Motherhood, Part II

For those willing to accept the responsibility that comes with it, motherhood is the greatest wake-up call of all time. Now I don’t mean to demean or belittle fatherhood. Fatherhood is pretty intimidating and all-consuming, too. However, never having been or planning to be a father myself, I don’t feel qualified to comment on its ups and downs. Therefore, this little scribble is about motherhood, not parenthood.

That said, some thoughts on the changes that motherhood brings around.

Sometimes I wonder if I was really as self-centered as I think I was, back in the years BC (Before Child). More than self-centered, I like to believe I was free of (most) responsibility and obligation. Granted, I had to get up in the morning and go to work, and when I got home I cooked dinner for my hubby and cleaned the house. But really, how much mess or laundry can two adults make?

I was so excited to have a baby, and for the first month or two, I didn’t realize what I’d gotten myself into. Not only did I have lots of help, but I was so in love with this little squalling bundle of joy that I didn’t notice how much laundry and little sleeping I was doing. Unfortunately, my friendliness decreases proportionately to the amount of sleep I get. (Which may account for some amount of unpopularity in college.)

I still didn’t really mind, I just worked harder on my attitude and put lots of miles on my vacuum cleaner and washing machine. I think it finally really hit me that “hey, this is your life, now.” when Baby was about 4 months old. We were still in the experimental stages of sleep training, and Michael was a groomsman for his friend who was getting married an hour an a half away.

The bachelor party was a bonfire at the beach, and they were out much later than Michael normally is. I, being the mature woman I am, sat and sulked about not being at the beach, (not that I wanted to be at the bachelor party, just the principle of the thing) not getting to hang out with friends, not getting to eat what I wanted, (Baby had manifested multiple food allergies at this point, and I was nursing exclusively) and any and all other “inconveniences” of being a parent. The rehearsal dinner was a nightmare, and it wasn’t just trying to make small talk with the obnoxious best man. Have you ever tried to eat prime rib in a nice restaurant with a fussing baby in your lap? We tag-teamed so that we both got to eat, but the sophisticated mood was ruined. On a side note, please don’t ask me why we didn’t get a babysitter, to this day I don’t know. After the wedding, the entire wedding party and their dates went out for appetizers and drinks at a pub. I resented the other girls with their fiancés and husbands, I envied their freedom to stay out as late as they wanted, and the long, uninterrupted sleep they would get when they did go home. I’d like to say that suddenly I came to a realization that my attitude stunk, and became a better person overnight. I didn’t. The baby cried almost the whole way home because he was completely over stimulated, he cried almost all night long, and refused to take naps for days.

As my sleeplessness grew, so did my bad attitude. Eventually, however, I came to the realization that I had made this decision. My deliberate actions had changed my life, and now there was a little person who truly needed and relied on me twenty-four hours a day. I’m not a victim; I get to be the heroine! Yes, there are concessions to be made. Yes, there are inconveniences and responsibilities. But I also get to raise a little life. I’m not just a glorified food train; I’m shaping a new person. I’m responsible for somebody’s husband, and somebody’s daddy. I’m not just raising a child, I’m raising a man. And that is nothing to sneeze at.

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