On Becoming A Mother
May 22, 2016
First off, let me say that I love being a mother. I’m pretty in love with my kid. Finally. That took a bit longer than what I’ve heard others say. But then, A LOT of things have proven to be very different for me from what people say.
But before I get into that…I had planned on writing a post on Mother’s Day (not ON Mother’s Day but *about* Mother’s Day). I will try to sum that up here instead of making it a separate post because it ties into a central theme I want to address here.
So… [still with me?]…Mother’s Day. I started the day completely unable to enjoy it because I was worried about my daughter’s birthmother. I kept composing, and recomposing, an email to her to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. But then she beat me to it and wished me one first. From that point on I was able to enjoy the day. Until it came time to call Momz, that is. I may now be a mother but I also still have a mother I don’t get along with very well. But what surprised me most was the reactions of everyone around me. I got cards from people I don’t even know. [OK, just one person.] My Facebook page was awash in Happy Mother’s Day wishes. Not just my feed but my page (it’s not still a wall is it?). People wishing me personally a Happy Mother’s Day. My MIL sent me a check. Is that a thing? I’m always happy to receive $$$, especially when my paycheck has taken a huge hit from maternity leave, but it just seems a bit over the top.
While I’m grateful to now be a mom, it felt really really weird to have all these people making such a huge deal. In many cases, the very same people who used to privately wish me a happy day because they knew I was “a mother in my heart” or something similar were now publicly congratulating me on my first real Mother’s Day. Despite the fact that people say those well meaning things, their now public posts proved the reality: Mother’s Day is for women with living children only. And it’s become more like Christmas or a birthday. When did that happen? I mean, I knew it had grown but I guess I didn’t realize the sheer enormity of it. Sending extra ❤ love ❤ to all of you still in the trenches. It's even rougher than I realized out there.
But it didn't end with Mother's Day. I kind of feel like I'm being welcomed into a club I'm not sure I want to be a part of. Not because I don't want to be a mom but because I don't want to be the kind of parent that is the reason sites like STFU Parents and Sanctimommy exist. I perceive a certain level of…smugness in people’s comments on my posts now. I post that I’m sick and all I get is “Welcome to Parenthood! You’ll be sick for the next 5 years straight!” First off, I’m sick. My kid is 100% fine. I didn’t catch anything from her. It’s still a bit early in the game for all that. She doesn’t go out much and she’s not in day care yet. I can see how people might assume I caught it from her. Kid germs ARE the worst. But that brings me to my second point: I am absolutely aware that I will catch everything she gets – and probably have it worse. You – who I haven’t heard from in 5+ years – smugly pointing it out to me as if I didn’t know what I was getting myself into is not needed.
And that’s really why I’m here writing again. I don’t know whether it’s smug parents or something else. But I feel like I am now perceived as A MOM (or worse A NEW MOM) and no longer my individual self. I am now someone who will either instantly understand the trials and tribulations of parenthood or I’m a complete noob who must be smugly welcomed to the throng amongst whispers of, “She has no idea what’s coming.” How I can be perceived as both simultaneously is beyond me.
But I don’t feel like either. I’m just me. A person who has been around kids a fair amount before becoming a mom. A person who spent so long trying to become a mom that I’d have to be an idiot to have avoided knowing about all the downsides. And no, I haven’t turned my Facebook feed into an instant all baby/mom stuff all the time. People actually ask me to post MORE baby stuff. What can I say? The kid is CUTE with a capital C. Something for which I can take no credit. I’ve also been asked why I don’t complain more. More on that below.
I’m still me. I have all the same interests I had before. There’s just a tiny human in my house now (and a few more conversations about poop than there used to be). My reality has proven to be both as expected and surprisingly EASIER than what everyone told me. I’ve been graced with a chill baby, no colic, and because we adopted she is not attached to my boob so the parenting in this house is pretty much 50/50. Which means that no one in this house is exhausted. Do we sleep less than we used to? Yes. Did I accidentally give the cat baby formula? Yup. But we are not sleep deprived. [So that’s not why I’m sick either.] And, yes, I’m aware of how lucky we are in that regard. It also means the kid sleeps in the living room. Don’t judge. It works for us. For now.
In short, I feel like I’m adjusting fairly well to this motherhood gig. And having a relatively chill kid is definitely helping. [Especially since the rest of my life is starting to crumble down around me.] I’m just not sure I like how everyone else (OK not everyone) is reacting to it. They mean well, but…STFU Parents. I don’t smugly talk about how easy my kid is because I don’t want to get (rightly) punched in the face. [Nor do I want to jinx it.] Maybe others should just chill with the unsolicited comments. You do you and I’ll do me. Being a mom is now incorporated into who I am. But it doesn’t make me any less ME. I’m happy to talk all things parenting on posts about parenting. But I still like to talk about other stuff too.