’s about . . .
(aaaand *poof* I just lost half of you . . . )
Specifically, it is about all the things that Mommies are not supposed to say about Mommyhood. Get ready, I’m about to get all kinds of honest up in here.
I am a Reluctant Mom. My husband and I waited ten years (till the ancient part of our thirties, in fact) to have a kid – in part because we weren’t sure we wanted kids, and in part because even if we did want kids (okay, we did) we weren’t sure we were ready. Specifically, I wasn’t sure I was ready to sacrifice my body by gaining all that weight, which I was sure would never ever come off. (Shallow Revelation #1, stick around for more). Like many women I’ve battled both my body and my body image all my life, and the idea of *on purpose* gaining what I assumed would be 50 pounds, and then forever after having that flat-butt, fleshy-middle-mom look (bring it on haters, you know it’s true!) – well, that pretty much terrified me. And don’t even get me started on the idea of giving up alcohol (gasp, Shallow Revelation #2) for basically a year. OHHH.EMMM.GEEE.
On top of that, I’ve never been great with kids. I like kids, I really do! But I’m something of an introvert, a bit socially awkward even with my adult friends, and that just don’t play with the wee ones. I’m not good at silly voices, or funny faces, or even animal sounds. I don’t really care for playing pretend, or dress up, or tag or hide and seek. My voice is not made for sing alongs. My friend’s kids would look at me as if to say “what am I supposed to do with this?” – similar to the reaction they might give a box of socks on Christmas morning. And I didn’t blame them one bit!
I got over the mental blocks about weight gain and giving up alchohol. I made it through pregnancy (ugh) and birth (holy crap, people!) and came out the other side. And then I discovered that sleep deprivation bites harder than anything has ever bitten in my entire life, and breastfeeding was difficult, frustrating, uncomfortable, time consuming, and by the time I got to Month 3, made me feel so trapped that I literally wanted to remove my breasts from my body and leave them with the baby permanently.
And then I had to give up my chocolate business – in a way, my identity – and face a whole new reality: Stay At Home Mommyhood.
In the 36 years of my life prior to deciding to have a baby, in all the time spent coloring in that outline of Who I Am, never, ever did I ponder sketching in some SAHM time. Ever. Until I had a baby. And priced out full time childcare. *choke*
So here I am in Portland, Oregon, the Capital City of All Things Green and P.C., a new, reluctant stay at home baby momma who grits her teeth through breastfeeding, gives her baby a pacifier and a bottle, doesn’t co-sleep or “attachment parent”, and ohmygawd uses disposable diapers. If there were a mom’s group in town that I would fit into, we would probably have to meet in secrecy in the dead of night to discuss our horribly incorrect and destructive ways. Perhaps our secret password would be “pampers”. Or “binky”. We would whisper about how we wished we worked in cubicles in office buildings during the day, idly reading magazines and drinking coffee on our breaks, taking a leisurely pee in the bathroom without a screaming child in the other room (or more likely, right there in the bathroom), and talking in normal grown up voices about intelligent and interesting topics. Yes, those are the things I yearn for. I long to be selfish, to do nothing but think of myself for entire blocks of time. Or better yet, not think at all.
But hold on there – before y’all get those pitchforks and burning torchs out and aim them at me – let me point out the Hyde in my Jekyll. It’s not all sour around here, there’s plenty of sweet as well. The sweet is just this simple: I love my baby. I can’t stop kissing her. Her smile never fails to light up my world, even at three in the morning. And while I may not be good at singing songs or playing games, I’m great at nurturing. I’m more patient than I ever thought I could be. I yearn for her happiness just enough more than I yearn for my own . . . and I recognize that the two are intertwined. And the sweetest part of all is that I’m smart. That is, I’m smart enough to have married a guy who is amazing at singing silly songs, and making animal noises, and playing pretend and hide and seek and tag. I married the Baby Whisperer. So I’ll give this Mommyhood thing the best I’ve got. And I’ll know that even if my best is barely good enough . . . well, at least she’s got her Daddy.
Two years ago on C&T: Grecian Baked Shrimp