Sixteen years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. My first child had just been born, and I was clueless. It was a good thing, because if I had known then what I know now, I might have made a break for it while there was still time.
I remember telling my mother that I was afraid. As I held that newborn baby and got ready to leave the hospital, I remember wondering what I was supposed to do. Like I told Mama, I had read all kinds of books about pregnancy and how to have a baby, but I had no clue how to be a mother. The volunteer who was pushing my wheelchair overheard me say this to my mother, and to this day, I remember her answer. She said, "Honey. You'll talk. A lot."
At the time, I wondered what in the world she was talking about. Why would I talk a lot? It made no sense to me. About a year later, I remember talking to my son as I rocked him, and I remember thinking that this was just what the volunteer had been telling me. I did, indeed, talk a lot.
Little did I know that the talking had just begun. Since then, I have talked and talked and talked. I have talked about what he should do and shouldn't do. I have talked about where he should go and shouldn't go. I have talked until I am blue in the face, and occasionally, he has listened. Most of the time? Well, not so much.
No one ever told me how hard it was to have kids.
No one told me that I would never again go to the bathroom alone. My kids are 12 and 16, and I still can't sit in the bathroom without someone talking to me. I will say that it is not usually the 16 year old boy who talks. He would rather not talk to me. Ever. The girl, on the other hand, loves to talk.
No one told me that the kids would never go away. Oh sure, they may go to a friend's house to spend the night or go somewhere for the afternoon, but they never really leave. Even when I'm not with them, I am thinking about them. Even when I purposely try not to think about them, there they are. I'm pretty sure that, even when they move out someday (They ARE going to move out, right??), they won't really be gone. I will never stop being a mother, and my heart will never stop aching for my children.
No one told me that child birth was only the beginning of the pain. They didn't say that having kids was like putting a piece of my heart out in the world and saying, "There you go, world. Kick it. Harder! Kick it more!" The only thing worse than having the world hurt me is having the world hurt one of my babies. I had no idea how much mothering would hurt.
No one ever told me to expect all of my belongings to be trashed. Did you know there is a whole book about things that were ruined by kids? That's because they are monsters! My monsters have trashed my car, my couch, my bed, my clothes, my shoes and more. The list just goes on and on. Maybe one day, when they go away, I'll have nice things again. Oh wait, that's right. They are never going away.
These are the things that someone should have told me. I'm pretty sure there is an unspoken pact that we mothers don't tell the newbies about these things. It's best to let them find out on their own. If we told them, they would run away or never get pregnant in the first place. Then, they would miss the greatest joy they could ever possibly have.
That's the weird part about mothering. With as frustrating and agonizing as it is on a daily basis, it is the greatest job in the world. Although they make me crazy now, I really did not know what life was before my kids came along. I became who am I because of them. While I may dream of running away and never coming back, I never would. I would not trade one moment of the rollercoaster ride that comes from life with children.
Call me crazy. Call me weird. Call me when supper is ready. Just don't call me average.
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