Monday, April 16, 2018

When I thought about becoming a mom, I thought about all those tiny fingers and toes. Those baby coos. That sweet baby smell after a bath. You know, all of the adorable things that come with babies. But I didn't really think much further than that. I didn't think about the learning to crawl, walk, talk, potty train, etc. I only thought about having a baby. Having a baby was the easy part.

McKinley is now seven. Seven years have gone by since he was a baby and boy are things different. Motherhood is different. Motherhood is hard! No one understands that until they are mothers. Before motherhood, I remember listening to other mothers talk about having a baby, raising a baby, a child, and god forbid, a teenager. I would internally roll my eyes, think "It can't be that hard", and walk away saying how different things would be when I became a mother. Shame on me! Since becoming a mom, I want to hug every single mother! I want to tell them I understand. That I get it! And that I need a hug too. 

Everyone talks about the terrible twos. That the independence has started to set in and life with a two year is old is the worst. Guess what, two was fine. Two was great. It was three that had me crazed. Then there was four. Then five. Then six. Six was hard. With six came true independence. A little bit of snark. Influence from other kids that was being tested at home. A test that he often failed. With six came more discipline. More arguments. More frustration at being a bad mother. Well, we are one week into being seven and I've never witnessed anything like this. Tears on the daily, from him not me. Anger like I've never seen over having to do homework or not being able to play 24/7. And a mom who is completely doubting her mothering skills. Have I hovered too much? Have I been too hard on him? Should I have let him figure out the math problems alone instead of intervening? Where in motherhood had I gone wrong?

Yesterday was rough. And the evening that followed even more so. He told me that I was getting in the way. Ruining everything because he needed to work on activities for school instead of spending time playing with Dada. That all he wanted to do was get the work done so he could play. But the thing is, he wasn't getting the work done correctly. And when I asked him to spend more time on the work to correct it, all hell broke lose. Those ugly words vomited out of his mouth, leaving me numb and with eyes full of tears. I'm not sure if he meant them or not, and he probably did, and I am now drowning in them. Maybe I am ruining everything. Maybe I am getting in the way. Maybe I am doing it all wrong. I did ask him later that evening what he meant and he said it was his way of telling me he didn't want to be around me right then. My response, maybe you should say just that instead.....

Motherhood. Motherhood is glorious when it's going really well. Motherhood is draining when you are up all night with sick child and all they want is for you to lay with them. Motherhood is tricky when you're sliding on that slippery slope of stepping in and helping or sitting back and letting them fail. Motherhood is ugly when you're crying those tears of sadness after your child has said things to you that you know you will never forget. Motherhood is a badge that every mother should wear with pride because the shit we put up with on a minute, hourly, daily basis is worse than any of those bad jobs we work(ed)! Motherhood is a sorority of women all over the world that are truly just trying to keep their heads above water, get more than five hours of sleep a night, and getting tipsy on wine when they finally get a night free to hang out with other moms. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.

Over the past year, I've called my mom more to apologize for anything I might have done during my childhood. There will never be enough apologies. I've also called my mom to vent, cry, and vent some more. I've gone to her house and had champagne in the middle of the day because I deserve it. I've often wondered how many tears she actually shed during her time raising me. Tears of pride. Tears of shame. Tears of unhappiness. I've never actually asked. So again mom, I apologize. And if you're reading this, maybe you should pick up the phone and call your mom to apologize. Or invite her over coffee. Or invite yourself over for champagne. Because now she's no longer just your mom. She's a member of that Motherhood sorority. A sister for life. A friend for life. Your mom for life. And if your mom is no longer with you, well then, call that sweet sorority sister of yours because she's going to be there for you too!

Will McKinley and I be friends at the end of all of this? I sure hope so. What I do know, is that he'll hate me. Call me names behind my back. But, he'll also love me when he wants to. Need me when things get tough. And be my friend when it's time. Because if motherhood is done correctly, I'm definitely going to be his least favorite person for a long time. And maybe that time is now.


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