I wrote this last year for an event where it was to be read out loud…so, while reading, you can just picture that. I kind of forgot about it….but decided to publish it now… it’s kind of an odd follow up to ‘Bacon, please move over’, but then I can be kind of odd.
Motherhood, oh ye, Motherhood!
Who KNOWS what you are getting yourself into when you enter this realm, this state, this unknown territory? Certainly I did not.
I wasn’t going to have children…”Motherhood” was not for me. I insightfully stated that I had ‘given the matter a good deal of consideration and concluded that my personality was not suitable’.
Then I met the father of my children – and I saw a fantastic partnership. Children…this was an experience we should have! Motherhood! Fatherhood!
How had I not known the difference then?
But Motherhood, you fooled me, just a bit. I thought that you would step in to show me what to do. What did I know about having children? Certainly a better version of me was needed to bring a tiny being into our world. And while you brought me a deep love, a wonderment for life, an enthrallment for this one little life, in particular, you also left me – little ‘ole me – to figure it out!
I studied my subject diligently. I read books. Many, many books. More importantly, I studied my subject – his tiny fingers and toes. I knew every inch of his body and noted every time something changed. I marveled and celebrated those changes. And I did the thing that came the most easily…I loved him with all that I had. But it was not all celebrations and smiles.
Motherhood, now I didn’t know much, but there were a few things I did know. I knew that mothers were not to yell at their babies. They are only babies! And yet, I yelled. I cried when he would not sleep. I cried when I could not. I didn’t always handle him as gently as you, Motherhood, were supposed to allow. So often I felt I might be losing my mind. Motherhood? Where were you?
Five years and another child later, I I am beginning to understand. I am an introspective person. A spiritual person. An always trying to be a better person, person. Little did I know that this same trait that makes me a great mother is the same trait that would judge me the hardest. I thought it was you, Motherhood.
With two small children and very little sleep, I was holding onto the shreds of what I thought I had entered this journey for – “The experience.” Like a new roller-coaster ride at the local six-flags, rightfully named, “Motherhood!”, tagline, “the experience.” I thought I wanted off. But you can’t get off the ride once it’s started. And you know what that means – trapped. I was trapped by all of those that I trusted: my husband, the other one who wanted “the experience” but it turned out, Fatherhood was a different ride. I was trapped by you, Motherhood. You betrayed me too.
And then I turned to these small, beautiful people – their shining eyes, their angelic faces. My heart gushed with more love than I knew what to do with, but somehow, I wasn’t sure that the love was enough. And then I heard a voice say, “I told you that you should not have become a mother. How can you feel trapped in such a beautiful life, with two such beautiful gifts?” I retreated under these words and fell into a hole. A black hole that I thought maybe was you, Motherhood?
When my husband asked, “what standard of perfection are you trying to achieve?” I could not answer. Motherhood was supposed to know. His words gave me some solace, but still, I found myself yelling at my beautiful babies, screaming into pillows, kicking walls. This, I knew, was not the standard I was going for. It was scary for me, for them. Where were you, Motherhood?
I finally knew I needed help to climb out of my hole. Motherhood clearly was not doing her job. So I summoned the help of an expert, aka, a shrink. If Motherhood was not already working for me, then certainly she could give me the pass code, the bugle call, the summoning light to beckon “Motherhood” to me.
The first thing she did was to tell me how many mothers sat in her chair, guilt ridden for yelling at their babies. “Motherhood had failed them too?” I thought. I was in disbelief that anyone else could have such foul feelings towards Motherhood, towards their children, no, really, towards themselves.
And that is what I saw. After a few weeks of talking and crying, confessing and swirling, out of it all, I came to understand. I was introduced to Motherhood.
She looks very different than I was expecting her. She looks remarkably like, no, exactly like, me. Me…. huh…. Motherhood. And as it turns out, I need to care for her in all the same ways I need to care for me. Loving her, loving me.
I still struggle on some days that I don’t always look like the mother I would like my children to have. I wish for that “Motherhood” who could step in and save the day. Who would be as present with them as I would always like to be. Who would have the patience with them that I would always like to have. Who has a limitless amount to give without “needing a break.”
Motherhood, oh, ye, Motherhood, what a journey we have endured. What a journey we have before us.