I remember when a good friend of mine was pregnant with her first child. We are college buddies. We were at an event for another friend of ours. We’re standing by the bar (of course she wasn’t drinking) and an acquaintance looks at her blooming belly and begins a conversation about childbirth and the woes of being a mother. This was a lengthy talk. Our eyes grew wider as we listened intently. This was many years ago but all I remember are the forewarnings vividly.
Oh you like to be cute! I see your nails are done. You won’t have time for that.
You’re lucky if you get a chance to eat!
This happens all the time. Right? A group of “seasoned mothers” with a “mother-to-be.” We tell them about the hours of labor, the pain, what color your body part turned, what new smell you discovered…
When my cousin was pregnant with her son, another family member and I were “bragging” about the happenstance of being able to shave and shower in the same session without interruption. Pregnant Cousin promptly responded, “You two sound like refugees!”
Today, I laugh about the awkward conversations amongst the mommy crew. Its honestly all in comradery. I don’t think anyone ever wants to scare the new mommies. Motherhood is something to celebrate. It is never dull, you are always learning, and you are consistently responsible for the experiences and growth of another human being.
One of my favorite quotes is by Kahlil Gibran:
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
There are days where I am completely exhausted from work. Then it’s time to put on my “mommy hat.” I have to do homework, clean, prepare food (or at least take it out the fast food bag,) run bath water, make lunches, read, pray with the kids, and then finally collapse and try to take care of myself. Like any human I get overwhelmed but I love my children. I love doing arts and crafts with my step daughter, watching movies with my 3 year old, and having crawling races with my son (I always let him win.) There are challenges and there are tests that I in no way could have been prepared for so now I just stay in tuned with gratefulness.
I read an article (http://nypost.com/2017/04/23/several-dead-after-house-fire-breaks-out-in-queens/) the other day that floored me. I had just finished arguing. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and it was too late to go back to sleep and try again. I woke up an asshole. I can admit it. It happens to the best of us but I was saddened by the article.
Four children died in a fire.
I kept seeing the words flash across my mind like a scrolling LED message. What a sobering moment. It was like God screamed “STOP COMPLAINING!”
What would you do without these “little headaches?” I have another cousin that calls them “freedom suckers.” I am eternally grateful for the blessing of being a mother. There are other titles that I am so proud of but that one has to be the best.
Finally, when I was pregnant with my daughter I remember a co-worker saying, “One day you will be alone with the baby and the baby will be crying and you will be crying and you two will just cry together and soothe one another.” Whoa! I felt depressed but that isn’t necessarily a sad moment. I know several mothers who have experienced that and it is a tremendous bonding time with your child. You both want to be heard. You both probably don’t even have a specific reason for crying. You both will provide comfort in a unique way. Crying isn’t an expression of weakness. Crying is how you bathe your soul.
Take a bath today. Try not to complain. Enjoy every part of who you are.