This post was actually first written in my “old school”, handwritten journal that I still keep on my nightstand, and not as a post for my blog. It was written on a night, in the not so distant past, when I could not fall asleep from the speed at which my mind was racing. (In other words, this post is personal, similar to the nature of a couple of past posts that I titled Deeply Personal) In an attempt to clear my mind on that night in the not so distant past, I wrote these words:
When people tell you that you can never fully understand until you have children of your own, they are only scratching the surface!
For as long as I can remember, what I really wanted in life was to be a wife and a mother. Now I know, that in many people’s eyes, “just a stay at home mom,” is a down grade – no job at all – not a goal or an aspiration. I know because I have seen it, heard it, felt it, and sensed it, from so many along my path, from dear friends to total strangers. For me (and I always only speak for me, and what is right for me. I do not believe what is right for me, is right for everyone) it is the hardest, most time consuming, stressful, pressure filled, guilt ridden, rewarding, fulfilling, enjoyable, important, and meaningful job there is!
My babies, are only babies once. My babies, are only babies for a very short time. Each stage passes to quickly before my eyes. For every one of those stages, there are things I love, and of course, things I don’t love so much! For instance, as newborn I could not get enough of their smooth, soft skin on their tiny baby feet! But I could however have done without the countless, sleepless nights:
Whether it be from Chloe’s colic,
or fear that Jayden would stop breathing and die,
or Ava’s endless need to have her pacifier “plugged” back into her mouth.
All of this is weighing on my mind because now that the children are growing older, (Chloe in particular) there are more stresses and sleepless nights, but for different reasons. There is no book, training, or life experience that can prepare you for the overwhelming sense of duty, responsibility, and what I like to call, “Mother Bear Syndrome” that comes along with being a mother. I was a babysitting queen, daycare worker, and nanny before I had my own babies, and I thought I had it all wrapped up! Then I had Chloe.
Tonight I hear Chloe singing to herself in bed. It is late and she should have long since been asleep. I worry that her mind is racing about her performance (or fear of lack of performance) at her upcoming gymnastics competition tomorrow. I worry about how much is too much? Will she see the amount of progress that she hopes? If she doesn’t will she be defeated? If so, then what? What can I say? How can I help her? How do you reverse any thoughts or feelings she is getting from outside influences? Will I do right by her?
Like I said, no one, and nothing can prepare you for parenthood. As stinging as that seems to those that are not yet parents, it is beyond true! No one will love my babies more than I do. No one will work harder to help them achieve their goals than I will. No one will laugh as loud, cheer as hard, or cry as much as I will with them and for them.
Parenthood is no downgrade, and certainly no easy job. I am on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. At 3am when my 8 year old is standing over me, ready to vomit on my head, there is no lunch break or day off. There is only me, flying out of bed to spare myself from getting hit, and sitting beside him so he doesn’t feel alone. When I am sick, there is no sick day. There is just Mommy, lying flat on her back in bed, surrounded by babies eating food I can’t tolerate the smell of, watching Backyardigans on television, and wondering when I can get up and come downstairs to help them with their activities of the day. 🙂
Yes, a smile. A smile on my face as I write that because nothing else brings me more joy than moments like that.
The ones where you walk upstairs and find your 8 year old son reading his baby sister Purplicious before she goes to bed.
The ones where your 11 year old irons Daddy’s new shirt and tie so he will wear it because Mommy says, “I am not buying him a birthday present because he could not even bother to wear the nice shirt and tie he was given for our anniversary!”.
Parenthood. The greatest and most precious gift that has been given to us, to me. For all the frustration, stress, pain, sorrow, laughter, love, wonder, hope, and joy, I am truly grateful.