Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some Clarification

If you’ve read my posts thus far, you are starting to pick up a theme-- sarcasm. Hopefully you find this amusing. On my part, I will say that it’s genetic. Anyone who knows my family will tell you that it comes with the territory. I try to keep it humorous, and in person I try to wait to unleash it until I know you well enough that I know you can take it. Further, I generally separate sarcasm from just plain mean. Teasing someone lovingly is much different than an unkind dig. I’m not perfect, and on a bad day I make mistakes and hurt feelings like anyone else might. One of the better parts of my personality is that I will apologize if I make that mistake.

Anyways, I felt the need to explain the above because I realize I may make parenting sound like hell on earth. For those of you that just read that sentence and have children, you are nodding and saying but it IS hell on earth sometimes! Right. Sometimes. There are definitely times where you want to leave your kids in the monkey exhibit at the zoo and hope things turn out OK. Good luck, kid! Hope you like bananas and swinging from ropes.

I write about this side of parenting because in the first couple months of being a parent, I NEEDED someone to tell me that being a mom sucks at times. These are the comments you hear, at the hospital and for the first couple months of living with a newborn: “Oh, aren’t they sweet? Babies are so precious.” “What a blessing.” I think that in particular, coping with Amelia’s colic was particularly difficult. Every baby is different, and colic makes life extra trying in the beginning. So when people made the above comments, I would fight to not express to them how much I was hating being a mom. After all, I wanted this for so long, how could I now talk about how difficult it was, how I even sometimes had moments of regret?

I  hope that some tired mom will read this and know that someone out there understands what she is going through. I want her to know that it is completely normal and OK to want to put your child at the end of the driveway with a “for free” sign around the baby’s neck (I said want to, not to actually do it). Being a mom is exhausting, frustrating, dirty, disgusting, and sleepless. As my cousin Kendra once told me “You know, they torture people with sleep deprivation. What you really have there is a terrorist.” It’s what I think of every time my darling little angel (ahem, pain in the butt daughter) won’t nap or sleep without mommy. It makes me laugh so I don’t actually go ahead and make the aforementioned sign and plop her at the end of our driveway.

Another note: this blog isn’t meant to deter childless couples from having kids, and perhaps that’s why I really felt the need to write this. Coping with mommy hood requires venting and complaining. My time with other moms is vital to me continuing to be a good parent. Sometimes, my mom friends are unavailable so I have to complain to a childless friend before I rip every last strand of hair out of my head. This is generally a mistake, as I then have to see their wide-eyed no way in hell am I having kids after hearing THAT story! look. Not helpful.

But after seeing that look, I feel a little guilty because I know that the story I should have told is the one about how Amelia shakes her head ‘no’ about everything and laughs. How she squeals in delight when our dog approaches her. Her look of fascination when she stares at her hands. Her saying “YA, DA DA!!!!” when she awakes with a smile every morning. THOSE are just a few of the reasons I wanted to be a mom. Those moments are priceless and keep me going. They force me to let go of my selfish wants and make me work on being a better person so I can be a positive role model for her to look up to. So, if you choose not to have kids because of one of my vent sessions, that’s fine. At least when you made your decision, you know you’ve heard the true version of parenting and not some sickening sweet unrealistic version. And besides, as with anything else in life, the most difficult victories are the ones that make life worth living. Indeed, that’s the path I chose, the one that is both difficult and has beautiful treasures along the way, waiting to be discovered.


Betsy said...

You ARE the reason I'm not having children. Be expecting an angry email from my mother.

Amanda said...

Oh, Betsy, don't lie, you have children... they just happen to be furry! At least Amelia doesn't chew up my furniture :)