Thursday, January 30, 2014

I did NOT sign up for this

Recently a friend posted this on FB:

It's a beautiful post by a wonderful writer who basically reminded herself that she "signed up" for motherhood and therefore should stop complaining about all the endless laundry and general lack of personal freedom she now must endure from now until...what feels like eternity.

I love that post, but one thought kept ringing in my ear: I did NOT sign up for this.

Maybe she knew what she was getting herself into, but I had no freaking idea.

I mean, yes I "signed up" in terms of willfully getting myself pregnant.  But in no way, shape, or form did I really know what I was getting myself into.  In contracts law, this is definite grounds for rescinding, yes?  Law school was a long time ago, but I think I remember something about there having to be some kind of "meeting of the minds."  Some knowledge, some transparency, some sense that you know what you're agreeing to.

Prior to having my own baby, the longest I ever held a baby was probably 23 seconds.  The most I ever babysat was twice.  The number of times I changed a baby or child, played with a baby or child, read to a baby or child, sang to a baby or child, clothed a baby or child, or put a baby or child to sleep  You get the idea.

I did not know I would be unable to sleep well for 3+ years.

I did not know I would endure constant screaming in the car almost every time I drive.

I did not know I would be tripping over a crying, clingy small human every time I try to wash dishes or cook.

I did not know I would need to do laundry literally every day.

I did not know I would prepare food for people with no teeth, present it to them, only to have them throw it around or spit it out, and call that a meal.

And that I would go around and eat the regurgitated and flung scraps as if my mouth was some giant waste disposal system, and call that my meal.

I did not know my friendships would go down the toilet because it's (a) impossible to have a meaningful conversation with my kids around and (b) it's really expensive to hire a babysitter just so you can go and have a meaningful conversation.

I did not know my relationship with my spouse would be sorely tried.  At the end of the day, when the kids are asleep and we can finally have a conversation, we look at each other with dead cow eyes and mumble something about being tired.  How are two exhausted people with nothing left to give supposed to extend each other kindness and charity and patience?

And speaking of patience...I did not know I actually have very little patience.  I once, another lifetime ago, actually thought I was a patient person.  Hahahahahahahahaha.

I did not know that I would be feeling guilty when I work a full-time job.

I did not know that I would feel guilty staying at home with my kids all day and not engaging them in enriching activities but instead dragging them around town with me to do chores.

I did not know it cost an arm and a leg to find quality child care.

I did not know that guilt and a feeling of incompetence would be my left and right shadows.

I did not know that my mind would be so frazzled from sleep deprivation, feeding schedules, nursing schedules, nap schedules, bedtime schedules, trying to remember if I brought enough snacks or tissue or wipes or diapers with me, trying to remember to give baths, put on creams,  fill out prescriptions, wash hands, telling stories about superheros, managing meltdowns, etc. that I would lose my car keys and/or forget my wallet at Trader Joe's/Safeway/a restaurant at least once a week.

I did not know I would clean my house and put things away every day only to have it look like I never lifted a finger a mere 3 hours later.

Wow, this post is getting kind of long and I'm not even half way through!

Let's just say, basically I had no idea what I was getting into.  No one warned me.  Everyone who talks about parenting usually talks about puppies, sunshine and lollipops.  In that order!  Just kidding.

Of course the puppies, sunshine and lollipops are true too.  I do love my kids, yadda, yadda, yadda.  I just kinda wished I knew the other parts as well...


C(h)ristine said...

Me, neither. I didn't sign up for it. There was no full disclosure! I looooove my child but i haaaaate motherhood. Especially single motherhood.

Alice in Wonderland said...

Yes! I need that on a bumper sticker, preferably on a minivan--"I love my child. I hate motherhood."

Alice in Wonderland said...

p.s. I can't imagine how hard single motherhood must be. My heart goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

God bless you - you have stated it perfectly!