Sunday, February 21, 2010

Confessions of a Mother

I have a secret. It's eating at my very core.

Sometimes... I don't like being a mom. There. I said it. It's out on the table. The cat's outta the bag. It's off my chest... Anyone know anymore cliches I can throw in here?? Anyone?

I didn't want to have kids, really. When my husband and I got married, he the oldest of three, and I the youngest of four, children seemed like this distant land we only talked about someday going with little regard to actually making plans for our travel there. And yet, three years into our marriage, we were there, eagerly buying little blue onesies and a baby-sized pitching wedge. I never wanted children, even when I was little. My brothers and sister were horrible to me and the last thing I wanted was to inflict on some other poor little being the hell they gave me for some 15 or 16 years. Even when I was the last kid in the house, the basement (which was supposed to be my hideaway) became a revolving door for my siblings whom needed a place to stay because they didn't always have their feet quit flat on the ground.

I was there when my sister had her second child. I was 16 and super excited to experience the birth of life. But don't get me wrong, I wasn't stupid. I let my mom take stand at the bottom of the bed and I stood near her head, helping her count to 8 every time she felt a contraction, occasionally wiping her head with a cool towel. Yeah I knew what was going on downstairs and I didn't want anything to do with it. So after some 5 hours of (non-medicated) pain and sweat and pushing and crying, out popped this mishapen purple thing covered in some white goo that surely no human could produce. If I wasn't sure before, I was sure then. No babies for me.

But then I met my husband. He had two little sisters. His parents had worked two and three jobs each and so he had been left at home to take care of the house and help raise the girls and he'd done a pretty decent job, all things considered. Adults now, they both definitely have their issues, but let's just be happy they are both waiting to have kids, shall we? And so my husband couldn't have been more energetic about having children of his own. A little girl to sing songs to, a little boy to throw a ball with. He never pressured me, but his enthusiasm was contagious. I can't say I didn't jump three feet in the air when I finally saw two pink lines. When we found out it was a boy, I started crying tears of joy. I couldn't wait to dress him up in cute little collared shirts, baby gap jeans, and little chuck taylors.

DS was born and PPD hit me like a giant brick wall. No, more like a big Mack truck I couldn't see coming. I didn't know what it was. I'd never heard of it. No one had warned me. And I was really sick. My husband was wonderful. He took the reigns of parenthood like a pro, handling most of the feedings when DS refused to breast feed, getting up in the middle of the night so no one would feel the wrath of sleep-deprived me, and he even handled my outbursts in stride. It wasn't until I lost my job over a year ago that the intensity finally faded a little and I realized, all this time, I had been sick. Really, really uncontrollably sick I wanted to get better and I knew that meant taking some time off from work, but the thought of being a stay at home mom was daunting for me. It's not that I was career oriented--I mean you need a career first right?? I just wasn't sure being a full time mom was really the best fit for me. Now, let me side track here and say that we are ALL full time moms. Whether we work and our children are in day care, or if our parents are near by and help us out, or if we work from home, or if we stay at home, this is a full time job, baby. What I mean to say is, I'm not sure I could be in the same room with this kid for longer than a few hours at one time. All that to say, who would have known, it was wonderful. My son and I finally bonded. He became my friend, believe it or not. Sometimes I would get out of bed before it was time to wake him up and I would sit outside his room and just listen to him breathe. Or I would go in and lay on the floor next to his bed and just watch his little face while he dreamed.

These were beautiful days, and oh how I miss them. Sometime, on a dark quiet night, someone snuck into my house and replaced my perfect little companion with a whiney, rebellious, argumentative, self-righteous three-and-a-half year old. While I'd like to find the culprit, I feel my time is all swallowed up by trying to contain this beast I have been left with. Recently he has started with the Why?'s. He went through this phase breifly when at about two and I can hardly believe my own naitivity in thinking that was all there would be. I appreciate the circle we sometimes talk ourselves in. Just today, we stopped at McD's for some chicken nuggets and I left because the lady behind the speaker was being rude to the woman in front of me (who had also left) and since there is another McD's right down the road who might more appreciate my business, there was no reason to let this be my fate as well. So as we are driving away, DS asks me "Mommy, why are we leaving?" "Because, baby, the woman in the store was being rude." "Why was she being rude, mommy?" "Because she obviously didn't have parents to teach her otherwise." "Why didn't they teach her?" "Maybe because nobody taught them." "So why are we leaving?" And around again we go...

When it's been a long day of these conversations, I find my breaking point somewhere right around 7pm. Coincidentally only 30 minutes before I'm writing this post, and unfortunately, a good 90 minutes till bed time. I feel my chest grow tight and tears well up in the top of my cheeks and I take a deep breath. My husband, after 7 years of marriage, knows this routine of mine well. He often see-saws between scooping DS and taking him out of the room so I can cool off or getting right down on the floor to talk to DS about whatever it is he's done to make me upset. Because in my defense, I don't get this upset until I really can't take one more argument. What difference does it make why I told you to put on your underwear?? Maybe because I'm tired of you walking around the kitchen in your bare-bottom. I shouldn't have to explain that to you three times around the why-mommy-carousel, it's the kitchen and you're naked and put some pants on already! ! !

Sometimes I even find myself saying, in a calm, cool voice, "See, you're the child and I'm the mommy. And it's okay for you to ask me questions because you're 4 and I understand you're at that explorative age, but once you ask me and I tell you, then the conversation is over." *silence... * "Ok. Yes ma'am... but whhhyyyyyy?"

I'd like to have some hope that this will be over soon. I'm locked up in my bedroom right now, I'm supposed to be doing homework. My husband has DS in the other room, while he's doing his work, letting him watch a movie. I'd like to hope that by the time I come out of this room, maybe then the phase is over... no? How about after he turns 4? Not then either? 5? 10? 16?

Oh. Ok. This is one of those phases, eh? Oh, well. I guess I'm in it for the long haul then.


kf said...

Here's a fool-proof solution to combatting the "why" disease that plagues some children.
Speak to them in question form and allow THEM to answer. Respond to the answer with validation or correction.

Just said...

I was so much the person that would always say "No kids for me...I like to be able to give them back". Here I am almost 5 years later picking out an Elementary school and doing reading lessons after work and attending EVERY function at preschool. Wow how life really does "change" after child. Thanks for voicing what I feel :).

Nikki Reilly said...

I felt myself really relating to this post. When I was dating age, I never thought I would be a good mom. I had a short fuse at times and was afraid I wouldn't have the patience with a child. When I found an amazing man and got married I changed for the better and my opinion of myself changed as well. I realized I needed to quit being so hard on myself. After the birth of two daughters and 15 yrs later watching them change into teens I love them more and more each day and I grow a little sad knowing that someday they will be moving out..

I suffered from major thyroid fluctuations after both births and thus had to make the hard decision not to have anymore children. But I have to say even knowing how truly hard it was during those times when my mind was full to the brim with anxiety and panic and tears every single night - I still want another baby. Why?? Because I know how much I love my children and would gladly welcome another beautiful baby into my life and deal with the misery of hormonal fluctuations to bring another life into the world.

I appreciate your honesty, it made me realize how much I could truly relate to how you felt...

I wish you the best with school - Take care!